Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Kensington in TONY, Reporter is kind of a jerk

So we've gotten, oh, I dunno, about 670 emails about Kensington getting showcased in Time Out New York last week. We agreed at first that it was a nice article that more or less captured the overall feel of the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, the same guy who wrote the article disagrees.

In a separate piece written a couple days later for an 'edgy' news blog called The Exiled, this guy claims to have knowingly written what he considers an inaccurate representation of the neighborhood for Time Out New York.
I filed a smoothed over narrative of what I saw—Bengalis, Hispanics and Hasids, chattering away amongst themselves in ancient dialects. I left out the trash filled yards, chop shops and nasty eyed stares from the locals. But a questioning email came back from my editor: where are the boutiques, cafes and charming restaurants? My answer, that there weren’t any, didn’t cut it with him.
You'll notice he doesn't claim to have written an article preaching the truth about what he saw only to be denied by his editor. He fully admits to distorting what he saw, presumably because while he objects to the existence of the Real Estate Hype Machine, he doesn't mind profiting from it. Journalistic integrity, it seems, is in short supply at the Harvey Estate.

He goes on to persecute a similar article that ran in the Daily News a couple weeks ago, citing Kensington as a best-value neighborhood. I'm sure most of you remember it, and the fact that it mentioned this here blog. Although we were very appreciative of the exposure, the article characterized us as a "local watchdog", which I don't think we have ever tried to be. Matt Harvey took issue with this, and us, as well.
Even without the rebrand, The Daily News piece is dubious. It reads in part, “The neighborhood also has its own watchdog. Two friends run kensingtonbrooklynblog.com to monitor growth…” When I was scrambling for a cluster of hipsters to write about for Time Out, I had breathed a sigh of relief on finding a post on the very same. Entitled “where the cool kids go,” it seemed just what I needed to write about the alternative Kensington. The cool kids were all at “Jerbar,” a brand new hipster bar with a “speakeasy vibe,” right smack in the middle of Church Avenue’s Bengal grocers. It took me about a minute to realize that Jerbar was a turgid fantasia cooked up by the overzealous anonymous flaks [sic] behind the site. The bar doesn’t exist.
Matt, a simple click into the comment section would have revealed the truth: that Jerbar turned out to be an inside joke within the Yelp community and had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with this site. As far as anonymous and overzealous, our names are all over the comments area, and I personally don't recall showing even one iota of zeal about anything in my entire life, much less an overabundance of it vis-à-vis Kensington. Oh, and what in the hell is a 'flak'?

The problem here isn't that we're insulted. Matt Harvey can feel free to call us as many misappropriated words as he likes. But one thing we can't brook is hypocrisy, and in this case, his knows no bounds. Matt, if you were that insulted by the assignment, you shouldn't have cashed your check. Since you did, you should have kept your mouth shut about it in other media.

If you're annoyed, feel free to contact the editors at TONY at letters@timeoutny.com to let them know they should be wary about procuring Matt Harvey's services again. There's no place in the world of journalism for a guy that can't even stand up for his beliefs. While you're at it, let them know that Kensington may not be perfect, but no one here is interested in trying to fleece TONY readers into thinking so.

For reference, the Exiled piece in its entirety is reproduced right here. We refuse to link to either of the pieces in question.