Sorry Brooklyn, You Aren’t America’s Artsiest City

12/02/2011 2:21 PM |

NY is Americas third healthiest art community.
  • NY is America’s third healthiest art community.

Attempts to reduce markers of artistic accomplishment to easily quantifiable statistics are notoriously misleading—did you hear the one about Van Gogh being the most famous artist of the aughts?—but they can also be interesting, or fun to make light of, so here’s one about the most artistic city in the United States. (Hint: It’s a city Georgia O’Keeffe frequented, and it’s not New York…)

The Atlantic Cities‘ Richard Florida teamed up with Kevin Stolarick of the Martin Prosperity Institute to figure out which American cities have the greatest concentration of the country’s 237,000 employed and self-employed artists relative to their total urban population. The resulting statistic, the Location Quotient (LQ) reflects how many times larger the local artist population is relative to a city’s total population than the national average. So:

An LQ of one implies that its regional share equals the national average; less than one is less than the national average and greater than one is more than the national average. An LQ of two, for example, means a region has twice the national average of artists.

Which simply means that, although New York City has the greatest number of artists in the country, according to census data, its population is so large that its LQ is significantly lower than the two most artistic cities in the U.S.: Santa Fe (LQ 7.587) and San Francisco (LQ 3.825). Coming in third, New York has an LQ of 2.573, followed by Los Angeles (LQ 2.513) and Santa Cruz-Watsonville (LQ 2.496).

The lower half of the Top 10 is full of small towns with strong local arts communities like Danbury, Connecticut (LQ 2.460) or New Bedford, Massachusetts (2.393)—and Jersey City (LQ 2.256).

As Marty Markowitz will surely point out if/when he hears about this, if not for the Great Mistake, Brooklyn would definitely top the list.

19 Comment

  • All of it is preposterous. Challenge yourself: how many objective histories of the “art” in Williamsburg are there? None. How many critical reviews? None.

    Williamsburg is not “artsy” because it always has been “artsy”–so to speak. What Williamsburg ranks high in that pretends the consciousness and existence of “art” is “gentrification.”

    Many of you simpaticos, “boosters” or “cheerleaders” who fancy hipsterishism but are really more hamster-like, may find such an objective reality tough to chew or even swallow–but when years transpire, possibly decades, and perspective is gained, I will join the many ranks of historians and critics who will look at what has transpired in Williamsburg in the past 3 decades as a profound farce.

  • For an excellent perspective, trying Schorske’s Fin-de-Siecle Vienna. It will open your eyes about the confluence of “high culture”, urban development, social trends–and a nasty little reactionary tidbit that echoes Williamsburg most hauntingly in the emergence of a bizarre left-right hybridization that marched on down to Nazism:
    http://www.amazon.com/Fin-Siecle-Vienna-Po…

  • Check out, for example, this telling passage on pg. 46: “Despite the protests of property owners of the inner city, who feared the competition of vast new housing construction, the Expansion Commission operated on the principle that the most lucrative exploitation of the land would produce the best results for the community. The Commission defined its aims, of course, not in the terms of the needs of the low-income groups for housing, or even in terms of urban economic development as a whole, but simply in terms of the representative public buildings and public spaces of the Ringstrasse. Building controls for the residential sector were limited as to height, building line, and to some extent land parcelization. For the rest, the market determined the results. And “the market” meant the intersection of the economic interests and cultural values of the well-to-do.”

  • By the way, I understand the field is “Brooklyn,” not “Williamsburg,” but are we talking crown here, or thorns?

  • Excuse me, I meant ‘fascism,’ properly speaking–Vienna’s post-Ringstrasse hybridization. And, being Real, there has never been any development in Williamsburg, with the remote exception of her initial “founding spurt”, that compares to the Ringstrasse or the transformation she wrought in Vienna.

  • Dude. All this crazy ranting is endangering my Top Commenter status.

  • Hold on, I’ll get my pom-poms out–then maybe you’ll come out to play?

  • But really, do your best to keep that “top commentor” status–your kind of reign is a losing I don’t want to win.

  • Isn’t there a luxury hotel or some condominium space developer your friends are jumping into bed with that you should be excusing right now, while pretending you’re a “concerned resident”? I think I got your Top Commentor Template down.

  • Since attention is focused here now, and yo-yo pa et al got their pom poms out for GAG–Gentrifiers Accusing others of Gentrification, I’ll redirect for just a second a question I have prompted him in the past that I hope he finds some nerve to answer, since he lacks spine to answer: what is the difference between People’s Firehouse and NAG and the Vito Lopez’s Ridgewood-Bushwick Center?

  • Ah, a last one to pull at the crazy strings. Look at what is being pulled down for future development, the very historical seat of GAG:
    http://brooklynpaper.com/stories/34/49/dtg…
    How telling. A Temple of Gentrification transformed? To mourn over the seat that one consciously and conscientiously displaced, the one handed over to Real Estate, so GAG can go cry crocodile tears over there gentrification prayers somewhere else–maybe at the synagogue in Greenpoint?
    Sigh.

  • What is the difference between People’s Firehouse and NAG and the Vito Lopez’s Ridgewood-Bushwick Center?

    That’s a compelling question actually. But let’s face it. The “difference” is that to contrast Vito’s housing empire with a group of Brooklyn standbys (Firehouse, NAG, Los Sures, El Puente, Saint Nicks, etc, etc, etc.) … is absurd. To invoke Vito Lopez in bohemian discourse is absurd enough as it is. This is a career that has gone from the barroom board rooms of Metropolitan Avenue to the ancients themselves of Morgan Avenue. It’s quite a leap. So are we talking about Vito Lopez here, or WOOP or HOWL or my favorite: The Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center?

  • Excuse me, was there a position taken there? All I saw were a bunch of polyphonics with some supposedly name-dropping exoteric only to the most blithe hipster, in the end supposedly summed up with the word “absurd” and once again thinly veiling some playa-hate, some internal threat that the lights for too long have burned a spot on the stage? Another eerie echo and pantomime of the gentrification of Williamsburg, dreaming of a City of Williamsburg but piloting only a satellite of the brownstone Brooklyn metropolis?

  • In other words, what do you know about Vito Lopez, the Ridgewood-Bushwick Senior Center, People’s Firehouse et al that is not some generalization you picked up from a rumor?

    I can say, right now, the Ridgewood-Bushwick Senior Center is “great”, or “shit,” or “donkey-penis” or any gibberish whatsoever, and your role will be to play shadow, and take an opposite position that need no meaning or value–as long as it siphons off that which you envy.

  • So much for that nonsense. Having dropped that, I still leave the challenge open for anyone, not just yo yo pa, to answer what is the difference between the People’s Firehouse and the Ridgewood-Bushwick Senior Center, and not pretend they’re answering by saying something mediocre and banal and “bohemian” like, “the answer to your question is that the question is absurd” which is such a hilarious escape. Does a happy ending come with that argument?

  • And “bohemian discourse”? WHAT “bohemian discourse”? Are we grandiose again? Imagining things very much? The most dis/coursing advocate among your group is a cheap universalist who lumps all things into one “immersive” category while ignoring what those things even are, and no one else even “dis/courses” with him {maybe to their credit}–another example by which the most coherent symbol for the gentrification of Williamsburg is Ialdabaoth, blind idiot god who fancies himself the creator of impotence.

  • I was wondering what the writer meant by the “Great Mistake.” Like any good person who’s afraid to admit he doesn’t know something, I googled it, but there are a whole lot of “Great Mistakes.”

  • Oh, you silly agents of gentrification have no idea how I relish your “dislikes.” How honored I am by your disagreement with me. Please, more! For you fools of gentrification go into the Jungle looking for parrots, but the Jungle has Shere Khan.

  • @B: You’re right, history is full of Great Mistakes. In this case, we’re talking about 1898, the unification of New York City (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Ne…).