Greenpoint’s The New Williamsburg, And Beirut’s Its New Spokesman

Everybody’s always looking for “the new” whatever, and nobody’s better at those speculative shenanigans than New York hipsters and trend-reporting journalists. So, just in time for Bowery Presents’ move into the ‘hood, the “Williamsburg Is Over” cries are louder than ever. “The new Williamsburg”? Well that’d be Greenpoint. Or at least the press would have it that way. And between the other night’s well internetted “secret show” and interviews in music mags, Beirut’s quickly become the face of the hep ‘Point. First, the Paste piece:

Someday in the distant future, cultural archaeologists will isolate a huge square block in Brooklyn’s formerly industrial neighborhood of Greenpoint and decide here was the incubator of indie cool. “TV on the Radio used to practice down there,” Zach Condon says, gesturing north as we cross the street toward the Pencil Factory, a refurbished pub opposite his band’s rehearsal studio — a raw, empty space in a 1931 Art Deco warehouse where Eberhard Faber once manufactured those canary-yellow No. 2 pencils that have been a part of every American childhood. More recently, bands like Blonde Redhead and Condon’s own Beirut have replaced the Italian and Polish immigrant laborers of youre, knocking together bits and pieces of songs over long, sweaty days like this one. “I used to see Kyp every day,” he adds, mentioning TVOTR’s lead singer, owner of an unmistakable Afro. “But I don’t think he ever recognized me. He never said ‘Hi.'”

You might not recognize him, either. Condon — reed-thin and barely old enough to buy his own beer — could be any of the thousands of kids flocking about the ‘hood on a lazy summer Sunday afternoon, the kind of afternoon the Kinks used to sing about. There’s a free concert (Blonde Redhead, naturally) at nearby McCarren Park Pool, and every budding hipster within reach of the L Train is pouring in. Though he may have been last year’s most-talked-about performer in the amorphous and fickle online universe of MP3 blogs, Condon could easily evaporate into the crowd. … “It’s been hard coming back to New York,” says the composer.

Hard, but there he is, at the epicenter of the burgeoning hipster hang. Like we said, it’s not just the interviews — it’s the off the radar shows, like the one all of you emailed us about at Greenpoint’s Coco 66 Wednesday night. A pic of the coolness in action…

That shot comes via Obscene NYC, who also has vid of The Flying Club Cup’s “Nantes,” “The Penalty,” and other Beirutian charmers from the evening. And according to Gawker’s “Beirut Plays Secret Show For Greenpoint Music Snobs” post, this secret show allegedly was a sort of wrap party for their just-filmed Axe Body Spray commercial(?). That’s when you know you’re in Greenpoint. Bam Chica Wah Wah … or Ka-Ching?

Anyway, away from the pointless “who’s the next Axe Body Spray spokesman” chatter, and back to the speculation at hand: Is Greepoint the next Williamsburg? Is it even a decent place to get Polish candy anymore? Some music for whilst you ponder Brooklyn hipster migration…

Beirut – “A Sunday Smile” (MP3)

Residents, tourists, aspiring musicians with plans to move … your move.

Tags: Beirut