Beatrice Inn Provides Valuable Sociology Lesson

The University of Sevigny.
The University of Sevigny. Photo: Yun Cee Ng

At some point in your undergrad days, you were probably introduced to the twin concepts of gemeinschaft (community) and gesellschaft (society). If you weren’t, you may have been introduced to it while standing in line at the Beatrice Inn. Such is the melancholy realization of blogger Jeremiah Moss at Vanishing New York. As articulated by sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies, the tragedy of the modern world was the dissolution of communities into an ocean of self-interested particles living together in a heartless and abstract society. And could there be a better vision of this than citizens of Astoria and Secaucus jostling in line, attempting to gain entry to the Beatrice? As he ponders the atomization of the bar crowd, Moss uses the word “Vongerichtenization,” crediting it to Hunter College professor Frank Kirkland. The phrase refers to Jean George Vongerichten’s restaurants, which, regardless of their neighborhoods, cater to oligarchs. Kirkland, Moss notes approvingly, says that “a neighborhood that is ‘Vongerichtified’ would be one whose restaurants have shifted their cuisine, their ambiance, and their prices in this high-end direction.” Soon it’s all about the few and not the many…and you know the rest. Who needs college when we have doormen?

Beatrice Vongerichtified [Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York]
Related: Paul Sevigny’s ‘Top Secret’ Beatrice: Hipster Restaurant of the Season