“Fuck your nazi pizzeria.”
Three up-and-coming teenage rappers in Queens protested gentrification in Rockaway Beach with a music video titled “Fuck Out the Rock.”
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s destruction, luxury housing units and expensive restaurants have drained funds from what some deem the real issues in Far Rockaway. FEMA’s “contrived faux bohemia” has no place in Rockaway Beach, according to self-described “punk-ass motherfuckers” TrisNev, Sean Blaise and Stacks the MenACE, whose YouTube video currently has 960 views.
“Get out pronto, we tryna build some condos, so grab your shit and walk off like you struck out,” Stacks the MenACE raps in a FEMA imitation. “Gentrification really means get the fuck out.”
Rockaway’s own flatbrim-flashing Sean Blaise told the Observer that the flow of funds has “created a fake neighborhood, a slice of Disneyland.” He laughed while adding that he’s never been to Disneyland, but maybe that’s the point.
Meanwhile, increased law enforcement in Queens has been “throwing dogs in the pound” according to TrisNev, who said his rap comes from “the stance of just a kid living in Rockaway and all the shenanigans that go on,” unlike the more political perspectives of Sean Blaise and Stacks the MenACE. TrisNev told the Observer that cops have stopped him for “no reason” on his own streets.
To the teenage rappers, the “nazi pizzeria” is the epitome of hipster absurdity. At Whitney Aycock’s Rockaway Beach pizza shop, the boys allege that the owner is intentionally an asshole, because he finds it “hilarious.” But while hipsters love to ironically adore the maltreatment, Mr. Blaise is not amused. “People coming down for the day think it’s cool to have a harsh business,” he said, “but really it’s just overpriced pizza. You can’t even buy a slice, only a pie.” He said that the phrase is based on a Seinfeld episode and has no racial implications.
Many in Far Rockaway don’t have enough food, the kids have no channel for the arts or basketball courts, and shootings happen weekly, according to Mr. Blaise. Yet he noticed developers remain committed to ignoring these issues, instead trying to turn it into “Brooklyn Beach” where “hipster surfers” can buy expensive beer and hotel rooms.
And Sean Blaise isn’t the only one who’s pissed.
The website Queens Crap focuses on “the overdevelopment and ‘tweeding’ of the Borough of Queens in the City of New York.” Another organization called Rockaway Wildfire, based on community activism after Sandy, has an anti-gentrification flair and quoted “The Peril of Hipster Economics” by Al Jazeera English writer Sarah Kendzior on their Facebook page.
“Urban decay becomes a set piece to be remodeled or romanticized,” according to Ms. Kendzior’s Hipster Economics. “Gentrifiers can bask in ‘urban life’ —the storied history, the selective nostalgia, the carefully sprinkled grit—while avoiding responsibility to those they displaced.”
But these kings of Queens won’t watch Rockaway drown.
“We know to plant the seeds in the pot, and we plotting our ascension to power.”