Sunday, June 10, 2007
Let's face it- Brooklyn rules.
It's pretty much the best place in the world. When you situate yourself in a Brooklyn neighborhood, people get all chill and friendly. Before long the guys at the deli know exactly what brand of seltzer you want, the UPS guys all wave when they drive by, and you can pet strange dogs. (People just stop and let you pet their dogs. That's crazy!) Kids still play stickball, and old women hang out of their windows, asking random pedestrians about the Mets game. It's like a cozy womb filled with Italians and dirty bodegas.
If you don't care about that kind of thing (and who does?), consider the other fine elements of The Borough of Kings. There's Prospect Park, which is one of the most perfect municipal parks ever designed. Not only is it huge, and filled with great open spaces as well as hidden wooded paths, but it also has lakes and horses and a Zoo.
Also, you can grill there. Take that, every other park in the world!
Nearby is the awesome archway at Grand Army Plaza, the Brooklyn Museum, the Botanical Gardens, and easy access to TWO (count 'em TWO) CHIP SHOP locations. The Chip Shop is some of the best food you can put in your mouth. Or rub all over your body.
Either way is fine.
Brooklyn at Christmastime is covered in garland and lights and dirty snow. There are the nomads that appear to sell Christmas trees on the sidewalks, so the smell of sappy evergreen trees is in the air. Brownstones pop up with lights here and there, enough to get you excited, but not so much that you're sick of sparkly lights by the time Christmas actually rolls around. In the summer, kids play in fire hydrants, public pools open up, and there's a street fair almost every weekend, somewhere. Street fairs suck everywhere else, but in Brooklyn, it's one of the only times you can walk around outside with beer, and eat disgusting fried food without your girlfriend giving you a lecture about your "health". (Whatever! My left arm hurts from workin' out!)
Brooklyn is a beautiful place, filled with amazing little spots that never get boring. I love walking over the disgusting Gowanus Canal; it's filthy and decrepit and lovely in a horrible way. I'm never happier than when riding my bike between the brownstones and tree lined streets, checking out all the incredible old buildings, and listening to people yell obscenities at each other.
Parts of Brooklyn still have remnants of a maritime past, when whaling ships set off from the naval yards, and stevedores in striped shirts loaded huge cargo crates all day. So if you yearn for the days of pea-coats and waxed canvas, you can just smell the salty air and see the tugboats and imagine you're about to set off on a tramp steamer for parts unknown. You can walk (or ride a bike) across the Brooklyn Bridge, over old wooden planks and through the haze of commuter pollution. Nothing makes you feel quite so alive as riding a bike across the bridge, angrily shouting at tourists who are standing in the "bike only" lane taking pictures.
The best part of it all is the wealth and diversity of culture here. My girlfriend is always up my butt about going on a trip somewhere, but where are we going to go that's better than Brooklyn? Why go to Egypt when the Brooklyn Museum has one of the largest collections of Egyptian artifacts in the world? Why go to Japan when Prospect Park hosts a bitchin' Cherry Blossom Festival? Why go to Puerto Rico when you can sit on our stoop? Of course, she always says that "it's not the same thing", and I think, no, It's Better! Why spend all that money to go to Germany, and be surrounded by Germans, when you can just go to Cafe Steinhof during Oktoberfest? Traveling is for suckers.
Yea verily, Brooklyn rules. The bars are friendly and inexpensive, the people are cool, and the restaurants are wonderful hidden treasures, beloved by neighborhood locals who have long since stopped trying to eat out in Manhattan. Living anywhere else is crazy! Is it a little more expensive to live here? Maybe. But that's the price you pay for being in the most Awesome Place Ever.
A typical row of homes in Brooklyn, where people are happy and living fulfilled lives.