when i lived in nyc five years ago, brooklyn was emerging as a viable, trendy option. williamsburg around bedford avenue was already filled with hipsters, but not gentrified to today's extent. also moving to brooklyn was usually a sign of the inability to afford living in manhattan or starting a family. i moved to billyburg because a part of me enjoys the slightly grimier surroundings and i traded my closet sized hole in soho to an actual room.
not today. a viable option has transformed to preference: an increasing number of people voluntarily and willingly choose brooklyn over manhattan. the neighborhoods are buzzing with restaurants, cafes, bars, stores and beautiful parks. the streets are lined with brownstones with cosy backyard gardens and the interiors of the houses are often completely revamped and modern. in comparison the minute greenery, the noise and the rather small villagey areas of manhattan that lose their appeal in the eyes of trendy new yorkers, the small neighborhoods of south brooklyn all walking distance from each other are attracting flocks of people just minutes from manhattan and with almost as much green grass only a few blocks away as you'd have at central park east.
needless to say, the most significant change in my trip this time was the time spent east of the east river – manhattan seemed to offer very little. to my biggest surprise i actually did not step once into the east village where i used to go regularly before. instead i walked the streets of my beloved williamsburg in addition to fort green (pic above), boerum hill, cobble hill and greenpoint.
although the streets of brooklyn neighborhoods are greener and more spacious, the vibe of nyc is present. the economy has affected all of the big apple and people are less pompous and more laid-back, but the active optimism that pushes new yorkers is constantly apparent in the everyday lives of young brooklynites.
hence, most of my forthcoming recommendations will be from brooklyn. i will write about restaurants, stores and museums; anything else you wanna hear about? let me know!