So there are Nazi-lite, swastika-displaying skinheads among the youth of the heavily Polish north Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint, photographed by a talented young photographer and naively reported on by Gawker. Yesterday I called the New York Police Department’s 94th Precinct a couple times to ask if the cops were aware of a cadre in their neighborhood who ostensibly subscribe to an ideology of ethnic hatred and violent vigilantism; I was told they had no press agent, and the dispatcher said he didn’t know what I was talking about and put me on a line that just kept ringing. Fair enough: the NYPD has more important things to do, like spy on 19-year-old Muslims at Syracuse.
The photographer, Adam Krause, has evidently decided to take the photographs down and direct people who wish to admire his work to the skinhead scene from Curb Your Enthusiasm. It’s in keeping with the tone of the Gawker post, by Danny Gold, who says in the comments that he’s the grandkid of Holocaust survivors. I’m sure Gold has already had Jan Gross thrown at him by readers who noticed his assertion that these people are “confusing polish nationalism with anti-Semitism.” More bothersome is his unwillingness to judge (“misguided Polish youth”) or even tread too heavily. I’m not sure why we’re not allowed to be bothered by these anti-Semitic assholes—is it a gentrification thing? a they’re-too-stupid-to-hate-them thing? Krause cites Curb, so I’ll throw Seinfeld back at him: “She’s a Nazi, George! A Nazi!”
Judging from his blog, which is too-modestly titled “Today I Photographed Nothing,” Krause is one of those people who make New York the undeniably best city in the world: somebody who came from the provinces to the big city to pursue his dream. I consider myself such a person, too. And he got it: he used his considerable skill to document an important story and arguably create compelling art. The fact that he doesn’t see that his subjects stand against all of that, and is willing to accommodate them in their beliefs, is really, really sad.
The Neo-Nazis of Hipster Brooklyn [Gawker]
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.