The Nightmare of Brooklyn Real Estate: a reality check from 1905

As many events in my life are, this post was sparked by a discussion on Gawker (lately, it’s the rare one which doesn’t center around how awful Kinja is becoming, and god knows, it started out badly).

Yuppies have apparently Burst Williamsburg’s Borders, Spilling Out in All Directions.

I imagine that looked something like this.

…and was welcomed by the locals in much the same spirit.

Now, I’m going to make a radical proposal. There will be mucho blowback on this controversial statement; of that I am well aware. My lawyers are standing by, along with a team of trained PR ninjas, to ensure we all come out of the ensuing melee with our orthodontistry intact.

I’m going to say that the gentrification of Brooklyn has been going on for more than a century. It’s true! There never was a time when it was “the undiscovered country!” And there never really was a time when anyone was happy to move out of Manhattan and across a bridge, unless they were getting out of the MCC.

Here’s your proof. Memory is a wonderful thing, my friends, for lo, it has enabled me to read a Gawker post about sprawling colonialism in Brooklyn and tie it to this comic, from Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend, a marvelous collection of turn of the last century but one comics, all based on nightmares from having had too much Welsh Rarebit. I must test this theory out on the ol’ drinkscoaster blog someday, and snarf a whole Welsh Rarebit just before bed, preferably with the kind of beer that just gets gassier the farther along the gastrointestinal tract it gets.

From the brilliantly twisted mind of Winsor McCay, and from the readers who sent in their dreams for illustrations (or the stories he made up when nobody was forthcoming; was this the first Overheard In model in history?), not to mention the good people at the Comic Strip Library,  comes this panel. True then as now, down to the olde timey get-ups and the novelty smoking equipment.

Brooklyn Real Estate Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend

Brooklyn Real Estate Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend