Okay, a little message to the fine folks at “Sex and the City” – we’re friends with the writers, and they are cool, funny, intelligent women. But could ya LAY OFF BROOKLYN ALREADY?
This week’s episode has Cynthia Nixon considering a move to Brooklyn with her husband, and the show treats the premise as nothing short of spiritual and emotional death. Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie has to bleat out several times how fuckin’ great Manhattan is, with the kind of self-satisfied glee that makes me understand why my brother Kent thinks New York is occasionally full of shit.
Let me tell you something about Manhattan. It is for three kinds of people: actors, alcoholics and age-appropriates. Actors really do need to live in Manhattan because their apartment acts as something of a dressing room between auditions; someone like Laurie Williams (who will be playing Tony’s mother in flashback this year on “The Sopranos”!) wouldn’t be able to get to Brooklyn and back for a 25-minute costume change.
Alcoholics need to live in Manhattan because it’s a lot easier to stumble home to your shithole in the East Village than to stumble across the Brooklyn Bridge. When Lars and I used to drink in Alphabet City, I felt blessed to live 300 yards away from aspirin and my bunk bed.
Age-appropriate means just that: if you’re 22 and single, it is way easier to hook up, drink, attend apartment parties and see bands with kids your age in Manhattan. Sure, that kind of life can be had in Williamsburg and Astoria too, but there is nothing better than the I Just Graduated From UVA and I Live With Six Of My Best Friends On Bleecker Street Guide to Life.
But these “Sex and the City” chicks are pushing 40 (Kim Cattrall is 47) and their characters are at least in their mid-30s. This Manhattan snobbery is puerile, mostly because I used to feel the same. In fact, I think I once told Michelle I wouldn’t even go above 14th Street in Manhattan. But actually living in Brooklyn has cured me of this insane disdain – it has Manhattan beat on so many levels that it’s useless to even begin a list.
I will say this: going outside in Brooklyn doesn’t cost you $40. The apartments are all one foot wider and two feet taller. When I walk down the block, I actually see the same people, and some of them know my name. Each entrée, while being just as stunningly yummy as a Manhattan meal, costs $5 less. On the Q train, I can get to Union Square in 15 minutes (from the Upper West Side, it can take 30). When I was a kid watching Sesame Street, I thought they were describing Manhattan; when I moved to Park Slope, I realized they were talking about here.
Tourists venturing to Manhattan hoping to have the “Sex and the City” experience will be sorely disappointed – in order to achieve it, you need:
a) to have lived there for ten years already
b) a rent-controlled apartment
c) seventeen million dollars.
I’m tired of being told Brooklyn is the place you go to surrender yourself to the boredom of middle age and family. That is utter hooey manufactured by the dream corporations that want you to believe in an ever-conquering Gotham. That Manhattan doesn’t exist anymore; they priced all the interesting people out of the market. Maybe the “Sex” writers think that Brooklyn is a spiritual death, but it was the place where I finally came alive.
And now we’re going to have our own basketball team. With a stadium mere blocks from my apartment. When the Nets play the Knicks, the guy making Manhattan catcalls from Row Y will be ME.
my block tonight, covered by the storm