There seems to be a slight hiccup of disillusionment rippling through the Internet this morning in response to the New York Times apartment porn profile on Mike D and Tamra Davis's stylishly-appointed 3,200 square feet Cobble Hill townhouse. As the 28 salivating slides reveal, the Beastie Boy of a certain age is basically living the way most of us would if we were affluent award-winning recording artists. "But what will this peek inside the fancy domesticated life of Michael Diamond do to his hardcore B-Boy street cred, to say nothing of Brooklyn in general?" some obliviously wonder.
The NYT Homes section, in which even Mike D comes across as a total asshat nytimes.com/2013/06/13/gre…
— Andrew Potter (@jandrewpotter) June 13, 2013
All your heroes eventually die and go to Cobble Hill to become yuppie parents. Even Mike D. nytimes.com/2013/06/13/gre…
— Steve Lombardi (@smlombardi) June 13, 2013
Still haunted by Mike D's tasteful interiors. Which US culture-hero will be the next victim of NYT Cribs? nyti.ms/18zpqet
— Brendan Barrington (@BrendanBarring1) June 13, 2013
Profile of Mike D of Beastie Boys turning into a pretentious materialistic Bklyn yuppie is death knell for NYC. nytimes.com/2013/06/13/gre…
— Heidi N. Moore (@moorehn) June 13, 2013
Yeah, since when did Mike D become such a brazenly materialistic rich dude?! Well, how about SINCE ALWAYS? It's no secret that Michael Diamond is the privileged son of well-to-do Upper West Side parents (his father a wealthy art dealer, his mother an interior designer). He attended private schools his whole life (first Walden on the UWS and then St. Ann's in Brooklyn), followed by a brief stint at Vassar. He was born rich (though not rich rich by NYC's obscene standards) and he's always been rich. And?
If Mike D had been rapping his whole life about the twisted evils of capitalism and consistently railing against social injustice with his lyrics, then we'd have something to rant about. But this is a man who's celebrated material tokens of success his whole career, albeit with a dash of glittering irony. He's the one who's "got money like Charles Dickens" and "like Tom Vu" he's "got yachts and mansions." (Lately, he's also been doing his part to help Hurrican Sandy-battered Rockaway.)
Even in 1984, before the Beastie Boys broke wide, Diamond and his bandmates wanted for nothing—Gary Winter, who booked them on his public access show in January of that year, describes his first encounter with the group:
"We picked [Diamond and Yauch] up on Hicks Street in Brooklyn Heights. I had a '69 Buick with a big trunk, and we went up there and looked at each other and went 'woah!' They were quite wealthy and had incredible film equipment in their homes. And they were very pompous, saying things in the car like, 'We shouldn't have to do this show, we're going to be big stars.' I was like 'If you really don't want to do it you don't have to. If this is too much for you. 'No, no, we'll do it.'"
As for this being a Death Knell For NYC, Twitter please. A rich musician living well in ultra-gentrified Cobble Hill signifies nothing. And the NY Times Real Estate section making everyone feel envious and inadequate is exactly what it exists for! (Inadequacy is the elixir that makes the advertising potent for consumers, er, readers.) In fact, the only thing that raised our eyebrows about this particular Times virtual handjob was the correction: "An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to Michael Diamond's status with the Beastie Boys. He is a current member, not a former." Mike D's a Beastie Boy for life, and has always lived in "vernacular, sensitive, modern" style.