Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, April 07, 2021

“The Geography of Buzz” is a scholarly exercise in creating heatmaps of Manhattan and Los Angeles based upon the greatest concentrations of creative-arts cultural happenings in both towns.

The results? For all the lip service this study devotes to Richard Florida’s “Creative Class” theory, it actually confines itself to a very narrow and conventional definition of “buzz”:

The researchers quickly found clusters around celebrated locations: the Kodak Theater, where the Oscars are held, for example, or Times Square. “Certain places do become iconic, and they become the branded spaces to do that stuff,” [researcher Elizabeth] Currid said. “It’s hard to start a new opera house or a new theater district if you already have a Carnegie Hall or a Lincoln Center.”

That the buzzy locales weren’t associated with the artistic underground was a quirk of the data set — there were not enough events in Brooklyn to be statistically significant — and of timing. “If we took a snapshot two years from now, the Lower East Side would become a much larger place in how we understand New York,” Ms. Currid said.

But mostly the data helped show the continued dominance of the mainstream news media as a cultural gatekeeper, and the never-ending cycle of buzz in the creative world.

“There’s an economy of scale,” Ms. Currid said. “The media goes to places where they know they can take pictures that sell. And the people in these fields show up because the media is there.”

I don’t necessarily disagree with the value assigned to the mainstream news media here. But it also tells me that this research wasn’t particularly deep — they merely collated press clippings of various venues and locations, and dubbed that as buzzworthy. In fact, that’s almost exactly wrong, if you define “buzz” as bleeding-edge fare. By the time something gets established and mature enough to make it to Lincoln Center or the like, it’s no longer cool-kids material — it’s been commoditized to a large degree and becomes part of the mainstream.

Pretty thin premise for sociological insight. All this proves is that Florida’s creative-class methodology works great at pumping up small and mid-size cities that have a couple of bonafide arts centers to brag about; when applied to real cosmopolitan metros alike New York and LA, it pendantically “reveals” the obvious, above-ground venues.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 04/07/2021 07:53:08 PM
Category: Creative, New Yorkin', Science, Society
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If it was important enough for someone to put it on cardboard and tape it up, then it was important enough for me to cameraphone and add to the Flickr-stream.

Here’s what reads at this parking lot with the automated gate on 2nd Street in the East Village, in apostrophe-less verbatim:

PLEASE OIL THIS GATE
The noise is excessive and constant. Its driving everyone crazy!!

I’ve seen the gate slide open and closed more than once, but I can’t say I’ve ever noticed an especially grating amount of noise to come out of it. I guess I’m lucky to be safely out of earshot.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 04/07/2021 01:38:54 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Photography
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