It is so easy to romanticize a city like New York, each borough with its own distinct character and uniqueness. And New Yorkers love romanticizing New York, it’s an essential part of being a New Yorker, because there is no place like it in the world.
I was born and raised in Manhattan, lived there until I was 34, lived in LIC for 2 years, and now I reside in Williamsburg. I am one of those people who can even find a way to romanticize how slummy most of the city was in the 70s, and how “real” it felt. But let’s face it: living in New York, no matter what borough, is hard. From the rent prices, to our small studio apartments, to the hours we put in at our respective day jobs, to the hours we put into our respective night jobs, to the few hours that are left to put into the reason why most people came to the city in the first place. The walk-ups with laundry, with groceries, with furniture, are hard. The schleps to the subway in the bitter cold are hard. The amount we carry around with us is hard. Staying in touch with friends is hard — not only because we have so little free time, but because we’re tired after work and because the city has expanded so much that you might have friends in Ditmars, the Bronx, Astoria and Greenpoint, all of which are nowhere near you.
So yes, I of course agree, Brooklyn is infinitely lovely (Manhattan less so these days — but still vibrant nonetheless), and I too, can list hundreds of things that make me love it, but let’s face it: We love Brooklyn because living here is hard. We value things differently here, from the homeless man holding his penis peeing on the street, to the parts of Greenpoint where you can’t get anything accomplished unless you speak Polish.
No doubt we live in the most vibrant and culturally diverse city, that has more concerts, museums, bars, parties and galleries in it than we know what to do with, let alone that we can afford, but let’s be real, too. We love New York because we can survive here. It is a city of dreamers, not of picket fencers. And because of its electricity we carry the dream of thriving with more ease. And to me, that is what brings us closer together than almost anything. — Sarah Lippmann
Photo by afagen via Flickr.