We owe Brooklyn an apology. Sometimes we bad-mouth it. We grumble about the crowded L-train, the wait for the G-train, the ridiculous challenge of getting a package delivered, and the guy who lives above us and plays the same song all day long with his stereo turned up to 11. But over the holidays we had a chance to work up a healthy appreciation for Brooklyn while out and about, visiting relatives in the wilds where there’s no Champion Coffee, no Bierkraft, no public transportation and no brunch worth waiting an hour for.
So we found some Brooklyn expatriates who’ve left for a variety of reasons, and asked them what they miss the most about our fair borough, or in the case of Emily Farris, author of Casserole Crazy and writer at large, what she will miss.
Emily, 26, wrote this for us just before moving to Kansas City in December:
As I walked home from Matchless‘ Twofer Tuesday in Greenpoint a few weeks ago, I passed an old man holding his cane in one hand and his penis in the other. He was peeing on the sidewalk and calling me, or the ether, a bitch. I smiled a little and kept walking. Three blocks later I realized that my reaction — or lack thereof — was exactly why I needed to leave New York and why I’ll miss it so much.
When I moved here at eighteen with a U-Haul full of wicker furniture, I was just like every other girl coming from the Midwest, seeking the energy of the bright lights and the big city — or so I thought at first. Save a few misguided, overpriced stints in the East and West Villages, for eight-and-a-half years I’ve called Brooklyn home. Boerum Hill was my refuge from the hell of Midtown and I loved escaping the burnt-pretzel smell of SoHo for my place in the South Slope.
As a freelance writer, in the last few years I’ve found myself perfectly content to stay within a 20-block radius of my Greenpoint Avenue apartment, leaving northern Brooklyn only when I absolutely have to. But there’s a whole other world out there, a world with three-bedroom apartments for $750 a month and people who are at least a little taken aback by crazy men peeing on the street. So yet again I’m packing up the U-Haul. But this time, I’m going to Kansas City.
While I might have gone crazy here without the little things — walking into Brooklyn Label for coffee in the morning and feeling like I’m entering Cheers, and stopping into WORD on Franklin Street to talk to the owner Christine — it’s really those moments that are only possible in Brooklyn that I’ll miss most. Running into a writer I really like outside of a bar and staying out all night was a common occurrence. And one of my favorite summer days was spent trying to find my friends at the Mermaid Parade for hours before stuffing my face with cheese fries from Nathan’s and somehow still having the room and the energy to go out for Russian food in Brighton Beach.
It is the people — the writers, the musicians, the artists, the bus drivers, the baristas and even the old man peeing on the street — set against a background of design and decay that makes Brooklyn magical.
It was all a very good dream.