It's hard out there for a male model/musician/skateboarder/home-remodeler.
Maybe not that hard, you know, compared to most of the other people in the entire world. But hard in its way! Hard in the way where, after Josh Wald listed his renovated Greenpoint home as being for sale, he and his home got ripped to shreds on Curbed and Brownstoner for being, according to one commenter, "uglayyyy as sin!"
The New York Times spoke with Mr. Wald in his controversial home and the model had this to say about the nasty commentary, "If someone seemed like they knew what they were talking about, then O.K., they can have a difference of opinion. But if it’s just ignorant blabber, then it just seems like Web chat out of control." Wald did not say that he was personally offended by all the "Web chat" but his broker, Maryam Zadeh, felt differently. "“It bothered me,” she said. “You’ve put a lot of work into it.”
That's pretty much what my mom said when I got a B+ instead of an A on my 5th-grade report on the Amazon rainforest. Of course, I didn't actually put that much work into it, because I hated my 5th-grade Social Studies teacher but that's not the point. The point is that it's important to have people in your corner. People like your mom. And your real estate broker.
The Times points out that Mr. Wald put a great deal of work into his home. He did things like, "ripp[ing] off the vinyl and f[inding] layers of metal and asphalt siding underneath, on top of what appeared to be the original cedar shingles. He pulled up the linoleum flooring and found a red cedar base. He scoured antiques stores from Rhode Island to Texas, buying up old doors and knobs, funky chandeliers and the like. On the top floor, Mr. Wald created a giant master suite with 14-foot ceilings, a skylight and an enormous closet straight out of a Vogue reader’s fantasies."
And now, he's being attacked by the Internet for having bad taste. Everyone knows that the Internet is a harsh bitch of a mistress who will take your words and dreams and crush them under her heel, her sharp, anonymous heel, but that doesn't make it any easier to swallow.
After all, is the cedar-shingle siding on Mr. Wald's home really that offensive? Is it so much worse than the vinyl sidings of many of the other houses on Guernsey Street? Does Greenpoint really have such a consistently exalted architectural aesthetic that Mr. Wald's house threatens some sort-of pre-existing integrity?
It's one thing to dislike his stylistic choices. And it's another thing to balk at the $2.5M price-tag on a single-family Greenpoint home. Although, in fairness, NY1 anchor Pat Kiernan bought a similarly priced single-family on Bedford Avenue recently and people stayed quiet because everyone loves Pat Kiernan. But to just tear down Mr. Wald's home as being "so Breezy Point" (ouch!) is pretty harsh. There are other things in the Brooklyn real estate market to be outraged about than the fact that Mr. Wald is clearly a Restoration Hardware acolyte.
The Times reports that "a commenter who tried to defend the listing on the Web site Curbed was treated to a skeptical rejoinder: 'You are the broker. You are Wald’s buddy. You are Wald’s mother.'"
And what did Mr. Wald have to say about this affront to his own mother's honor?
“'For the record,' he declared, sitting at his kitchen counter last week and running a hand through his thick, dark hair, 'my mom probably doesn’t quite understand what a blog is!'”
Internet! Leave Josh Wald's mother alone!
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen