Television has dipped its pacifying nipple in a barbiturate named Brooklyn, let us rejoice and be glad. “Manhattan has always told the story of aspiration and wealth,” a location scout tells the New York Times. “Now Brooklyn is telling the story of a really upwardly mobile person.” Elevator pitch: Aspiration and Wealth move across the river—their reclaimed teak business is going great until a gorgeous yet irascible art appraiser with Asperger's opens an espresso bar/gallery space next door.
The Times is relatively honest about the fact that this "really upwardly mobile person" is climbing the city's economic escarpment with a harness of Privilege and a carabiner of Two Full Bathrooms and that chalk they use on their hands is cocaine? The point is that these characters are rich, and the vast majority of Brooklynites (or New Yorkers) are not.
Hollywood and advertising agencies want the same thing buyers want: lots of light, open kitchens, well-preserved historical detailing, graciously proportioned rooms and, preferably, a back garden.
As any young Brooklynite hunting for an apartment knows, having the means to live in a chic loft verges on absurdity. That has not stopped productions from using fancy lofts for young characters, perhaps dressing them down in a slight concession to authenticity. A production crew, with cameras, lighting equipment and dozens of people, often requires a big space. And, well, illusions are what the movies are for.
Fair enough—who actually believes the things they see in the FIVE hours of TV they watch each day? It's amazing that these insultingly farcical depictions of modernity don't inspire people to demand more changes to the broken reality they inhabit, but at least the stuff on HBO is commercial-free.
Besides, the whiners are poseurs. You kids eating in Urban Outfitters asked for this!
“I would not consider it fair if someone in Williamsburg were complaining that we weren’t portraying Williamsburg in an accurate light, considering that person probably just moved here from Ohio,” said Nick Carr, another location scout. “Did they come here for the same reason they’re filming here” — in search of a gritty-yet-glamorous fantasy of Williamsburg?
Glamorous: rooftop showers. Gritty: bagels and Keurig pods run dry by 11 a.m. (goddamn freelancers).
Branding aside, it's considerably less expensive to shoot in Brooklyn than it is in Manhattan. “One thing that we’re really looking for is old New York character, and Manhattan’s definitely lost that," another scout says. And what is more New York than ditching your home for something cheaper?
A Ditmas Park homeowner in the story's accompanying video also makes a good point: "It's pretty cool to see Hugh Grant sitting on somebody's porch."