I moved to Brooklyn reluctantly.
We’d lived in Manhattan for three years and John was over it. It was too crowded, too loud, too smelly, too expensive, too everything for him. If we were to stay in New York, he needed a change.
John waged a PR campaign for Brooklyn, asking friends what neighborhoods, restaurants, bars and other destinations I’d like, so he could show me how great it would be.
The downside is my commute. I used to be able to walk to work, which I can’t do any more, and taking the subway is about 20 minutes longer each way than when we were in Manhattan.
But for that, we got a cute apartment a little bigger than what we had for a lot less than we were spending.
And even better, the lifestyle is the New York experience I wanted when I fantasized about moving to New York.
Our street is lined with Middle Eastern businesses, including a wonderful little bakery, Damascus, and an incredible grocery store, Sahadi’s, with great bulk coffee, more olives than I’ve ever seen in one place, fresh baked breads and a deli case of prepared treats. Sahadi’s on Saturdays is a mob scene but I get immediate service at the bulk counter because my favorite salesman recognizes me as a regular.
That’s a big part of what I love about Brooklyn – it’s still loaded with independent businesses and since they typically aren’t as crowded as their Manhattan equivalents, we’ve developed relationships with some of our faves.
Our breakfast waiter at Grand Canyon Diner and the bartender at English pub Chip Shop, both named Jimmy, great us warmly and make us feel like VIPs. When I took a group of girlfriends for brunch at Bino, an upscale Italian spot, the owners, John and Sara, both stopped by the table and hugged me.
Food shopping is so much fun. Just a few minutes from us is a long-time Italian neighborhood so I’ve learned to get my fresh mozzarella salted, like the old Italian ladies shopping at Caputo’s, and the most beautiful Trader Joe’s I’ve ever seen, in a big former bank, is just a block from us.
Excellent indie boutiques line two of the major streets near us, and I’ve added some funky, fun items to my wardrobe thanks to their cool collections.
When we go for walks through the nabe, trees line the streets, and we’re just a few blocks from the Brooklyn Promenade, overlooking the East River with views of Manhattan, and the new Brooklyn Bridge Park, which just added lovely lawns, playgrounds and bike paths to the riverfront, along with a ferry stop to hop over to Governor’s Island.
And probably the best part of our new neighborhood is that since Brooklyn is a magnet for young creatives, we socialize on foot more than we did in Manhattan, going to house parties and meeting people for drinks without ever getting on the subway.
So I’ll say it publicly: John was right. I love our neighborhood.