Note To L Mag: We Love You, But You Need To Get Out More

A typical street scene in Sheepshead Bay. Nope, no culture here. Photo by Boris Shekhman

Here is the sort of thing that sticks in my craw, and I think it should chap the behinds of all artists, photographers, writers, restaurateurs, merchants, activists, and Southern Brooklynites, in general, who are imbued with a modicum of civic pride (as they damn well should be!).

It doesn’t take long to figure out what is so very wrong about L Magazine’s “Brooklyn Neighborhood Power Rankings.” What a hunk of rotten baloney. Okay, let me take that back, because as one of the purveyors of “news” around here, I should let all of Sheepshead Bites’ readers form their own opinions on the matter, but here are the facts (as I see them): L Magazine selected 12 neighborhoods throughout Brooklyn to give gold stars to, using a very

suspect criteria

“scientific approach.”

L Magazine writes:

Ranking the neighborhoods of Brooklyn is like choosing between one’s children: sometimes you just have to do it because it makes for good copy. Using a very scientific approach, we judged neighborhoods on criteria like food and drink, accessibility, culture, infrastructure, affordability, and our deeply held prejudices about the time we’ve spent there.

Afterward they allocated quirky old doors and doorknobs to the neighborhoods with the highest ranking (As a friend of mine would say, “I booshit you not.” You need to see the photo they used for the story to understand what that means), along with reviews of the dozen neighborhoods worth reviewing. For example:

“…Billyburg retains enough of its counterculture sheen to still attract actual cool people from around the world—the French, the Dutch, the Spanish, the Italians… and holy crap a lot of Japanese hipsters. So yes, galleries are leaving, and the kids can’t afford rent, but if you like good restaurants and don’t think it’s crazy to spend $400 on (really effing beautiful) shoes, the hood’s for you. The old hipsters grew up and started having babies, but there’s a ton of cool shit still here, you just have to look for it (and have the money to enjoy it).”


The rest of us poor slobs, well… we’re just “On the outside looking in.” And where on the list do the wastelands us pedestrian goobers reside in rank? In numerical order, from numbers 13 to 47:

13. Vinegar Hill 14. Windsor Terrace 15. Prospect Lefferts Gardens 16. Boerum Hill 17. Crown Heights 18. Bedford-Stuyvestant 19. Parkville 20. Kensington 21. Bay Ridge 22. Sunset Park 23. Brighton Beach 24. Gravesend 25. Coney Island 26. Midwood 27. Sheepshead Bay 28. Flatbush 29. Dyker Heights 30. Bergen Beach 31. Marine Park 32. Bath Beach 33. Manhattan Beach 34. Sea Gate 35. Mill Basin 36. Bensonhurst 37. Canarsie 38. Flatlands 39. Downtown Brooklyn 40. Homecrest 41. Starrett City 42. Wingate 43. East Flatbush 44. Brownsville 45. East New York 46. Gerritsen Beach 47. Borough Park

I took the liberty of bolding the talentless swamps, which comprise Sheepshead Bites’ coverage area. And what’s the deal with Borough Park coming in at number 47? Does the staff at L Mag have something against lox, kishke, Beis Yakov schools and the Bobover Rebbe? The nerve! And just before Rosh Hashanah.

The point is, in my capacity as a frequent contributor to Sheepshead Bites, I have seen just as much talent and creativity on these pages — from fellow contributing writers, Morning Mug submissions, and homegrown talent, in general — as can be found in any of the douchebag art galleries and free range, organic, homegrown, locally-imported rooftop sage and basil gardens or micro-breweries in Williamsburg, Bushwick and Greenpoint.

And on top of that, we have tons of awesome restaurants. Hello? Brennan & Carr, Roll-n-Roaster, Il Fornetto, Randazzo’s, Del Mar, Mei Mei’s Chinese Kitchen, Anatolian Gyro, Jay & Lloyd’s, Chicken Masters, Jordan’s Lobster Dock, Clemente’s, Maria’s Restaurant, Wheeler’s… do I even need to continue?

So, while we still love you, L Mag, we’re feeling a little dissed here.

What say you, readers? What do you think of this cockamamey list? While I am tempted to round up the usual suspects and have us march down to L Mag’s offices, baseball bats in hand, I’d instead encourage you to sound off in the comments. And go the extra mile, because we have to prove to them that we’re not a bunch of uninspired, inbred dum-dums.