Alex Williams’ article in the Times, Brooklyn’s Fragile Ego-System makes me really angry.
1) What he’s sort of right about:
What if Brooklyn’s recent cachet as the locus for what’s next is little more than a thin and fragile crust of chic, hiding the insecurity of people who constantly measure the social currency of their ZIP code by Manhattan standards?
The painful thing about the above is that some people in Brooklyn do measure the quality of their neighborhood by Manhattan criteria and they’re totally missing the point by doing so. In Brooklyn vs. Manhattan, Brooklyn shouldn’t try to play Manhattan’s game. Nobody does the things Manhattan does as well as Manhattan does them. You move to Brooklyn for those things that Manhattan can’t give you for less than $3,000/month in rent. For instance: church bells notifying you of the hour, block parties, a view of Manhattan (see the promenade), and that ever-important sigh of relief as you exit the subway and realize that you’ve left the chaos, the hustle, and the bustle of Manhattan behind for the day. Sure, Manhattan has more celebrities and more restaurants, but those aren’t good reasons to move to Brooklyn.
2) The Limited View of Brooklyn he Provides
Williams’ entire article is about Boerum Hill. He’s missing a few neighborhoods, I believe. His view of Brooklyn is so Manhattanite it hurts. He takes one neighborhood and lets it represent the entire borough. There’s no way that the residences of Kensington or Bay Ridge or Diker Heights have the same inferiority complexes that he attributes to a certain class of people who contribute to “the dark secret of Brooklyn…many of the people who are going there are going there because they can’t afford Manhattan.”
3) Speaking of…
If you can afford an apartment in “BoCoCa”–a name I can only use for irony’s sake–or Park Slope for that matter, you can afford something in Manhattan. The neighborhood won’t be as nice, but it’ll be in Manhattan.
This whole article just wreaks of a Manhattan snob saying, “Brooklyn…that’s somewhere east isn’t it? That’s far and scary. Why would you ever leave Manhattan?”
5) My Own Stuff
In all honesty, I’ve become a Brooklyn snob. Now that my day job is also in the borough, it’s hard to not grow extremely comfortable about not going to Manhattan and becoming slightly annoyed when I have to. My D.P. is doing her best to prevent me from becoming too resistant to leaving Brooklyn, and I thank her for it. It is hard, though; it’s just really nice here.