'New Yorker' Writers Are 'Brooklyn' Writers Too! The Self-Loathing Gentrifier and Friends Launch Borough Glossy

If you think a Brooklyn magazine that was not made out of your friend’s Bushwick garage with an antique letterpress is for arriviste poseurs, prepare to hate Brooklyn Magazine, a  quarterly published by the team behind the freebie listings pamphlet The L Magazine, which launches today.

For some, the magazine’s professions of borough cred will seem a stretch.

“The advantage we have coming out of The L Magazine is that all of us were living here, growing up with Brooklyn as writers and photographers and critics,” L and Brooklyn editor Johnny Diamond told The Observer last week, as they sent the first issue to print.  “We’re not just coming in late to the scene and exploiting the ‘international brand of Brooklyn’–an expression I find dodgy, at best.”

But so what! The thing is already profitable. None of the first issue’s ads, which include Brooklyn Brewery, Harper Collins, Corcoran Real Estate, and more, were comped and the magazine’s editorial manpower comes from The L Magazine staff. They “cobbled together some extra hours and upped their freelance budget,” according to Mr. Diamond.

The magazine seems designed to appeal to another demographic of free-spending Brooklynites: the comfortable Brownstoners, many of whom already subscribe to a slew of print publications largely written by Brooklyn residents anyway.

The first issue includes a Q & A with cover candy Michael Pitt, who has lived in Brooklyn for 16 years (who knew?). There’s fiction by Helen Phillips and poetry by Megan O’Rourke, plus features on the architecture of Ditmas Park and a forgotten neighborhood on the border of Brooklyn and Queens called The Hole.

Shelter porn and foodie porn figure prominently. A recurring photo essay will follow a Brooklyn restaurant chef from the farmer’s market to the kitchen to plating. Jason Marcus at Traif has the first honor. Another will drop by the domiciles of well-heeled Brooklynites, starting with Jen Menkins, owner of the Bird boutiques.

While an army of bloggers covers much of this territory, residents still need “the kind of content that you’ll be happy to have your coffee table,” as Mr. Diamond put it.

“There’s so much Brooklyn ephemera a day, we want to take stock of the borough each season and talk to the people who are interesting and smart and who are doing beautiful things,” he said.

But can one cover Brooklyn without falling into boosterism?

“The whole thing is a minefield, to be honest,” admitted Mr. Diamond.

Perhaps this will help: New Yorker editor Ben Greenman will have a column called the “Self-Loathing Gentrifier.”

kstoeffel@observer.com :: @kstoeffel

'New Yorker' Writers Are 'Brooklyn' Writers Too! The Self-Loathing Gentrifier and Friends Launch Borough Glossy