There is a lot to not like.
I have observed a lot about Brooklyn from a below-street-level garden apartment. I’ve listened to the tinkling of cans and bottles at 2 AM as a homeless man rummaged through the garbage in search of recyclables.
I’ve monitored constant traffic working its way around the double-parked cars on our block. The irregular, but never-ending, honk of horns punctuates the background music of truck roars and brake squeels.
Yesterday, somebody was sitting on the stoop next door yelling into his cell phone. From his idling automobile, double-parked nearby, came the pulsing throb of music. The rumble of lobstermen’s trucks heading to work at 3 AM in Stonington is a lullaby in comparison.
There is a lot of everything in Brooklyn
You name it, Brooklyn has got it. In spades. Restaurants and food, for starters. There is 24/7 home delivery of meals (thank you FreshDirect) as well as any kind of ethnic cuisine. There is home delivery of washed, folded and ironed laundry and every mode of pet care. Great museums and theater (dozens of options; how to decide?) are a few subway stops away. Even sports teams supply culture.
Everyone is looking for that slight advantage
People are always jockeying for something. Subway riders jostle for space. Pedestrians struggle for the shortest route down the sidewalk. Commuters hail a cab in the middle of the street. Everyone is trying to gain a slight advantage in every daily activity. Does having a lot, and having a lot of choices, inspire more desire? It certainly inspires competition. The friction between people and their activities is palpable.
Or looking for something
A few days ago, I was sitting on a bench on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade overlooking the East River, New York harbor and the BQE (that’s the Brooklyn Queens Expressway to you). My laptop was balanced on my lap as I tried to write this blog post. I must have looked like a local.
First I was approached by two Swedes who wanted to discuss real estate prices. I spoke knowledgeably about monthly rents and sale prices (insert “too high” here). Subsequently, eight French tourists stopped in front of me to ask for a group photo and guidance to the subway. I took the photo, with the new World Trade Center in the background, and gave them directions to Borough Hall subway station. I hope they found it.
Sixty percent of my grandchildren live in Brooklyn
Yet, I will miss some parts of Brooklyn. Sixty percent of my grandchildren live here (the rest on the West Coast). I will miss my three little girls (courtesy of my older daughter). I will miss the life that she and her family have carved out in this concrete jungle. I can see myself with a small apartment in this teeming place. I can envision regular trips to visit.
I am looking forward to slowing down in Maine. I am looking forward to a walk in the woods with no one for miles around. I am looking forward to smiling at people on the sidewalk. How will I respond to the quiet of Stonington? We’ll find out soon and that will inform how long and how frequent my trips back will be.
Photo: Sam snaps a selfie on the Brooklyn Promenade. The Manhattan skyline and the new World Trade Center are visible in the background.
Editing: Debbie combined two of my Brooklyn Promenade riffs to create this post.