31 August 2009

Rite Aid Does the Rite Thing

A couple weeks ago (as guest blogger on Curbed), I posted some about the immutable permanence of the stock photos adorning the windows of the Rite Aid at the corner of Smith and President Streets in Brooklyn. They'd been there for years, that lipsticked executrix and that happy, biking couple, and they showed no signs of moving.

Well, chalk one up for the power of the blogosphere. Nine days after that post hit the internet, a worker was outside the Rite Aid, ripping those photos out of the window displays. (No, I do not consider this a coincidence.) To the ashheap they went. The window remain empty at press time. What years-long ad campaign awaits up next? And will Stephen Collins be part of it?


Larvik said...

Sorry I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you cared to answer the anonymously posed question about Lost City collaborating with Curbed? I have also noticed other "preservation/anti-gentrification" blogs (of which I am a firm suporter by the way) linking to Curbed.

It is my opinion that Curbed is the antithesis of Lost City and it's comrades. You will not find a more meaner spirited, soulless, pro-whitewashing of our city's character supporting group than the one that posts comments on Curbed posts. The place is a cesspool. The reporting that goes on there never takes a stand against over development or the loss of historical landmarks, but instead offers up an ironic tone of resignation that creates a platform for the hatred and meanness that daily infects it's comments. The sister blogs of Curbed, Racked and Eater, for the most part chronicle the luxury shopping/celebrity shopping/20.00 cocktail world that your blog seems to despise, or is ambivalent to at the very least.

So, I ask: what is the deal? Do you not see Curbed as more a part of the problem than anything else? And if so, do you have any ethical conflicts with supporting them with your work?

Brooks of Sheffield said...


The short answer is, no, I don't see the Curbed network as part of the problem. You are correct in saying that their tone is basically one of "ironic resignation." They are not fighting City Hall, exactly, just reporting on its doings. But it's wrong, I think, to fault them for the quality of their commenters. No blog should be held accountable for its comments. Yahoos will be yahoos and you can't do anything about it (except delete their comments, which seems somehow undemocratic.)

Because of their tongue-in-cheek headlines and writing style, I have always felt that Curbed's attitude toward developers is one of thinly veiled mockery. They don't rail against the building boom and the condo glut, as I do, but they are causticly bemused by it. I suspect it is this attitude that inspires the bilious comments; pro-development people can see that Curbed is not necessarily on their side. So they attack their posts.

Furthermore, though I can only speak for myself, I suspect that "preservation/anti-gentrification" blogs link to Curbed et al because they sense a sort of an ally in the network. You may have noticed that when Curbed reaches out for guest bloggers, it drafts people like me, Jeremiah Moss, EV Grieve, Queens Crap, Restless and the like. These are all anti-development blogs. Eater has allowed me to write the "Who Goes There?" series, in which I visit dusty old restaurants. Why would they do that, if they didn't also kind of like dusty old restaurants? Surely, that shows you that, to a certain extent, Curbed's sympathies lie in the preservationist, Olde New York, direction.

I hope that helps.

Larvik said...

I can see what you are saying. But I also feel that by keeping that ironic distance from things, they are doing more harm than good. Also, a blog's audience is not a coincidence. It is shaped by the material and the tone. The Curbed network reports on real estate, shopping, and eating, with the emphasis being on the high end of each. Sounds like a yunnie shitshow to me. Also the fact that they draft in you and jeremiah etc smacks of wanting to have it both ways, which also seems dangerous to me, especially considering how much sway they may have.