So it’s been a while since I blogged last – and that’s really for two reasons. Firstly, I traversed the Atlantic on a marathon 10-day work/social trip back to London. And secondly, as mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been moving apartment.
You may recall that I had ‘auditioned’ for an apartment share in Brooklyn. Well, it turned out that the guy ended up offering the room to someone else (the audacity!). Nevertheless, it all worked out well because behind door number two was Mr Cool Advertising Dude, who offered me a room in the Polish/hipster enclave that is Greenpoint. So several taxi rides and Ikea trips later, here I am happily blogging from Brooklyn. And what a difference already!
Gone are the endless sirens, frenetic beeping of horns and pushy hordes of people that characterise Manhattan (well, except on the end of my daily commute into the city). In their place are peace and quiet, hipsters galore and unobscured views of the sky. I won’t pretend I haven’t had pangs of regret about leaving Manhattan (a la ‘what do you mean, this place isn’t open 24 hours?’). But all in all, Brooklyn has a far more chilled out – and if I may say – authentically cool vibe than its snootier neighbour over the water. And that starts even with the people.
To generalise, Manhattan Man is more shiny, more contrived. He’s into designer labels, flashing the cash and wants (even if he can’t yet afford) the best of everything. By contrast, Brooklyn Boy is far more interested in shabby chic, clinging on to his youth and expressing himself through a hipster aesthetic (de rigueur beard, charity shop clothes, pretentious black specs).
There are not many of us suited types on the G train to Manhattan in the morning. But then, I’m not sure asymmetric hair would go down a treat at my office either, so I’ll have to deal with being a fish out of water on both sides of the East River.
They say that the best view of Manhattan is from across the water. I’d say that also extends to the best perspective on Manhattan. When you’re immersed in it, it’s hard to see if it for what it is. From a slight remove, you can also get a better handle on life in the city – the good, the bad and the ugly.