How Much Did It Cost the Times to Make Henry Alford a Hipster?

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry. (Photo via NYC.gov).

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry. (Photo via NYC.gov).

“It costs a lot of money to look this cheap,” Dolly Parton famously said. Well, nowhere is that more true than in Hipster Brooklyn, a magical land that The New York Times seemingly “discovers” once every five weeks. In today’s Style section, the Times sent intrepid middle-aged Manhattanite reporter Henry Alford to Williamsburg to live like the locals do (which, coincidentally, is also the way one would live if one were living one’s life according to trend stories in the Times Style section).

So how much did Mr. Alford’s long weekend of living the artisanal life actually cost the newspaper, which confirmed that it covered Mr. Alford’s expenses but, citing policy, declined to share costs?

According to our back-of-the-envelope arithmetic, it looks like the Times spent at least $1,600 to send Mr. Alford to Williamsburg–and that is not even counting paying the author for the story or the photographer for the accompanying slide show, or the likelihood that Mr. Alford got a Blue Bottle coffee or a rosemary-infused cocktail at the Wythe Hotel’s rooftop bar.

Let’s break it down:

  • Three nights at the Wythe Hotel: $1,065 to $1,257 + tax (according to the desk clerk at the hotel. It depends on whether has a view of Brooklyn or Manhattan)
  • Knife skills class at Third Ward: $69 (according to Mr. Alford’s article)
  • Short-sleeve paid shirt from H. W. Carter and Sons: $225 (according to Mr. Alford’s article)
  • Assorted vintage items to complete the look: $26 (according to Mr. Alford’s article)
  • Bike rental from Zukies bike shop: $25 per day + $10 for a helmet and lock. Assuming Mr. Alford rented the bike and accessories for three days, that brings the total to $105.
  • Straight-razor shave at Barber & Supply: $40
  • Dinner at Roberta’s: Although Mr. Alford didn’t specify what he ate, we can (modestly) assume he spent around $50
  • Chocolate bar at Mast Brothers: $9

Well, nobody ever said that becoming the object of trend-piece ridicule was cheap. And the article formerly known as “Will.i.ams.burg” (the print headline was changed online to “How I Became a Hipster” sometime this morning) certainly accomplished that. All in the name of journalism, etc.