14 January 2009

There Goes The Neighborhood, Part 10,378

I really hate being one of those people, especially considering that I haven't lived around here all that long, and we already know from past exchanges in this space that there are people who feel the point where the neighborhood really started going downhill was when I moved in.

Nonetheless, I was saddened to learn that the Lost and Found bar in Greenpoint is no more, having been acquired and revamped by the same chain that runs, among others, the Alligator on Metropolitan Avenue and the Charleston on Bedford. It's now called the Alligator Lounge II and will be operated along the same lines as others in the chain, i.e., a singles bar for 20-something borderline hipsters (borderline in that many of them have actual jobs).

I know, you're thinking, just what the neighborhood needed! Thank God for the free enterprise system, always finding a need and filling it! Unfortunately, the Lost and Found - which, let's be fair, always had a hefty share of not-so-borderline hipsters (i.e., they probably didn't have jobs, or else had constitutions of iron that enabled them to drink till 4 am and still be on the train for Manhattan by 8 the next morning) - was the last of its kind, an anarchic, freeform sort of hangout in which the normal laws regarding noise, underage drinking (I guess it's all right to mention this now that they're no longer in business) and general propriety seemed to have been suspended.

There used to be bars like this on every corner in New York City, and there probably still are in some of the more remote neighborhoods, but unless you count Tommy's, which puts way too much emphasis on the sleazy dive part of the equation and way too little on the cool, laidback aspect, not in Williamsburg/Greenpoint anymore.

It's just the laws of supply and demand and real estate at work, of course. The Charleston used to be a nasty old dive as well, where as long as you were willing to put up with the gruff and erratic management, the antediluvian sound system, and the 1970s kitsch that passed for decor, you could put on the kind of punk shows that wouldn't be welcome anywhere else in town (i.e., the kind involving most of my friends).

It couldn't last, given its location at the heart of the Hipster Strip, and ever since Franklin Avenue started sprouting bars, boutiques and restaurants, I knew in my heart that Lost and Found was not long for this world, either. First report from someone who's actually been to the new spot: "Lost and Found is really weird now. Dim lighting, candles, black & gray decor. And a kitchen."

Doesn't sound that weird by conventional standards, agreed. But did we really need yet another spot for douchebags to go a-courting? Hey, I don't even drink, so obviously nobody's going to be interested in my opinion.

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