Hysteria*: Class of neuroses presenting a great diversity of clinical pictures… . anxiety hysteria, where the anxiety is attached in more or less stable fashion to a specific external object (phobias).
I attended one of the #OWS events, a gathering at Union Square. I would characterize the scene as one of hysteria on the part of the mayor’s response to the demonstrators and the behavior of the NYPD. I sense this from the regular occurrence of vans carrying five or six officers, racing for a few blocks with sirens blaring, and with no apparent emergency in sight; the presence of the hundreds of riot gear clad police confronting an unarmed collection of citizens, moving to and fro, moving barricades, blocking the coming and going of pedestrians, for no apparent reason; the tiny Asian-American cop, casually wielding his baton in a menacing fashion, attempting to intimidate his distracted audience, represents any number of pseudo tough guys decked in blue, with the names on their badges conspicuously covered – their cowardice exceeded only by the arrogance of their interactions with bystanders. It is undeniable that the disruption of traffic is caused by the ridiculously massive police presence, which may be a tactical move on the part of the NYPD and mayor to make it appear as if the occupiers are fucking up life in the city. The failed third mayoral term that Bloomberg purchased from the City Council – which eagerly plucked lint from his deep pockets – has been marked by an extreme level of political and administrative incompetence. This feral mayor’s reign of error can’t come to an end soon enough.
* J. Laplanche and J.-B. Pontalis, The Language of Psycho-analysis, 194.
There’s a dark stain on the wood floor of the living room, the birthmark of an execution. The apartment windows are rimmed by security system wiring, which appears to be disconnected. His girlfriend’s sister signed the lease while yellow police tape across the front door still barred entry. She didn’t tell them about the origin of the stain until they asked about it. They cover the floor with an electric blue rug.
Despite appearances, Williamsburg is a bit gritty, looks like East Berlin in the right light. Additionally, houses with vinyl siding give Billburg a working-class feel.
Comparatively, the late 80s was no golden age. Streets of the East Village and Lower East Side were littered with needles and crack vials (in the Bronx, with bullet casings). It was an era of libertine excess. The presence of gentrifiers, who attract police protection, lowered the body count. Now it is hopeless, a desolate high rent district marred by Frank Gehry’s melting monstrosity. Only the art star scene clings to life there.
Williamsburg was a refuge from the universal march of commodification in Manhattan, and still retains its less than posh character despite the influx of trust funders with liberal arts degrees. Unlike the EV/LES, the Billburg hipster scene is low key, understated. Its addictions to free wifi, lattes brewed and poured with artisanal care, and American Spirits are preferable to crack rock and concealed glocks. Not every woman there is a Hannah Horvath.