The Four Horsemen of Gentrification.
BY ZAIN KHALID
Illustration by Francisco Baudizzone
[Originally published November 3, 2015.]
Then I saw when the Landlord broke one of the rent-controlled seals. I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, “Gentrify.” I looked, and behold, a green horse, and he who sat on it had a mason jar; and a fedora was his crown, and he went out pickling and to pickle.
— Millennials 6:1, New Standard Greenpoint Bible (NSGB)
Greenpoint biblical scholars from the early 21st century were the first to interpret this horseman as not only the emergence of artisanal pickle shops, but of all unnecessary goods. It is said that after Brine visits your village, products will be made out of coconut oil for no reason whatsoever. The horse’s green color represents the thousands of dollars that will soon be wasted on items like serrano pepper dishwashing liquid.
When He broke the second seal, another, a horse with tortoise shell glasses went out; and to the rider it was granted to take peace from the newly acronym-ed neighborhood, and that men would drolly insult one another; and a great Twitter account was given to him.
— Millennials 6:2, NSGB
Snark is thought to make his first appearance at a house party with a DJ who is “the truth,” where people say Vice showed up, even though Vice probably did not show up. Chalkboards will materialize outside of local stores as if from thin air, and they will have written on them a quote from Bill Murray or a reference to the chalkboard itself in an attempt to be what the experts call “meta.” Residents will be mocked for their inability to taste notes of stone fruit in single-origin Ugandan espresso.
The third seal was broken by Him, and verily there was a horse the color of poached egg; he who sat on it had a food and cocktail menu in his hands. And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of mimosas for Denise, and three bellinis for Kyle; but do not separate the hollandaise.”
— Millennials 6:3, NSGB
There are those who believe Brunch to be the most destructive of the horsemen. Once he takes hold, an underage girl will line the streets with vomit because she heard once that tomato juice cancels out vodka. Brunch is often followed by the demon Tapas who ensures appetites are never more than whet. Wine will be served out of thimbles and all will despair.
When the Landlord broke the fourth and final seal, a ravenous horse emerged; and he who sat on it had the name Whole Foods; and Urban Outfitters was with him. Authority was given to them over the remaining area, to kill with overpriced chicken breast and with Vampire Weekend vinyls and with alpine-style cheeses and by the small dogs of the purse.
— Millennials 6:4, NSGB
As Whole Foods arrives, hope departs. Ethnic restaurants will be replaced with half an aisle dedicated to “international ingredients.” Greek will be the only variety of yogurt and the quality of kale will be as high as the rent for an alcove studio. Lana Del Rey will be elected to the city’s council. There will be a great migration of former residents to more affordable housing. As they are loading their U-Hauls, one of them, a man without a ukulele, will look to the heavens and ask “Why?” He will hear the voice whisper a single word: “Kombucha.”
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