I was alerted to this accolade when my brother-in-law posted the list on Facebook so he could gloat that his L.A. ‘hood of Silver Lake was deemed hippest in the land, at which notion I immediately scoffed. Because Forbes? Really? That’s where you look for confirmation of your hipster cred?
But then I scrolled through the list, and saw that there, in the thirteenth position, was a photo of two icons I could hit with a rock from my house: the North Park sign straddling University Avenue, and the Birch North Park Theater. I ignored the irony of the prominently featured Starbucks in the picture, and commenced digitally chanting “WE’RE NUMBER 13! WE’RE NUMBER 13!” via my own Facebook status.
Then I started wondering what the author of the list had meant by "hipster neighborhoods." Was Forbes really impressed by the number of young adults with ill-fitting pants and fixed-gear bikes in North Park? Was I? My ambivalence about the term "hipster" and the slippery connotations behind it sent me back into the article, looking for an explanation of its methodology.
It turns out that the criteria for the list were a bit more substantive than the cliché of skinny jeans and Pabst Blue Ribbon (which the author nonetheless mentioned). They took into account things like walkability, coffee shops, food trucks, farmers markets, locally owned bars and restaurants, and the percentage of residents who work in artistic occupations.
Last Sunday, after my wife brought home her haul from the Hillcrest Farmers Market, we walked with the kids to the Bud Kearns pool at Morley Field and splashed around for a couple hours. After that, we walked over to Babycakes by the tennis courts and scarfed down locally owned pastries while watching some doubles tournament action. Hey, I thought, we’re hipsters!