Brooklyn —

Bedbugs are back. An itchy scourge for the tenement dwellers of early 20th century New York, bedbugs were beaten into submission with DDT during the ’50s and ’60s. But in the past decade, the city Housing Authority has seen a sharp uptick in the number of bedbug complaints.

No one is exempt: Exterminations around the city report brisk business.

By all accounts an infestation is awful, but for some young New Yorkers it’s also a badge of honor won in the battle of urban living. Bedbugs are just another metaphor for how hard it is to find a great place, fall in love, get famous and make it in the big city.

In this piece, you’ll meet two twenty-something Brooklynites, both of whom risked bedbugs for what they love, a scenario that is at once absurd and representative of the sorts of choices living in New York often poses.

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