When I say to friends back home that I have moved to New York I almost invariably correct myself and say ‘Brooklyn actually’. It is similar in some ways as when you are in a foreign country and someone asks where you are from, and, instead of stating the actual town or suburb where you live, you defer to the largest city you think they have heard of.
Brooklyn I will admit does not have the cache of Manhattan, but from an ‘insiders’ (I am by no means an insider, legend has it that it takes 10 years before you can call yourself a New Yorker) perspective it is where I want to be. Manhattan is fantastic if you want sights, museums, culture, food, and shops, they are all there in abundance. But this is true of London, Paris, Sydney, and countless other cities around the world. What makes a place unique and exciting is the new wave of culture that is developing behind the scenes.
Berlin is a classic example whereby an underground scene developed and forced the city to look at itself again to the extent that it is now viewed as one of the coolest cities in Europe. I believe in time Brooklyn will be recognised in the same way, as for all the undoubted glamour of Manhattan the most exciting new developments are coming from Brooklyn.
My mission is to convince as many people as possible to pay this city of Brooklyn the respect it deserves. Yes visit NY and see the Empire State Building, visit the Highline and the glitzy Meatpacking District, soak up the atmosphere of the Village and enjoy the delights of Central Park and the world-class museums of the elegant upper east side, but do not forget to cross the river and see things from the other side.
Head down to Dumbo and get the best perspective going of lower Manhattan. Check out Prospect Park and the Botanic Gardens, equally as impressive as its island cousin (the same architects laid out both parks), head into Williamsburg and see how 15 yrs of gentrification has turned a desolate wasteland of industrial buildings into a hipsters hotspot and even marvel at how they too are now being pushed out by the developers who have reaped the benefits. If you are feeling really adventurous move further east towards Bushwick where a new generation of young creatives are wreaking their own havoc.
So while the t-shirt may still read I LOVE NY the truth is that BROOKLYN has my heart.