I love Brooklyn. I love it so much that I should have been a native, however, I moved from Chicago when I was a teenager and lived in various parts of Manhattan.
When my daughter was 9 months old we were looking for a “bigger bang for our buck” and our friends said Brooklyn, and in particular Park Slope, was a great place to raise a child. They said we would become more Brooklyn crazy than most natives — and they were right. Now we’re here almost 20 years.
At first I wasn’t quite sure where we were — it took some months to get a geographic sense of where exactly Brooklyn is in the city. In addition, I was a bit slow to wean off the years of shopping habits I had established living up in the West 80s, and of course we had to make new friends.
The first thing I did was to go out of my way to meet other moms close by with babies. I had formed a very successful mommy-baby group in our old neighborhood and knew how fortifying it was, so I was pretty determined to do it again. Fortunately for us, our lovely tree-lined brownstone block afforded many possibilities, and it wasn’t too long before the Third Street Playground in Prospect Park and the playground at PS 282 in the North Slope became regular pit stops and new first-name-basis friends multiplied.
Back in the early ’90s, Brownstone Brooklyn was like a group of small wonderful villages. In fact, they reminded me of the way the West Village used to be many years ago. No chain stores of any kind, but a variety of small local businesses dotting all the main streets. The Slope was on the way up and, as it turned out, we had come in the first wave of newcomers that, in years to come, would push Park Slope — as well as Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill — to the upper levels of the real estate boom and gentrification.
With that, for us, would come the second of our major moves — across Atlantic Avenue to the other side of Flatbush to another historic landmarked community, the gorgeous and well-hidden Clinton Hill, where we have lived for the past 13 years. In the past few years, like other neighborhoods in Brooklyn, it has become less hidden as the real estate moguls found it and upped our property values and taxes by leaps and bounds. Anyway, things are always changing.
I love the diversity of Brooklyn and the variety that I can find here. I love the bridges and ocean and the skyline of Manhattan is one of the best views in the city. I have loved raising my daughter here and she has had the best of both worlds — proximity to the culture of New York and the multi-cultural reality of this borough of Kings. Do you know that Brooklyn, without the rest of the city, is still the fourth largest city in the country? I didn’t, but I do now and I can tell you with a tremendous amount of pride that it’s great to be the publisher of Brooklyn Family and to tell people everywhere I go that I’m from Brooklyn.
©2010 Community News Group