New York Hearts Wisconsin?

Mike Paulus, photos by Leah Dunbar

Big thanks to As Seen in Wisconsin for the tip off to a great opinion piece written by Megan L. Wood for The Awl. It’s called It's Cute That New York is Slowly Catching Up with Wisconsin. She says ...

When I moved from Wisconsin to the Lower East Side in January, I quickly discovered my deep Midwest roots were very uncool. After a few smirks and condescending remarks about how I must be feeling “culture shock” in the big city, I learned not to broadcast the fact that I was raised and educated in, as our license plates proudly proclaim, America’s Dairyland.

It wasn’t always easy. When my date at Max Fish ordered a can of PBR, I didn’t tell him that my grandpa and his VFW friends considered it treason to drink anything that hadn’t been bottled in Milwaukee. When my neighbor wore a Green Bay Packer jersey over her skinny jeans, I kept quiet about the fact that my father, like all decent men born and bred in Wisconsin, owned a small piece of the team. And when a photographer at a birthday party in Brooklyn patiently explained to me how she recently canned garlic scapes, I refrained from sharing my mother’s recipe for pepper jelly.

But what a year! With Bon Iver’s second Wisconsin-recorded album in heavy hipster rotation and Chad Harbach’s Wisconsin-set The Art of Fielding on seemingly every Kindle on the L train, a strange realization occurred to me: Instead of leaving my tiny hometown in central Wisconsin to live in the white-hot center of cool, I could have just stayed in Waupaca (population 6,265) and churned out Styles section pieces for the New York Times until the cows came home—because, literally, there are cows down the street from the house. Without even trying, it seems, I was born in the coolest place on earth—and now everyone is trying to catch up.

– The Awl, 9/22/11

Wood goes on to cover cornholing, cheese curding, canoeing, and deer hunting – activities with which she says New York(City)ers seem to be fascinated.

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