Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Brooklyn Backlash

As she usually does, Smartmom read with interest Bob Morris' weekly column in the Style section of the New York Times: "The Age of Dissonance." This week's really hit home. Titled, "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" he opened with the revelation that local literary luminary (a dime a dozen around here) just sold one Park Slope House for more than $3 million and bought another one for $6.75 million.

"Maybe Brooklyn can finally stop the need to promote itself as some kind of hip equal to Manhattan. Here is a loaded celebrity author who could afford to buy anywhere - who doesn't have children who would need extra bedrooms and a yard - and he has chosen Brooklyn over Manhattan."

He goes on to say: "Paying $6.75 million to live a half-hour subway ride from Greenwich Village. That tells the world that you're not an outskirt. You're a mecca."

At this point in her reading, Smartmom's blood pressure is rising. And the quote from Marcellus Hall, the illustrator of the New Yorker cover that got Marty Markowitz schvitzing all over the letters from readers page of that tony publication, really pissed h er off: "It's all just insecurity."

Who says that Brooklynites would rather be living in Manhattan? Smartmom is born and bred Manhattanite - grew up on Riverside Drive no less and she chose to be here. Granted, she was priced out of Manhattan back in 1991 - but that's besides the point. She didn't know better. She thought she was settling when she was actually doing something better. And that doesn't come from insecurity.

Every choice comes with a price. Sure, Brooklyn is half-hour away from the village, forty-five minutes to Chelsea, and an hour door-to-door to the Upper West Side. But so what?

As Morris says, Brooklyn has become a world-class mecca, a destination not a place to escape from (as it was for Groovy Grandma's generation). She always said, "Growing up in Brooklyn makes you an over achiever. You have to cross the bridge."

Teen Spirit and OSFO aren't itching to escape from Brooklyn the way Groovy Aunt's generation was. They love it here and they know it has a great deal to offer. They don't feel gipped that they're not in Manhattan. They know they're living in one of the great communities in America.

And that doesn't come from insecurity, Marcellus Hall! That comes from a wholehearted appreciation of a really special place.


At 7:36 AM, Blogger Savtadotty said...

It's so ironic that the borough my cousins longed to escape from has become an overpriced Mecca! But guess what? My Tel Aviv neighborhood is slowly gentrifying and while it still has a healthy mixture of old-timers and nouveau-investor/developers, time will probably change the balance in favor of the wealthy. I share your sighs for the heterogeneous.


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