IMAGINE YOU’RE AT A BIRTHDAY PARTY IN THE LES and approximately six negronis deep. Beforehand, you may have also had maybe like three hits of the joint left back home as you were getting dressed and listening to Robbie Williams. Someone mentions Greenpoint, Brooklyn and you suddenly perk your ears out of sheer curiosity wondering what new restaurants manifest the area. Let’s face the music. Brooklyn is just as popular as Manhattan, if not more. (Is Baby’s All Right having another sold out show?)
I asked my Brooklynite acquaintance whom I had met only once previously at an art gallery show, “What restaurants are in Greenpoint?” I suppose it may have been a quick transition from discussing buying “purple drank” on Instagram but the question itched me. Bushwick’s Blanca is still on my list but I have to wait two months just to eat there. I haven’t made my reservation yet. (Does that make me pretentious?)
My friend pulled me aside and suggested that I had too many negronis. I sounded “pretentious”, he said. By all means, I didn’t intend to sound like a naive millennial who just shops at Opening Ceremony and bitches about Uber drivers being too late.
Carry on, Taylor…
So, I apologetically stated that I didn’t want to come off as pretentious and/or demeaning in any shameless notion suggesting that Manhattan is better than Brooklyn or that I’m mocking Brooklyn’s prevalent culinary world.
In response, my fellow Brooklynite replied, “There’s a new creperie that opened around the corner.”
“Well, we should go sometime,” I suggested, as if we were really close friends. That just made me feel even more unsettled.
Dinner was over. I walked away with a bitter taste in my mouth asking myself if I really did come off as pretentious. I know that people, especially my age, are on the fence about the move to Williamsburg, thinking it’s significantly cheaper than Manhattan’s downtown living. In some way, I suppose it’s possible to find a cheaper living arrangement but I chose to live in Manhattan because I’m closer to my friends. It’s not that I chose to live in Manhattan so I could live this fantasy world where I go out dancing every weekend at The Box or eat at Koi. Within this last year, I’ve sort of become this post-collegiate stoner cat person who writes, assists, and manages his own work at my desktop. I’ll go to Angelika Center and see the recent Woody Allen with a friend but I won’t buy a table at some club that has bottle service. Honestly, I really do enjoy the simple things and the convenience of where I live.
Do we Manhattanites or Brooklynites really pride ourselves on our living situations? It may sound silly but really…What does it mean to live in the time of living arrangement stereotypes? It’s not like everyone in Williamsburg listens to MGMT and everyone in Manhattan is bourgeoise and takes Uber. How does that affect the social landscapes and interactions in which we place ourselves?
I asked myself these questions and I couldn’t really pinpoint the frustration that seemed to be erupting within me. Much like the LA vs. New York debate that most of my NYU peers discussed when I had attended the university last year, this debate seemed to be surrounding me in real world settings such as the hair salon, bodegas, and coffee shops. It’s probably stemming from the constant exposure of such an argument that I’ve become that person who rolls his eyes. And here I am asking myself, “Does that make me pretentious?” Eventually, living costs will skyrocket (as they already have) and the debate will end. Right? Brooklyn and Manhattan will both be just as expensive. Where will that leave the millennials that pride themselves on living in New York, NY? Or Manhattan? Or Brooklyn? Whatever we settle for…
If Brooklyn does indeed become the equivalent of Manhattan in real estate price then I just hope that for all of us rent-stabilization is still a thing because we have financial challenges up ahead.