Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Great! MTV's popular reality show, "Real World" is coming to Brooklyn. Just what we need. In a news release this week, MTV announced, “A tree isn’t the only thing growing in Brooklyn!" As always, the location of the 12-part reality series is kept secret to avoid upsetting a neighborhood. This is the third time MTV has brought the show to the Big Apple, but the first time it has ventured into the outer Boroughs.
So, we really don't know where they'll be filming, beginning this summer.

My hunch is Williamsburg. It's hipster heaven. Garage bands rocking out in converted loft spaces, scruffy looking skater dudes and a few soccer moms thrown in for good measure. Hey, reality is this once gritty neighborhood is now officially gentrified. That's fine, I suppose. They can stay in Williamsburg. That way, my neighborhood of Carroll Gardens won't get any more publicity. Listen, they've filmed a lot of movies in Carroll Gardens. Perhaps the most famous was "Moonstruck", which was filmed in the old Cammareri Bakery right down the street. The place is no longer there, but it had nothing to do with the film. Most people didn't know Carroll Gardens was the location of the film. They knew it was Brooklyn, but this is a big Borough.

Conde Nast Traveler did a piece on the nabe. Fodors Travel Guide now lists several hip watering holes like The Brooklyn Social Club on Smith street. The website Gridskipper proclaimed, "Carroll Gardens, the new West Village. Ugh! But, it was the New York Times that really put the neighborhood on the map back in 2002 when it did a neighborhood profile in its popular real estate column, "If you're thinking of living in...."

Quite frankly, I found Carroll Gardens by accident, strolling the streets of Brooklyn Heights looking for an apartment and wandering 20 blocks South or so. I don't need a magazine, newspaper or a reality TV show to exploit my nice, quiet predominantly Italian neighborhood. Sure, Carroll Gardens is gentrified, rents are through the roof ( A place that cost $1400 12 years ago now goes for well over $3000.)but, this neighborhood has grown enough. A handful of butcher shops, old bakeries and mom and pop restaurants still remain. We lost plenty of good ones, though because of rising rents and the popularity of the neighborhood.

I say all of this because while the best guess is that a bunch of 20-somethings on "Real World" would most likely want to hang in Williamsburg, plenty of that same group now live here, a little bit more professional, but still young and vibrant.
I'm just a little worried that maybe they won't pick Williamsburg. Maybe they'll pick Carroll Gardens. Then, we'll have a bunch of showboating wanna-be TV stars roaming about with video cameras in tow.

I remember about ten years ago, some newspaper or maybe it was a TV show, revealed the film location of one particular "Real World." You know what happened? They packed up their bags and moved somewhere else. So here's how you can do you're part. If you notice a bunch of good looking 20-somethings coming and going from a cool looking building (they always pick big, luxuriously renovated buildings) with cameras in tow, let it be known. Put posters up in your neighborhood. Let the locals know where they're filming. Send an email to this blog or better yet, call your local radio and TV stations. Notify the buildings department and report bogus violations. Oh, and honk a lot. That always disrupts filming. What Williamsburg....and certainly Carroll Gardens DOESN'T need is MTV's "Real World."

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