It all started with some pickles in 2020 at Hester Street Fair in Manhattan.
Nolita Dirtbag, who would like to remain anonymous, would make bootleg stickers mimicking logos from popular New York-based establishments and pass them out along with jars of homemade pickles. One was a riff on Aimé Leon Dore’s logo with an “Imma Pee On the Floor” sticker. The cheeky nods to some of the city’s biggest brands was a subtle way for the 25-year-old to set his spears apart and connect the packaging to his interest in streetwear. But in July 2021, he decided to take his jokes to Instagram and Nolita Dirtbag was born.
“I’ve been making ridiculous memes my whole life. I was born on the internet, growing up on Reddit and playing Xbox,” says Nolita Dirtbag, who’s just as funny over the phone as he is on IG. Before answering a question about how he’s impacted Nolita, he responds with a joke saying, “I think it’s motivated more people to avoid it.” And when asked where he actually lives, he pokes fun at himself, saying, “I live in a cage in the basement of the ALD store.” It’s easy to see why he’s so good at trivializing Nolita and the crowd it draws.
For those unfamiliar, Nolita is a neighborhood within the Lower East Side of Manhattan. One of its blocks, Mulberry Street, has recently become a hub for fashionable millennials and Gen-Z’ers. It houses the outposts of popular brands like Aimé Leon Dore and Noah, as well eateries like Ruby’s, Upside Pizza, and Parm. It’s also become a hotbed for spotting trendy streetwear outfits that include Carhartt double knee pants with paint splatters, New Balance 550s, Arc’teryx jackets, and trucker caps. But Nolita Dirtbag doesn’t actually reside in the neighborhood his name derives from. He stays in Brooklyn, but grew up in a suburb outside of New York City. He made frequent summer trips growing up, but permanently relocated after graduating college. Nowadays, he spends time on blocks like Mulberry Street and the surrounding Dimes Square neighborhood three or so days a week to perform what he jokingly refers to as his, “research and development.” He picks up on people’s habits and uses it for the memes posted on his IG account. Since starting the page, he’s found himself taking note of specific things that he may have overlooked beforehand.
“If I see a certain dude in double knees wearing JJJJound shoes carrying a plant back to his apartment, my mind starts running a bit. What is this guy doing? Where is he eating? I’m definitely thinking about it a lot more,” he tells Complex.