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Dimes Square is an art scene based on the Lower East Side of New York City notable for its rootedness in online culture, the attention it has received from the mainstream press and its reactionary politics. Originally clustered around niche podcasts like Red Scare and a loose assortment of Substack blogs, Discord servers and Twitter accounts, the scene gained prominence following articles in publications like The New York Times, The Cut and BuzzFeed, which attributed a “vibe shift” to Dimes Square and highlighted financial connections between purported “anti-woke” artists and funders such as billionaire investor and tech mogul Peter Thiel.
“Dimes Square” refers to a real physical location (shown below) in the Lower East Side of New York City, which is a cluster of restaurants and businesses adjacent to Seward Park near the border with Chinatown. The scene is often set up in contrast with Brooklyn’s art scene because of its Manhattan location, younger demographic and more conservative politics.
Dimes Square As Skater / Hipster Hub
Dimes Square has not traditionally been understood as a distinct neighborhood of Manhattan, but in the summer of 2019, social media posts discussing “dimes square guys” and fashion associated with the area began to circulate online. Generally, these posts discussed the artistic leanings and wealth of people living around Dimes Square. It also purported that Dimes Square was a hub for "skaters" (example tweet seen below).
Dasha Nekrasova, a co-host of the Red Scare podcast and one of the most prominent people associated with the scene, posted cryptically about a “Dimes Square Curse” on August 31st, 2019, in a tweet (seen below) that received just under 40 likes in three years. The idea of a “curse” at Dimes Square ties into the scene’s purportedly often self-deprecating mood.
Emergence During COVID-19 Quarantine
By the summer of 2020 (the time at which the vibe shift is rumored to have occurred) Dimes Square became a way of referring to a loose scene that extended far beyond one specific street in New York. During the coronavirus lockdown, a clique of young Lower East Side artists became a frequent topic in social media posts for breaking quarantine and continuing a social scene despite the pandemic restrictions. Some were highly critical in their discussions on the topic, such as Twitter user @PatchBae, who posted a tweet on June 28th, 2020, about the topic that received over 50 likes in two years.
There were also many tweets about Dimes Square parties in the summer of 2020, including one from Twitter user @butch__queen on August 30th, 2020, which described the very online and quarantine-breaking nature of the scene.
A March 7th, 2021, piece in the New York Times described the way in which the “privileged denizens” of the Dimes Square scene continued to party during worldwide COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. It also profiled a local zine begun by Dimes Square people called The Drunken Boat and Honor Levy, a writer and podcaster who was reportedly a leading member of the scene.
The early attention paid by the Times to the local New York scene established a pattern as the Times and other publications continued to devote critical but fascinated coverage to Dimes Square, playing a notable part in the scene’s rise to prominence. A particular aspect of interest to reporters at the Times was the reported creative openness and debauched transgressiveness of the scene.
This dynamic carried through into the vibe shift piece published by The Cut on February 16th, 2022, which went viral. The piece, written by Millennial writer Allison P. Davis, described feeling unmoored and left out as a new generation of scenesters rose in New York. In the piece, she quoted Sean Monahan, who theorized three prior vibe shifts in New York’s Millennial artistic class:
Hipster/Indie Music (ca. 2003–9), or peak Arcade Fire, Bloc Party, high-waisted Cheap Mondays, Williamsburg, bespoke-cocktail bars; Post-Internet/Techno Revival (ca. 2010–16), or the Blood Orange era, normcore, dressing like The Matrix, Kinfolk the club, not Kinfolk the magazine; and Hypebeast/Woke (ca. 2016–20), or Drake at his Drakest, the Nike SNKRS app, sneaker flipping, virtue signaling, Donald Trump, protests not brunch.
Monahan called the current vibe shift a reaction against the “Hypebeast/Woke” era, representing a messier aesthetic and opposite politics.
Increasing Prominence in 2022
A piece published a month later on March 3rd, 2022, in BuzzFeed by Joseph Bernstein described connections between crypto-tech billionaire Peter Thiel and artists associated with Dimes Square. This piece brought even more attention to the scene.
In the piece, Bernstein detailed how the “NPC film festival” (nicknamed by many as the “"anti woke":https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/woke film festival”) was funded by Peter Thiel. The NPC film festival involved many of the most prominent personalities involved in Dimes Square, including the women behind Red Scare.
The term NPC in a political context comes from 4chan lingo referring to those not in agreement with fringe political views as faceless “non-player characters.” The Dimes Square scene is noted by some online for its purported appropriation of right-wing tropes and phrases, and its use of “NPC” is interpreted by some as a verbal equivalent of the scene’s embrace of redneck fashion, such as Bass Pro Shop hats. The fashion choices of Dimes Square people were lampooned by @noahvjohnson in a November 16th, 2021, tweet that earned over 200 likes in nine months (shown below).
Later in March 2022, the New York Times profiled a young playwright named Matthew Gasda (who writes on a “Smith Corona typewriter”) and had written a hit underground play called Dimes Square, which was about artists doing drugs that starred Gen X literary critic Christian Lorentzen playing an aging writer and Fernanda Amis (the daughter of English novelist Martin Amis) playing a famous author’s child. Dimes Square was mostly performed in apartments and was largely about Dimes Square itself. Again, The New York Times critiqued the Dimes Square scene for its reported privilege, transgressive anti-liberal posturing and rejection of identity politics.
Dimes Square Think Piece Backlash
By the summer of 2022, many think pieces and articles about Dimes Square were published around the web. Red Scare podcaster Anna Khachiyan expressed general fatigue on May 26th, 2022, when she tweeted about the overload of think pieces, earning just over 850 likes in four months (seen below).
Backlash against the Dimes Square crowd continued through the summer, with many social media users expressing consternation with the scene and the attention it received from the media. One such example came from Twitter user @boringstein, who tweeted on August 5th, 2022, about not wanting to see more Dimes Square content, receiving over 750 likes in a few days (seen below).
In a piece published by local paper Hellcat NYC on May 26th, 2022, longtime Chinatown residents and business owners described their experience of the Dimes Square scene as "gentrification," and said it resulted in "public safety" problems in their neighborhood. Mike Crumplar, a writer chronicling the scene, wrote a Substack post on August 3rd describing verbal abuse and harassment he faced for calling out the artworks of prominent scene members as “fascist” and “transphobic.”
Catholicism / Traditional Christian Associations
In August 2022, discourse and news coverage of the Dimes Square crowd reportedly expressing an interest in traditional Christian religions, particularly Catholicism, began to appear online. On August 9th, 2022, The New York Times published an article describing and analyzing the Catholicism of scene members, such as Honor Levy and Dasha Nekrasova.
Many users on Twitter also responded to the purported trad leanings of Dimes Square, which were largely negative but attention-grabbing. For example, an August 9th tweet by Twitter user @allahliker received almost 5,000 likes in six hours for criticizing recent Dimes Square converts (shown below).
The online presence of the scene is largely revolved around Dimes Square's association with various internet personalities such as Curtis Yarvin, Wet Brain podcast co-hosts Honor Levy and Walter Pearce, Red Scare podcast co-hosts Dasha Nekrasova and Anna Khachiyan, the Substack blogs of angelicism01 and Mike Crumplar, and Twitter accounts like @wretched_worm, among others.
Mike Crumplar, also known as Crumps, is an American writer and cultural critic well-known for his work on incels and on the New York City Dimes Square art scene. His Substack blog, called Approaches, documents his research and personal interests.
Angelicism01 is an email newsletter hosted on Substack and written by an anonymous author(s) sharing "theoretical gossip of the 21st century." The newsletter, blog and associated social media accounts have become a central part of the 2021-2022 vibe shift scene purportedly centered around Dimes Square in New York City. Angelicism01 provides political, theoretical and spiritual commentary on modern culture with a complex, pseudo-academic and heavily ironic tone.
 Twitter – @_YOUNGBABY_
 Twitter – @nobody_stop_me
 Substack – Approaches
 Twitter – @butch__queen
 The New York Times – They Had a Fun Pandemic. You Can Read About It in Print.
 The Cut -A Vibe Shift Is Coming: Will Any Of Us Survive It?
 Buzzfeed – Look At What We’re Doing With Your Money, You Dick: How Peter Thiel Backed An Anti-Woke Film Festival
 Twitter – @noahvjohnson
 The New York Times – A Playwright Makes the Scene in New York’s Living Rooms
 Twitter – @annakhachiyan
 Twitter – @Boringstein
 Hell Gate NYC – What Do Chinatown Residents Think of Dimes Square?
 Substack -Approaches
 The New York Times – New York’s Hottest Club Is the Catholic Church
 Twitter – @allahliker
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Aug 10, 2022 at 07:16AM EDT in reply to
Aug 09, 2022 at 09:06PM EDT
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