Williamsburg? Mainstream. South Austin? It was so much better 15 years ago, before everybody found out about all the food trailers. Wicker Park? In the "not" column since Liz Phair sold out in '93.
Hipsters have joined the likes gays, granolas, artists, and young professionals in overeducated-but-underpaid fields like urban planning, in being forces that spark the gentrification of distressed or undiscovered urban neighborhoods. You know the routine; the first wave of urban pioneers is followed by middle-class urbanites, and finally capped off by well-off textbook yuppies.
If there's anything that hipsters hate, though, it's when others discover and start to appreciate their obscure pleasures. An unknown band or an offbeat fashion accessory becomes an unloved trend when they're discovered by the outside world.
Like trucker caps, skinny jeans, and Foster The People, It's only a matter of time before hipsters also abandon the 'hoods where they had a role in gentrifying. Where should they go, though? What neighborhoods are now completely, totally outside of the collective awareness of hipsters, neighborhoods so unknown and underground that not even the most connected alpha hipster with the most followed Tumbl blog has heard of them? We're not talking about places with even a few stray galleries, coffee shops or artist's spaces here and there, like Waterloo in Cleveland, or Pilsen in Chicago. Instead, these are places with authenticity in its purist form, untouched by anything that could remotely resemble a scene, much less the ironic consumption of even just one PBR. These are also neighborhoods where a hipster could quickly find themselves comfortable; urban but not "scary", affordable, well-located, and with a more-or-less intact fabric. They're also quirky in their own right, even with the lack of cool consignment or vinyl stores.
My nomination: Kaisertown, a working-class, predominantly Polish-American neighborhood on Buffalo's East Side. At one time, most of Buffalo's East Side resembled Kaisertown. Today, Kaisertown, along with Lovejoy, another old ethnic blue-collar neighborhood directly to the north, are time capsules encased by a web of railroad yards; the last neighborhoods of their kind in a part of the city that is now otherwise associated with blight and poverty.
Unlike Lovejoy, which has earned a reputation as being hostile to outsiders, Kaisertown is considered more welcoming, with its population of friendly, elderly babcias and dziadeks. Clinton Street, the commercial strip that runs through the heart of Kaisertown, is lined with locally owned meat markets, bakeries, pizzerias, hardware stores, and workingman's taverns that have both kinds, Genny and Genny Cream. Its side streets, bearing names like Gorski, Matejko, and Pulaski, are lined with modest but well-kept frame houses behind immaculate lawns. Corner bars with names like "Schu-Shine Inn" and "P&K's", tucked deep within Kaisertown's otherwise residential blocks, are a third place for those fleeing the oppression of their overbearing old ladies. A seven to ten minute drive through an industrial corridor full of potential performance spaces would land a hipster and their Mini Cooper in downtown Buffalo.
While many neighborhoods throughout Buffalo are being rediscovered and rejuvenated, Kaisertown remains completely off the radar screen of Buffalo's urbanists. It's so far underground not even Buffalo's fledgling hipster community, increasingly priced out of Allentown and Elmwood Village and now eying Black Rock as the next up-and-coming 'hood, knows about the place.
Okay. Maybe ONE hipster.