Well, we finally did it. Over 20 years living in Manhattan and contemplating the move to Brooklyn for at least 5 of them, we finally took the plunge. Fort Greene, is a mere 3.2 miles from our regular stomping grounds in TriBeCa and it feels like a million miles away. In my running days, a 3.2 mile run was a piece of cake and absolutely nothing to shrug about. Now that 3.2 mile subway ride to work, sometimes twice a day, feels like a bit of a commitment. For the past 2 years, we have lived in Chelsea, and the trip to Tribeca was a mere 2.2 miles, so why does 3.2 miles seem like at least twice the distance??
It has only been a few weeks, but I’ve put together a few glaring differences between Manhattan and Brooklyn for those considering the move. Thanks also to my friends who have also recently moved to Brooklyn, for their input!
- It’s green! And blue! I can see actual big open sky from my kitchen window. Not a common occurrence in Manhattan. What a refreshing way to wake up.
- Community – this neighborhood feels very much like a community. We have only been here a short time and already it feels like we are recognized in the shops we frequent. It also feels like we are surrounded by families. Having lived in many neighborhoods in Manhattan, I have only felt a similar community experience in Tribeca. Some, however, may prefer the anonymity of going to the same coffee shop every day and never getting a smile of recognition.
- Flea Market – The Fort Greene Flea is right nearby and aside from the enjoyable treasure hunting on a Saturday afternoon, it has the best street food in the whole city! We have lunch there whenever we can.
- Two way streets – a tough one to get used to for someone who has lived in Manhattan for 20 years. I have stepped into oncoming traffic more than once because so many streets out here are two-way and not one-way.
- Serenity – although we live on a pretty busy street, it still seems quieter, and less frenzied than Manhattan. The tree lined streets and diminished bus traffic make a big difference. In addition, we have actually seen some homes here with front lawns which our dog really likes!
- Fort Greene Park: Speaking of dogs – on certain days, at certain times, Fido is allowed off leash to roam free in the park. A doggy dream come true!
- Location, location, location – traveling back and forth to Manhattan – sometimes two or three times a day – can get tiresome. Don’t underestimate the amount of times you will just need to run into Manhattan for this or that during the transition process. I do believe with a little organization and planning ahead, we will be able to reduce that to back and forth once a day. Also, with 2 kids in Manhattan schools and afterschool activities still based near there, the commute can be a bit much.
- Convenience: Fort Greene has a few lovely markets, but for a complete grocery store experience, you have to leave the neighborhood. In addition, I never thought I would miss the Duane Reade, CVS and Rite Aid on every corner, but I realize now I actually used those stores quite a bit. They are not as common in Brooklyn – again requiring some planning ahead.
- Friends: If I had a nickel for every time I heard a Manhattanite say – “You’re not going that far – we will visit all the time!”, I would be a very wealthy woman. Alas, relationships dwindle in the East River. I am guilty of that myself. There is something about crossing that bridge into the unknown, that seems so arduous. People would rather travel from one end of the island to the other than to take the subway a few stops into Brooklyn. I sure hope my friends either follow suit and move here, or break tradition and come visit!
To learn more about the Brooklyn neighborhoods see the following posts:
Down Under the Manhattan Bridge (DUMBO)