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12/01/2005

The New York Observer on Brooklyn

The Observer has a great article on what it's like to live in Brooklyn these days. As much as it is a social commentary on the Brooklyn zeitgeist, it also it makes some sensible points:

  1. Who persists in seeing the borough as little more than Manhattan’s waiting room, its discard piles, its backwater wilderness? Who still considers a move there on a par with the exile eastward from Eden? Even prejudiced Manhattanites are migrating en masse to Brooklyn.
  2. This hegira off the island into Brooklyn has been going on for years, but can no longer be understood simply as the search for cheap, mythically large apartments; rents in Brooklyn are nearly as high as those in Manhattan. It’s different now. People aspire to Brooklyn. The vector of the city has reversed itself.
  3. ...living in Brooklyn is more grown-up.
  4. To many Brooklynites, their star neighbors are cause for self-congratulation. It confirms that they made the right choice not to live in Manhattan: a cooler, better choice, a nicer choice.
  5. “At the end of the day, celebrities moved to the ’hood for the same reasons that we did and are enjoying the benefit of living in an urban community where you say hello to your neighbor and know all the names of the people who work at the bodega. It is sort of a Sesame Street idealism that we grew up with or were drawn to when we moved here.”
  6. “People also recognize that it’s not just the proximity to New York that’s great about Brooklyn; it’s Brooklyn that’s great about Brooklyn,” said documentary filmmaker Rory Kennedy, 36. “A lot of culture, a lot of people …. There’s a nice energy in Brooklyn—more space, nice sense of community, a small-town feel in a big city.”
  7. As much as new Brooklynites like to imagine Cobble Hill and Fort Greene as little European villages (and themselves as charmed American expats), they’re actually trying to live a much more innocent Sesamer Street version of a city—where, in fact, the Big Apple’s made small and the small town’s made big.
  8. And Brooklyn is no longer Failure-ville. Even the celebrities—people who dreamed of “making it” long ago, who came to Manhattan to get famous—show proof of their success in Brooklyn. It is the dream.
  9. “I will never go back to Manhattan,” said Ms. Golin, the Red Hook lawyer. “Brooklyn is like a religion.”


Thanks to brownstoner for the link that led us to the article.


1 Comments:

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