Gentrification in Bed-Stuy at Cinnamon Girl
FA Rating: )(
A couple of weeks ago we got a new addition to the neighborhood, offering a small array of organic, yuppie-ish products as well as organic and mostly vegan baked goods, presumably named after a Neil Young song I'd never heard of. It's located right next to Tiny Cup, a coffee shop that had become a neighborhood institution for coffee, baked goods, delicious breakfast and lunch dishes and decent wi-fi service but has recently changed hands and undergone a transformation. Because Tiny Cup changed hands at about the same time that Cinnamon Girl popped up, my roommates and I had hypothesizes that perhaps the places were in cahoots, but I've found out that this is not the case. The real force behind these things is that it's really starting to catch on that Bed Stuy, or at least the northwest chunk of Bed Stuy, really is up and coming.
Now, it's strange to me that one of the earlier arrivals in the neighborhood is a little shop that, at least according to this suspiciously enthusiastic and knowledgeable Yelp reviewer, is selling the mostly vegan and fully organic baked goods that come from Red Mango Bakery in Crown Heights as well as a few handfuls of yuppie friendly groceries with less than thorough pricing visible, at least in my, albeit admittedly two or so minutes long, perusing experience. Is there really going to be a big audience for that stuff in the neighborhood? I guess if the Choice Greene people are doing well enough right on the Clinton Hill / Bed Stuy border selling their pricey groceries (I recall a jar of 8 oz. of some fancy ass honey with a little price tag on the bottom asking $12.95), then maybe there's an audience a bit farther east.. maybe. It seemed to me more like the stuff on the wall was there more for decoration than in a genuine attempt at eliciting business. And that may be a keen choice, as the young gentrifiers who stop by to see what this place it all about might enjoy the idea of patronizing such a place, even if that just means paying 3 bucks for a brownie. In other words, walking in, some people might experience a bit of delight at the idea of their neighborhood being the kind of neighborhood wherein they can purchase, well, "white people stuff", by which I mean overpriced, meme- capitalizing, overpriced, fancy sounding, nice looking stuff.
Well I for one don't want to pretend I'm in Manhattan when I'm in Bed Stuy.
Maybe I'm missing something or this place is just in transition to something more awesome, but I feel kind of disappointed. This place seems pretty blatantly on the bad side of gentrification. Instead of baking its own goods or foodstuffs, it seems to solely be offering the service of lugging stuff from elsewhere for a delivery service. That's not inherently a bad thing, but is that really called for at this stage of the neighborhood's evolution? It just seems too detached-business-man-ish for Bed Stuy.
That being said, my almond, raspberry brownie was pretty good.
There were also some jars of raw sauerkraut in the fridge (next to the usual brands of vegan ice cream) that piqued my interest, but there wasn't a price, and I was afraid to ask.
I know that there's a huge possibility that I'm being way too hard on this place. It may be that Cinnamon Girl will become a welcome addition to the neighborhood, supposing they start offering something cool and reasonably priced.
I'm just afraid of the direction Bed Stuy might take, with overpricedness and mediocrity elbowing its way in from Clinton Hill. I mean, the banh mi peddling newcomer Tigerlily is charging more than the Cobble Hill banh mi shops (for a Brooklyn neighborhood comparison) charge and for an inferior product (though they do have a slightly more interesting menu), and they don't seem to be responding to all the reviewers (including me of course) who consistently argue these points.
It makes me wonder what the deal is with reviewers such as this one? I have a cynical suspicion that because this blogger's thing is that she covers the up-and-coming-ness of Bed Stuy, she tends toward meet anything with new with applause, but I'd caution her to be discriminating in what she welcomes.
But I want Bed Stuy to actually become it's own, cool, interesting, unique place with a feel all its own. It may be quixotic to hope that, unlike every developed neighborhood before it, Bed Stuy could somehow not fall victim to the same exact kind of gentrification, but gosh darn it let's put up a good fight.