Saturday, March 05, 2005


It happens every couple of years. Friends of Smartmom decide to up and leave for the suburbs. It's always a sad state of affairs because it means that Smartmom will lose the easy, local company of people she cares about. Last summer, The Deserters moved to a big Victorian house in Nyack, putting an end to their impromptu and delicious Sunday night dinners. And when a couple of years before that Red Eft, Dadu and family left St. John's Place for Kingston (a small upstate New York City not a suburb) both Hepcat and Smartmom lost their constant companions.

When people move away from Brooklyn, it always churns up a lot of feelings inside of Smartmom about whether she is giving her kids a good life. Wouldn't they be better off, she wonders, with a backyard, big bedrooms and a basement playroom? How about a writing room, a computer room, and CLOSETS. But a move out of Brooklyn just doesn't seem meant to be. Hepcat always gets horribly lost anytime he drives out to New Jersey and Smartmom isn't much of a car person. Teen Spirit loves to be within easy walking distance of his buddies and Seventh Avenue. And OSFO, OSFO is a New York City girl, and that's all there is to it.

FINALLY, Smartmom has something to tell her friends who are considering a move to the suburbs. DON'T DO IT! IT'S BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH!

It seems there's finally "scientific" proof why Park Slope is a better place to live than say, Montclair, Hastings, or Maplewood. A study published in "Public Health" journal found that urban sprawl living is unhealthy. It can even shave four years off yor life.

It makes total sense to Smartmom. People get more exercise in places like Park Slope than the burbs because they're not in their cars all day. They walk all the time from one end of Slope to the other and think nothing of walking to Prospect Park, the Botanic Gardens, and The Brooklyn Museum, or bike riding across Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan.

Walking is a way of life here. Most errands take far longer than they should because of the number of people you run into on even a short trip. Standing on Seventh Avenue is a fun way to catch up with neighbors and friends and share gossip, news, and opinions. This is a very talkative place.

The researchers emphasize the importance of what they call "utilitarian walking": the exercise we Brooklynites get walking to and from school, up and down the subway stairs, or to Met Food for replenishments of milk and orange juice.

People don't usually think of that kind of thing as exercise but it is. According to the study: "It makes a huge difference. Just the 10 additional minutes a day that you go to the store and back easily add up to a couple of pounds a year in terms of body weight."

Smartmom is so loving this. She's lost quite a few friends to the suburbs and it's always so wrenching to see them go. Maybe this will convince some of those (and you know who you are) who are considering a move, to think about sticking around.


At 12:23 AM, Blogger Udge said...

Spot on. The suburb was a solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist, which brought a dozen real problems of its own into existence. Take back the city centres!

At 6:21 AM, Blogger Little Light said...

Amen! I always thought the suburbs were unnatural anyway.

At 8:47 AM, Blogger Savtadotty said...

Yes, yes. I am so pleased that each of us (savtadotty, elswhere, and prowesslessnesslessness) lives within walking distance of some of the amenities of urban life: e.g., libraries, convenience stores, cafes. Now you've done it: I'm going to have to get started on my "why I moved to Israel" post(s), because living in a walkable city is one of the reasons.

At 3:21 PM, Blogger brooklynfox said...

I'd still give my right arm for a driveway and to not hear the man upstairs flush his toilet in the middle of the night. But that's just me and my fat ass talkin'. RFJ

At 4:07 AM, Blogger red eft said...

Liveable Cities now!


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