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The Bedford Stop: online reality show proves that Williamsburg is over
Once, the Brooklyn neighbourhood was home to artists and musicians. Now, it’s the setting for a series starring the vacuous folks who still think it’s hip.
For a long time now, most people have known that Williamsburg, in Brooklyn, is not a cool neighborhood.
Now, at last, we have specific evidence for that, in the form of a new reality show called The Bedford Stop.
It’s a web series in which Williamsburg is seen through the eyes of the four remaining people who think the neighborhood is a hip place to live.
Early on in The Bedford Stop’s pilot, posted online on Monday, it becomes apparent that this is a “Brunch! Tinder! Bullshit!” glimpse into hell.
“There’s Sarah! The boy-crazy one!” we learn in the introduction. “There’s Olena! You never know what will come out her mouth!”
“Then there’s Melissa!” it continues. “We never know where she is but she always manages to show up with a drink in her hand.”
Well, good for her, because if she ever watches this show back, she will certainly need one.
Years and years ago, Williamsburg was an area of artists, musicians and culture. Then it became an area for people pretending to be artists and musicians.
Now it is something else entirely. It the sort of place that uncool people think is cool. It’s in Brooklyn, so hey, it’s edgy, but it also has Starbucks and bars selling $9 beers and people wearing Ray-Bans with silly little dogs in handbags, enough so that those from the West Village feel at home.
The area around the MTA’s Bedford stop, the name and setting for this new show, is the area where this is most apparent. The show captures the essence perfectly.
We see the gang of protagonists organising brunch. We hear that one of them was out the night before until – gasp! – 4am. Another, apparently the one who is “boy-crazy”, is listened to in disbelief as she tells a friend she has been on – get this – five Tinder dates “in the past few weeks”.
Later, the friends go on a night out. They gather at Alex’s place. Alex’s place is a modern, whitewashed, brand-new-fixtures-and-fittings apartment that might as well be in the Financial District and probably costs $4,000 a month.
Plans for the evening are discussed. Anyone familiar with the area will be aware that they are discussing some of the worst places in the neighbourhood.
They could go to McCarren rooftop, they say. Or Brooklyn Bowl – “a band’s playing tonight!” They end up in a snotty bar and one of them smashes a glass, which makes the evening rowdy.
To be fair, there are positive things to say about Williamsburg. There are genuine parts where people who don’t work for ad agencies live. There are Dominican neighborhoods, Puerto Rican neighborhoods, Hassidic neighborhoods, where families have lived for generations.
The south and east of Williamsburg have some nice, cheap, neighborhood bars. There are pleasant people living there.
All of which makes you wonder why the film-makers have decided to focus on the Bedford stop.
If the show was supposed to be edgy, it’s about 10 years too late. If it was supposed to be a glimpse into the hipster lifestyle, the producers chose the wrong people.
If it was supposed to confirm that Williamsburg was over a long time ago, then they got it dead right.