October 10, 2019

"The fortunes of the Bucks and Brewers are followed in unpretentious taverns that wouldn’t feel out of place on a rural crossroads, and traditional meat-and-potato eateries are as patronized as the latest farm-to-table restaurant."

From "36 Hours in Milwaukee/Welcome to this small town in big-city clothing, where bobbleheads, ice-cream cocktails and Frank Lloyd Wright are on your weekend itinerary" (NYT).

It gets my attention — any elite media attention to the middle-of-the-country state where I've lived for the last 35 years. These "36 Hours in" articles in the NYT present the place they've chosen to swoop in on to intrigue New Yorkers... not that they'd want to move there.

And yet it makes me imagine that New Yorkers... some New Yorkers... yearn for a life in a smaller city where the unpretentious taverns feel (to a New Yorker) like a place that could exist on a rural crossroads and where the teams could be the Bucks and Brewers. Are there New Yorkers like that?

Actually, I think there are New York City bars like that. I'm reading "Where [in NYC] to Root for Non-New York Baseball Teams":
Some teams have gotten so much unexpected popularity that their New York supporters have even been written up in their hometown paper. Kettle of Fish, at 59 Christopher St., was once home to beat poets like Jack Kerouac. When the place was bought by Milwaukee native Patrick Daley in the 1980s, it became a haven for Packers and Brewers fans, even getting its own writeup in Madison Magazine.

60 comments:

rhhardin said...

Some of us don't go to taverns at all.

rehajm said...

It doesn't take much to become a New Yorker. In contrast, you don't become a Vermonter by moving to Vermont. If you weren't born in Vermont you are always and forever a flatlander. Not so with New York, if you move there- voila! A new New Yorker. New York is overpopulated with people who came from those quaint places NYT likes to disparage. Those New Yorkers like to read the stories of disparagement then seek out bars where other people from home like to mingle.

Got it...

daskol said...

Unpretentious taverns full of Brewers supporters sounds ok. Certainly better than bars full of Massholes rooting for the RedSox or Patriots, or Euros and wannabes watching soccer. With the early morning soccer games, some of these places do dirty double-duty.

tcrosse said...

Are there New Yorkers like that?

Brooklyn and Queens are full of them.

MadisonMan said...

The NYTimes simply can't imagine that a meat-and-potatoes eatery is getting its fare straight from a farm.

Titus said...

Love the article. Everything is so cheap. The hotel rooms are the price of dinner in Boston. Our hotel rooms start at 500 a night-our hotels are some of the most expensive in the country Milwaukee sounds so cute.

MadisonMan said...

I try to recall if I've ever heard it referred to as "Smallwaukee" I don't think so.

Rocketeer said...

Those articles always have a "nobility-playing-at-peasants" vibe that is simultaneously offensively condescending and hilarious...

Tony said...

Before they all moved out, the ethnic enclaves in the outer boroughs were like that.

Mattman26 said...

“Patronized” is right.

Danno said...

Ann, don't you ever get sick of these sanctimonious assholes' air of superiority?

David Begley said...

What about the Marquette Warriors and Wisconsin Badgers?

Shouting Thomas said...

Just returned home from a trip back to my teeny-tiny hometown in Illinois.

Might as well have been Mayberry, RFD. Great place for kids to grow up. They can ride their bikes all over town and fend for themselves in absolute safety.

I fled for Chicago and San Francisco and, ultimately, for New York City. I'm a "fancy" guy, all about music and art and posh jobs.

To live in my hometown, you have to be a jack of all trades. Being a specialist doesn't cut it. You can buy a house for under $50,000, but finding a cash job is a struggle. It's works best if you can repair your own car and house, hunt and fish to put food on the table, grow a big garden and can food. Self-sufficiency is a must, unless you've got one of the few government jobs.

hawkeyedjb said...

When I lived in Milwaukee, there was just such a tavern around the corner. It had a big sign out front with the word OPEN, and below it the word FOOD. I don't remember the name of the place, but it never mattered. My wife or I would just ask, "Do you want to go to Open Food for the fish fry?"

hawkeyedjb said...

"I try to recall if I've ever heard it referred to as "Smallwaukee""

No, but if you've lived in or near the city, you know it's correctly pronounced "M'waukee"

rehajm said...

On cue Titus arrives to support my point...

Gabriel said...

How can you go to Milwaukee, a town that is only 37% white, and only mention Frank Lloyd Wright, bobbleheads, white celebrities, brandy Old Fashioneds, Schlitz, a Cathlolic basilica, and Serbian dining?

How do your accompanying photographs fail to show a single non-white face?

What the hell New York Times? visitmilwaukee.org tells you all about Black Milwaukee with helpful suggestions about what to see.

But the Times reports on Milwaukee like the last 50 years of population migration never happened.

rhhardin said...

In local sports, I remember the Buckeyes fired Woody Hayes but don't know what happened after that. There's an arch-rivalry with Michigan but I couldn't say what school in Michigan. There's a bulge and quiet corresponding to whatever game that is at Kroger every year. You never know which phase you'll hit.

I competed in some track meet in Michigan but don't know where. They had very high sulfur in the water in the showers, is all I remember.

Life of sports, who watches this stuff division.

rhhardin said...

Baseball was good, on the radio, in the style of Ernie Harwell and Paul Carey. It has a rhythm and seeks no attention and fades in and out at night. I could never say what team they were playing.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Another day, another attempt to gin up hatred between our fellow Americans. Can there be a more futile way to spend one's time?

rhhardin said...

Being a specialist doesn't cut it.

Specialization depends on a large market. That's why there aren't isolated rich small towns. The secret to wealth creating is specialize and trade for what you need. That's possible because your output is worth much less to you than to your customer, so there's a huge area for mutual profit. Mutual profit is new wealth.

If there's no market, you can't specialize, and everybody has to make their own shoes.

CJinPA said...

My free NY Times clicks are scarce, so I'm afraid I just have to wonder if Milwaukee gets what George Will calls the "Gorillas in the Mist" treatment: urbane reporter peering through the bushes, chronicling the movements of odd, non-coastal beings.

Greg Hlatky said...

Ann, don't you ever get sick of these sanctimonious assholes' air of superiority?

In particular, the HR asshole that comments here.

Big Mike said...

Leave it to a New Yorker to overlook the Packers in nearby Green Bay.

Ann Althouse said...

"Our hotel rooms start at 500 a night-our hotels are some of the most expensive in the country Milwaukee sounds so cute."

Oh, bullshit. The Westin in Copley Plaza is $226 a night. You have to go to the Four Seasons to get a place that wants $500 from you for a night.

BTW, we paid over $500 for one of our nights in Boulder, Colorado. It's just supply and demand. Maybe it was a football home game or something.

Nichevo said...


Danno said...
Ann, don't you ever get sick of these sanctimonious assholes' air of superiority?

10/10/19, 7:35 AM


No. Never ever ever. The funny thing is that I vaguely remember her doing a post on the Desiderata, but if she ever actually read it, I think either she or it would have started to char and hiss and smoke.

daskol said...

Greenpoint is the most meat and potatoes part of NYC. Stubbornly Polish enclave with cafeteria style old school joints and newfangled Polish places that give a nod to the gentrifier’s taste for authentic but clean kielbasa and pierogies. The neighborhood Italian-American red sauce and baked clams plac, which every area has at least one of, is the closest ethnic-American unpretentious analogue to what the NYT writers fawn over in Milwaukee. Menus and in some cases prices barely changed in 40 often 60+ years. Very rarely does a food writer fawn over these but when they do the articles read like this one: food/culture anthropologists addressing the assumed but unmentioned question of why anyone who go there anymore. There are other ethnic enclave holdouts like Sammy’s Roumanian steakhouse or a couple German places in Yorkville but like much of Manhattan’s Chinatown they’ve gone kitsch.

Ann Althouse said...

"We could charge $500 a night for bed and breakfast here at Meadhouse, but we don't want to. We prefer to keep it to ourselves>

Meade just said.

daskol said...

It appears Titus hasn’t booked a hotel locally since Airbnb changed everything.

Ann Althouse said...

""I try to recall if I've ever heard it referred to as "Smallwaukee"""

Yeah, I'm sure I've never heard it before. Why would anyone around here say that? You call you're local place something that expresses how you feel about, not how outsiders look at it!

Seeing Red said...

My daughter went to Boston for work. Said the food is outrageously expensive. NYC expensive. I expect seafood to be more expensive here since it’s flown in daily. We were wrong.

Howard said...

The interesting thing is that you all care so much over how you care less about New York

rehajm said...

Keep in mind Titus is Cambridge, not Boston. It’s even cheaper in Cambridge. You’d have to work at it to drop five bills on a room...

Bruce Hayden said...

“And yet it makes me imagine that New Yorkers... some New Yorkers... yearn for a life in a smaller city where the unpretentious taverns feel (to a New Yorker) like a place that could exist on a rural crossroads and where the teams could be the Bucks and Brewers. Are there New Yorkers like that?”

Then there is rural.

A couple days ago, I met with a friend in the local cafe. We have fancier places to eat in town. And even a decent Chinese restaurant, but this close to the Canadian border, there is, alas, no Mexican food. This is where they serve the heart stopping food, and the biggest omelette I have ever eaten (only when family comes to town to visit). We were doing business - I was buying a membership to a gun club. I had pulled out an unfinished AR-10 lower in a jig, and got some interest from a couple of the guys there. But that wasn’t the interesting part.

The guy I met with is the gregarious type, and had a good memory for faces. It seemed like he knew half the people who walked by us. Some didn’t recognize him, since he had recently shaved his beard. Bowling, church, Search and Rescue, etc. Everyone knows everyone, and most were concerned about their health. He hooked someone’s granddaughter up with his daughter who tutors Chinese in English across the Internet. A young waitress told us a recent story about running into his son in law, who had just joined the PD. She didn’t recognize him in uniform, and he (the SIL) reminded her by bringing up an instance of her daughter losing a shoe at his house. On and on. We were engrossed in talking, and almost walked out without paying. When I noticed, we heard a call from the back about sending XXXX (his SIL) out to arrest him. We left, but not before talking to two other groups of people by the time we got to our trucks. Overall, we were together drinking coffee, etc for maybe an hour and a half, when our business probably could have been done over the phone in 10 minutes.

Everyone seems to know everyone. There is a lot of gossip, but it is kindly gossip - health issues, kids, grandkids, etc. Once they see you around a bit, pretty much everyone treats you like a friend. My partner hates everyone knowing our business, she is very private, as is her mother. It doesn’t seem to bother me. It seems very much like living in ethnic enclaves in big cities, as portrayed on TV.

As for sports, the majority support the Seahawks, a large number the Broncos, and a smattering for the rest of the NFL. No one gets really upset, nor are the rivalries that intense. College, it is of course, the (Montana) Grizz, though there is some enthusiasm for Gonzaga in basketball. High school sports are, of course, big, esp since everyone knows most of the players.

We will soon be heading back to the big city for half the year, and frankly are not looking forward to it in the least. The only stop lights in the county here are for road construction (and since Road Construction Season ended last month, that means that we won’t see one until maybe June). In AZ, there are two stop lights before the Walmart maybe four blocks away. Here, the speed limit on the highways is 70-75, but 25 in town. And it is enforced. In AZ, on the road with those two stoplights, it is 45 and not enforced very well. We are going to miss rural MT a lot.

AvoCat said...

In 1982 the Brewers and Cards were in the World Series. A coastal paper
called St Louis and Milwaukee "two equally dreary beery cities."

MadisonMan said...

M'waukee

Yup.
Gabriel, the NYTimes is fundamentally a racist organization.

chickelit said...

Titus could easily get $500/per night for his fab Boston loft as an airbnb. But you'd need to bring your own UV lamp to check all the fabric surfaces.

chickelit said...

What the hell New York Times? visitmilwaukee.org tells you all about Black Milwaukee with helpful suggestions about what to see.

The black vote is already in the bag for the NYT, so why the hell would anyone travel to those parts? This story is about easing the way for New Yorkers curious about deplorable Swing Voters -- what they do, how they live, what they like, etc. Someone should issue a book called "Let's Go M'waukee" which rates all the Airbnbs, tells you who and what are NYC-friendly. Hordes of New Yorkers will be descending on that fair city in the coming months. It will be the DNC Convention City.

Tim said...

Bruce- no love for the Bobcats?

Ann Althouse said...

Are people glad the Dodgers are out of it?

I like seeing the middle-of-the-country teams take over, but the Nationals are not that (except to the extent that I think they represent the Brewers).

Glad to see the Cardinals. I switched to them after the Brewers were out. It would have been fun to see the Cardinals defeat the Dodgers but I was happy to see their crushing defeat last night.

iowan2 said...

Bruce H gave an accurate picture of small town.

Everyone knows everybody. Always a quick word, check up on family, elder parent? College grad get job yet? Did you hit the blip to market some grain last month? Still wanting to rent out that house?
It is considered rude, to ignore someone and not engage them. When the spouse and I go out for supper, we sometimes pick a place we think will have fewer people I know, because we just want to be alone. Maybe 1/4 the time we will be joined, or join up, for super by someone we know. That's a feature, not a bug. YMMV

rehajm said...

My daughter went to Boston for work. Said the food is outrageously expensive.

Any restaurant in Boston has the headwind of amazingly high rents. Labor costs are high- it’s not cheap to live here or commute here. The trade unions- your build out is going to take three times as long as they say and three times the cost, all while you carry that rent. Want a liquor license? You pay the six figures for someone else’s or to get a new one you have to work the system then stuff a bra with a few grand in hundreds for a local lackey with expensive national political ambitions. So yah your food is gonna cost you.

The upside for the industry is patrons who don’t have to worry about the price of the check, the gift of generous expense accounts and sometimes a weak dollar vs the home currency. God help the rest of ya...

Shouting Thomas said...

I was rooting for a Cubs/Yankees series.

Wait till next year.

I'm sorry to see Joe Maddon go. He was fun to read about and a great interview.

Grateful Dead fan. Had a sense of humor about the game. Just refused to get into the "You must win or die!" outlook the media tried to push on him.

BarrySanders20 said...

Tom Barrett smiles. His Hop got its props in the NYT. That alone is worth the tens of millions of dollars in costs! (It just passed by. One rider.)

The article is not pretentious. It is actually quite good, if superficial, for only spending 36 hours and never having been here before.

Michael K said...

In AZ, on the road with those two stoplights, it is 45 and not enforced very well.

In Tucson, enforcement seems to have stopped. Twenty years ago, the cops were pretty serious about traffic. AZ used to even have sneak speed cameras when Napolitano was Gov. Of course, if you had a CA license plate, you got a lot of attention. When my daughter started U of A, the first thing I did was get her car reregistered in AZ.

Now, speeding is wild. Tucson seems to be the accident capital of the west. Tucson has quite a bit of crime, all south of us, fortunately, so maybe they are too busy. There is a sanctuary city ballot proposition so maybe crime will get even worse. Leftists run the city, of course. We are just outside.

robother said...

What I saw with the Dodgers last night confirmed my impressions from watching Rockies-Dodgers games the last 2 years. Kershaw and Jansen are vulnerable (hell, Roberts couldn't even go to Kenly in the highest leverage 10th inning). Building a team around "three true outcomes" is a great regular season strategy, especially in April and May where you can rack up wins even against good teams before their pitchers get going, but in post season against best pitching, not so much.

But the Dodgers have their NL leading 106 wins, so Bill James is happy.

tommyesq said...

Keep in mind Titus is Cambridge, not Boston. It’s even cheaper in Cambridge. You’d have to work at it to drop five bills on a room...

Actually, Cambridge is in the midst of a boom - at least as far as office space goes, downtown Boston is now quite a bit cheaper than Kendall Square.

stevew said...

The tone of that article sounds as if the author has gone to the zoo and is asking directions for the great ape and lion exhibits.

rehajm is right, i'd add that demand is consistently high for dinner tables in Boston, contributing to the high cost. And remember: only tourists wait in line at Mike's Pastry. You can get great seafood at a reasonable price at Giacomo's in the North End. Cash only and respect the queue.

Ken B said...

When they talk about $500 rooms that is code for “Milwaukee is better than you think, ie more like New York”

Gahrie busts the NYT totally here. And Althouse about the hotels. So again, when you read an article about something you know about you find it is bullshit. I find that all the time. Remember Gell-Mann amnesia! They don’t just bullshit about what you know about, they bullshit about everything.

walter said...

BarrySanders20 said...Tom Barrett smiles. His Hop got its props in the NYT. That alone is worth the tens of millions of dollars in costs! (It just passed by. One rider.)
--
They got carjacked.

tommyesq said...

So again, when you read an article about something you know about you find it is bullshit.

Also, remember that when you turn the page and read an article about something you know little about, there is a pretty high likelihood that it too will be bullshit.

Giovan Pietro Bellori said...

Milwaukee is the most underrated city in the US.

Giovan Pietro Bellori said...

And yes Cambridge is expensive. It’s been a long long time since it wasn’t.

Giovan Pietro Bellori said...

The Schroeder makes an appearance in the charming story of Boudreaux and Felice Bryant in Ken Burns’ Country Music documentary.

DavidUW97 said...

1) I regularly travel to Boston for work and yes, the hotels, even crappy ones are quite often $500/night. The variability in Boston hotel rates is extreme due to limited supply and massive swings in demand (Red Sox game, college events). Boston hotels are regularly more expensive than manhattan

2) I grew up in mwaukee. No one ever referred to it as Smallwaukee. Not then, not among my friends who still live there. That’s a pure fabrication/lie.

3) the city has 600,000 people, 1 million with the nearby burbs. 3/4 the population of SF proper in the city. It’s not small.

Titus said...

FYI Cambridge’s commercial rents are highest in the country. Thank biotech and Kendall square.

Titus said...

265 is off season hon. Come in the summer

Leora said...

When my father-in-law was alive we went many times to meat and potato restaurants in the Chelsea area of Manhattan. I just noticed a new steak houses in Tudor City (near the UN and Grand Central) when I was there a few weeks ago. Meanwhile I can purchase most exotic cuisines I can think of in the Poconos or South Florida. I think New Yorkers get more and more provincial every year. They need to get out more.

Skylark said...

I lived in an area that got the New York Times treatment in a travel, and the most beautiful property never got a mention, propably because the owner was openly Republican. They never relent. They did their readers a disservice. Made me wonder if any of them ever showed up based on the piece, saw the place, and said “WTF, Why did they leave this lovely place out?” But I know that any such Times readers visiting probably figured it was some mistake of perception on their part and that their eyes were deceiving them because the Times would never mislead them!

Skylark said...

I remember when we called Sumerville, MA “Slummerville,” Try to find a house under a million! OK, slight exaggeration. Even Malden is gentrifying now. There are a lot of really good restaurants in Cambridge, The Donkey, Craigie on Main,... that my millennial kids like, but I like the German restaurant with the long wooden tables whose name I forget. I just tell my daughter “That German place."