The Last Bohemia

Un libro in lingua di Robert Anasi edito da Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2012

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A firsthand account of the swift transformation of Williamsburg, from factory backwater to artists' district to trendy hub and high-rise colony

     Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is now so synonymous with hipster culture and the very idea of urban revitalization—so well-known from Chicago to Cambodia as the playground for the game of ironized status-seeking and lifestyle one-upmanship—that it's easy to forget how just a few years ago it was a very different neighborhood: a spread of factories, mean streets, and ratty apartments that the rest of New York City feared. 
     Robert Anasi hasn't forgotten. He moved to a $300-a-month apartment in Williamsburg in 1994 and watched as the area went through a series of surreal transformations: gritty industrial district, low-rent artists' enclave, dot-com denizens' crash pad, backdrop for neo-bohemian cool, playpen for stroller-pushing trendy parents, and now a high-rise real-estate developers' colony of brushed aluminum and plate glass.
     Tight, passionate, and provocative, The Last Bohemia is at once a celebration of the fever dream of bohemia, a lament for what Williamsburg has become, and a cautionary tale about the lurching transformations of city neighborhoods. Through Anasi's eyes we see the warehouses become lofts, secret cocaine bars become stylized absinthe parlors, barrooms become stage sets for indie rock careers, and rents rise and rise—until the local artists find that their ideal of personal creativity has served the aims of global commerce and their neighborhood now belongs to someone else.

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