I felt that the blog two weeks ago about my love for Brooklyn deserved a follow up. So the challenge became, what more could I say beyond professing my love for the city in which I live than outlining specific reasons why I feel this way.
Brooklyn, how I love thee, let me count the ways.
First, Brooklyn has a rich history. I live at the corner of Cortelyou Road and that is meaningless to anyone who doesn’t live in Brooklyn, except that it is one of the oldest roads in the United States, dating back to colonial times. I also live very close to Kings Highway, which is rumored to have been the road used by King George on his visit here, thus, “Kings Highway.” Get it? As a Social Studies teacher, I am tickled to know that I share the ground with many others that make up this incredible history. Speaking of history and celebrity, there are so many great Brooklynites…
The list includes, supreme court justices, basketball greats, innovative movie directors, famous singers, presidential candidates and of course, celebrity judges.
Second, Brooklyn is very diverse. This diversity ranges from food, to people to neighborhoods. Each with their own distinctiveness. In any conversation with a true Brooklyn native, they will identify with their neighborhood, not necessarily the borough. Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Bedstuy, Brownsville, Bushwick (apparently, Brooklyn has an affinity for B-neighborhoods). Canarsie, Cobble Hill, Park Slope, Fort Greene, Red Hook, Midwood, Crown Heights, East New York, and of course my very own, East Flatbush. Each neighborhood rich with its own story. We are all part of one borough however, and enjoy a shared culture of difference. Brooklyn offers us a smorgasbord of gastronomic experiences; oxtail, beef patties, rice and pinto beans, quesadillas, pernil, veal parmigiana, chicken and broccoli. The list is endless and as diverse as the people whose culture they represent. According to the 2016 census bureau estimates, at over 2.5 million, Brooklyn has the largest and fastest growing population of the other four.
Third, Brooklyn is not pretentious. I grew up in New York City and although I have lived only in Brooklyn, I have worked, attended school or simply visited every other borough. My husband (who was actually born here) and I have identified distinct traits unique to each of the other four. Disclaimer: If you are not from Brooklyn and continue reading, you will be offended! Queens is a sleepy town; not very interesting, yearning desparately to be a Long Island suburb, but still too urban. Staten Island is an island all onto its own. They want nothing to do with the other four boroughs and if they could physically break off from us they would. The Bronx, still a bit scary, if you don’t belong there, you just shouldn’t be there. Manhattan is where most of the pretenders live, paying too high a price for so little living space. Then of course, there is Brooklyn, where the most real of all New Yorkers live. It is a borough woven together by the fibers of the largest immigrant population, and with native Brooklyneers all living in a space which is close enough to everything but just far enough away.