Apr 15, 2014
100 Reasons Everyone Should Live in Brooklyn (At Least for a Little While)
Because living here is the only way to know for sure how full of shit all those New York Times Styles section trend pieces are.
Because you don’t need to be a born-and-raised borough-dweller in order to know where to go to see the best sunset in the city (Sunset Park, naturally).
Because Brooklyn is home both to New York City’s oldest house (the Wyckoff House in Canarsie) and much of its most-talked about new developments (i.e. the Domino Sugar Factory), so your connection to the past, present, and future of the city is, like, super in your face.
Because if you don’t live here for at least a little while, how will you ever write your own “Goodbye to All That” essay?
Or feel completely justified in rolling your eyes at the whole thing because, jeez, sometimes a place is just a place.
Because where else would you feel that paying $1,500/month for a studio apartment that overlooks a Superfund site is an amazing deal?
Because of that feeling you get every time you take the Q or the B (or the N or the D) home from Manhattan and burst out over the East River.
Because—despite what you’ve heard, or even what it feels like sometimes—most of Brooklyn still hasn’t been taken over by investment bankers.
But it sure is fun to poke fun at them from across a crowded bar.
Although, honestly, you should probably try becoming friends with one of them. They can’t all be bad, right? Just like not every single kid in Bushwick who’s ever formed some shitty indie rock band can be all that great.
And at least an investment banker might pick up the check on all the drinks you need to consume to get through a conversation with him (or her).
Because you can strike up a conversation with absolutely anyone about the G.
Because only people who live in Brooklyn know enough never to go to Junior’s for cheesecake (too chalky) and instead get the borough’s best version at Monteleone’s in Carroll Gardens.
Because this is the borough of Do the Right Thing…
And of The Warriors…
And of Dog Day Afternoon and Saturday Night Fever and Goodfellas and Half-Nelson and we could probably get up to 100 just by naming movies, but we won’t.
Because think what you will of Spike Lee’s feelings on gentrification, there’s no way he’d speak that passionately about Manhattan.
Because we still refer to having to become part of a greater NYC in 1898 as “The Great Mistake”…
And if we were our own city, we’d be the fourth largest in the country, after LA and Chicago. And, uh, Manhattan.
Because it’s not really Christmastime without a trip through Dyker Heights to gawk at the light-bedecked houses.
And then follow up your tour of all those Clark Griswold-esque homes with dinner at Tanoreen in Bay Ridge, home to the best Palestinian cuisine outside of Bethlehem.
Because Coney Island is still standing, and it’s still got Nathan’s, and the Cyclone, and a hell of a lot more.
Because we have a lot more beaches than just the one at Coney Island. (Manhattan Beach! Brighton Beach! Go, now, go!)
Because Brooklyn College has been turning out leaders in sundry fields for generations—and still is…
And you can graduate from Brooklyn College without having to repay $100,000 in student loans.
Because who needs to go to Lincoln Center when you’ve got the BAM cultural district and its bimonthly productions of King Lear?
Because the pierogies in Greenpoint will put those from Veselka to shame.
Because who needs cronuts when we’ve got Dough, and Peter Pan, and Dun-Well.
Because thanks to our local coffee culture (Oslo! Grumpy! Brooklyn Roasting Company!), there are way fewer Starbuckses here than you would think.
Because New York’s best, most beautiful bridge is named after us…
And is still one of the best walks in the entire city.
Because we’re still not tired of hearing “Spread love, it’s the Brooklyn way.”
“Empire State of Mind,” however, can officially be retired.
Because we have an actual local music scene.
Because, for the price of a single cocktail in Manhattan, you could buy four beers at a DIY venue.
Because Brooklyn Heights was America’s first suburb, and it’s still America’s prettiest… plus, you’re not getting any younger.
Because with its abundance of parks and dog runs, Brooklyn is the perfect place to own a dog or even an outdoor cat.
Because of the Caribbean food in Crown Heights…
And the Italian food in Bensonhurst…
And ALL the food at the Red Hook Ballfields.
Because modern, sustainable manufacturing is making creative reuse of our waterfront infrastructure (and creating cool jobs).
Because maybe, someday, the MTA will build the Triboro X line subway.
And soon the Nets will be joined at the Barclays Center by the Islanders. Hockey! Yay!
Because as happy as we are to have professional sports teams to call our own, we still get a lot of pleasure in watching a minor league Coney Island Cyclones game on a sticky summer night.
Because eight months out of the year, we have an outdoor food festival every weekend…
And food just tastes better when eaten outside; ask anyone who’s waited for hours on line for a ramen burger.
Because if we tried to name everyone famous who grew up here, we’d run out of space…
But… Biggie! And Aaliyah! And Jay-Z! (And according to Nintendo legend, both Mario and Luigi.)
And where else are you going to stare at the Manhattan skyline? Jersey?
Because as much as we might cringe at the competitive parenting culture here, Brooklyn’s many strong public schools, abundance of free and cheap cultural activities, and beautiful parks and playgrounds make it a great place to raise kids…
And those kids will grow up to be far more worldly than if you’d spirited them away to some self-selecting rural community of New York City-haters.
Because even the people who built Central Park thought Prospect Park was better…
And that’s not even taking the glories of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden into consideration. (Those cherry blossoms are no joke.)
And Montgomery Clift is buried in the middle of Prospect Park, in the tiny Quaker cemetery.
Because Leonard Bernstein, Basquiat, and Boss Tweed also decided to live here forever, and can be found in the historic Green-Wood Cemetery.
Because Green-Wood Cemetery used to be the biggest tourist attraction in New York City, and its popularity as a picnicking destination was actually the inspiration to build Central Park.
Because Walt Whitman was merely the first of our many famous writers to have born here or to have moved here…
And someone’s still publishing the newspaper he used to edit, The Brooklyn Eagle.
Because we have Chinese food to rival if not surpass that found in Manhattan’s (and Flushing’s!) Chinatowns…
And the best falafel this side of the Atlantic Ocean, thanks to our thriving and long-established Middle Eastern communities…
And the fastest growing Jewish neighborhoods in the city—Williamsburg and Borough Park—which basically make the city the most Jewish place on Earth after Israel.
Because the neighborhoods here are still neighborhoods…
Because our art museum is one of the oldest and largest in the country…
And we have an aquarium and a botanic garden…
And the country’s first bike lane!
Because The Honeymooners was set here…
So we named one of our bus depots after Jackie Gleason.
Because we’re well on our way to re-claiming our status as a brewing capital…
And well on our way to becoming a distillery capital…
And we even make our own wine now.
Because even if he eats it the wrong way, we can still claim to be the home of the Mayor’s favorite pizza…
And also, we can still claim to be the home of the Mayor. He continues to commute from Park Slope most days, even though he has a mansion in Manhattan.
Because Williamsburg now has six different places to catch a movie…
And chances are that movie you’re catching? It was at least partially made in Brooklyn. Seriously. Most days it feels like there’s something being filmed on every street in the borough.
Because lots of things are being made in Brooklyn. And, yeah, some are small-batch, pickled things. But small-batch, pickled things are delicious, jokes be damned.
Because even as they compete with each other, our small businesses are tireless in their support of one another. We guess it’s that whole “Spread love, it’s the Brooklyn way” thing.
Because someone cared enough to buy the Endless Summer taco truck on Ebay and get it back in business.
Because our food truck scene is so strong, that many of the more popular ones become successful brick-and-mortar restaurants.
Because of stoop culture. (Including “drinking on your stoop even though it’s technically illegal” culture.)
Because of the likelihood that you or someone you know will have a backyard.
Because of rooftop farming, which might be something that some people joke about as being too “Brooklyn,” but which we think is just another genius way of using limited Brooklyn real estate to benefit the most amount of people possible.
Because we have our own gay pride parade…
And a Norwegian Independence Day parade. And our own St. Patrick’s Day parade. And the West Indian Day Parade. And pretty much any kind of parade you can think of. And everyone loves a parade.
Because we give school kids off for Brooklyn Day. Which, yes, is a thing. Even if it doesn’t have its own parade.
Because as much as we’ll extoll the virtues of Brooklyn’s most beautiful homes, we also get a kick out of walking among the gigantic architectural eyesores in places like Mill Basin and Gravesend. Money doesn’t buy good taste. We repeat, money does not buy good taste.
Because despite city government sometimes seeming like a monolithic bureaucratic nightmare, Brooklyn is home to participatory budgeting, which is a way for communities to be involved on a micro level with how a district’s funds get spent. It’s a good thing.
Because we’ve had nights when our biggest problem was deciding which of three amazing book launch events to attend. (Sophie didn’t know how easy she had it.)
Which, Sophie’s Choice. Set in Brooklyn! As was A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, Motherless Brooklyn, Desperate Characters, Sunset Park and countless other must-read books.
Because even though we don’t have Patience and Fortitude guarding the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, there is a really good ghost story about the place. And who doesn’t love a good ghost story?
Because we’ve long been known as the “borough of churches” and also the “borough of homes” and also the “borough of trees.” Which is much better than being known as the “forgotten borough” (sorry, Staten Island), or whatever Queens is known for being. (No, really. What is Queens known as?)
Because it’s kind of fun to trash talk Queens… a little interborough rivalry never hurt anyone.
But we’d never make that argument. Living in Brooklyn isn’t about being part of the zeitgeist; it isn’t about being part of some pseudo-culturally significant flash-in-the-pan. Living in Brooklyn isn’t about anything, really, other than being one of the millions of people who call this borough home for myriad reasons that may or may not include the ones we’ve listed above. Living in Brooklyn is what you make of it. So make the most of it. Or, you know, go somewhere else. Because, seriously. It’s way too expensive to stay here if you don’t really love it. Like, really, really love it. The way we do. The way we think you will too.
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