Thursday, January 15, 2009
"Brooklyn" - The Millennials Are In
This morning I was listening to my favorite NPR news program, when I heard a little blurb about a new perfume called "Brooklyn." "A New York perfume company is about to launch a new fragrance named after Brooklyn, a borough not always associated with expensive scents. Brooklyn the perfume will be sold in a graffiti-covered bottle to evoke some of the hard-edged reputation of its namesake, the New York Post reports. But the contents combine grapefruit, cardamom, cypress, cedar and leather, not the scent of the Gowanus Canal or the sea breezes of Coney Island."
Well, I already knew about Brooklyn and had seen its graffiti-covered bottle because my son Andrew had shown me an image of it and told me it was designed by his former college and Brooklyn roommate, Shawn Lovejoy. I am so proud of Shawn and Andrew and all of their friends. They represent an entirely new generation that is nothing less than the hope of our country's and maybe the world's future: the Millennials. I know this is a big statement to say over a perfume bottle, even one as wacky as "Brooklyn." But this is just the tip of the iceberg. I have been following my own children's generation through their friends and associations, and was so impressed by everything I saw that I wrote a story on them called "The Kids from Cleveland." The more I studied these "kids," the more I was sure they were special, and then I discovered a growing literature about the "Millennial Generation."
I believe profoundly in the importance of Generations and generational politics and change. I am a Boomer, which I am proud of, although we do have some problems. There was the Greatest Generation of our parents, who got the country through the Great Depression and World War II. There was the brilliant Founding Generation of Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, John Adams and George Washington and many others who helped launch this country at the end of the 18th Century.
The Millennials are unique in that they have been shaped by the Age of Globalization, of Information. They are focused on image and style. If I ever publish that article on the Kids, you will get the full story. I can't lay it on you here. But congratulations Shawn. Congratulations also to their other roommate Jed Holtz, who is working now with Emeril on his new "green" TV cooking show. And congratulations for Andrew, who goes by the professional name Bad Brilliance, and has been at the center of this very creative bunch of young people striving to express themselves, who also represent a kinder, gentler vision of our future. If our county is going through a generational shift, and I believe the election of Barack Obama is all about generational change, then the shift is towards these kids. I feel good about that.
I am not alone in seeing the future here. The following was written in "Now Smell This: A blog of perfume," and posted by Robin, who runs the site:
"Brooklyn is changing. New York’s legendary city within a city, home to a century or more of strivers, dreamers, and Nobel laureates, is reinventing itself, neighborhood by neighborhood, as an edgy metropolis. Sure, for a while there Brooklyn was a necessary second choice for the real estate-challenged Millennials seeking affordable rents and more square footage than formidable Manhattan could offer. But now— a whole new story. Today’s Brooklyn is preferable to a new generation of artistic émigrés. This is where the artists and musicians choose to move. It’s home to graffiti-ists, gaffers, and key grips, to web designers and aspiring editors. This is where fashion stylists live. New York-bound hip-and-cool Seattle-ites prefer to move to Brooklyn; smart Stockholmers book their hotel rooms here."
Brooklyn is.... the new Greenwich Village?