Today we looked at the Trend-iness of Brooklyn, inciting lots of neighborhood debate among you commenters. Much of it was Brooklyn-related, but one commenter made a lovely case for my borough of choice, Manhattan.
I've lived in Manhattan for the last six years. Some impressively shitty apartments, sure, but after years of working, saving, but still enjoying all the perks of living on the island and a subway ride from all that Brooklyn and BroBo life has to offer, I now live in a rent-controlled apartment in the East Village, where I pay less than 90% of my BK counterparts, and which I can afford to live in on a Editorial Assistant's salary. And I walk to work. In the Flatiron building. I'm almost 27, but to me, this feels like making it, or to use the cliche, "living the dream."
Most of my friends live in Brooklyn, and for years have urged me to make the big switch. And I've been tempted. Don't get me wrong. I don't hate Brooklyn. Parts of it are beautiful, other parts "hip," and I get that for some people, it's nice to be off the island. I'm just not that person. And however outdated or pointless it may seem to others, living in Manhattan was part of my dream. No, not a Carrie Bradshaw dream or even a Ginsberg/Kerouac at The West End type dream. And despite the dirty studios, or Gray's Papaya dinners, it somehow hasn't disappointed me. It's the sight of the skyline on the Amtrak back from Boston. The bustling nervous (admittedly often heinous) energy outside 30 Rock. The tourists, five-abreast furiously snapping photos, and holding up pedestrian traffic to marvel at a building I'd never really noticed. It's passing by the TV studios that broadcast news around the world, or driving by the United Nations headquarters (whose significance doesn't warrant a modifier). It's Central Park on a summer's day, or smoking a joint on my friend's East Village roof. Or cooking dinner with food from Union Square market in my neighbor's kitchen, that sure, happens to have a toilet in it. Or listening to my iPod walking along the Hudson at sunset (or sunrise). Or walking to work through the arches of Washington Square, with the Empire State building straight ahead. Or stumbling into anyone from Bill Clinton to Brooke Shields during my lunch hour, and then seeing my childhood idol having one too many at a bar it Tribeca later that night.
But mostly and above all, it's that electric, magnetic feeling - maybe it's ineffable, I've never described it right - but that feeling that you're somewhere magic. You're somewhere special. And I think some people feel that when they come here, and some don't. There's not necessarily a "right," it just is what it is.
And frankly, when I dreamed of all this growing up in suburban Boston, it wasn't the trees, or the safety or the parks or the trends. If I wanted that I'd have stayed right where I was. Even suburban Boston's just a train ride away from Manhattan.