A reader writes:
I stopped you Sunday to say hi while you and your husband were walking the dogs. You had the "fuck this shit" look on your face, so I was hesitant to bother you. But your face changed and you were gracious and kind regardless of how terrible it must be walking dogs in the streets of New York. My wife and I have been here for almost a year and it does get better. You'll get into a rhythm soon enough. You should have moved to Brooklyn though. Manhattan is a hellish nightmare.
Another is on the same page:
It does gets better. Moving sucks, yes, but New York is the most vibrant, energetic, diverse city on the planet. (And I say this from experience, as a fellow Brit who's travelled all over the world and previously lived in DC, London, Paris and Moscow.) I hope you had the good sense to move to Brooklyn instead of Manhattan. Brooklyn feels a lot like London to me. Much more livable than the craziness of Manhattan, but still only a short subway ride from that craziness when you do want to immerse yourself in it.
Why do I get the feeling that Brooklyn-living Bodenner edited these emails? Another:
Please don't tell me you moved to Manhattan. Why? Did you ever consider that the cost of living and the (relative) lack of stress would make Brooklyn or Queens so much more attractive a place to live? I've been living in Brooklyn for over 9 years now, and for all the hype and counter-hype that comes with it, there's a reason I'm still there. I've lived in DC for a short while as well, and if you wanted to replicate the Dupont Circle or Adams Morgan life, you'd have done better to go to Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, or (my new neighborhood) Fort Greene.
Another Brooklyn booster:
I assume you made the mistake of moving into Manhattan. Most out-of-towners who move here think, "Well of course I have to be in Manhattan! That's where all the action is!" You'll quickly learn how much and how often Manhattan residents look down on their poor friends who "suffer" in the Burroughs. Those of us who have made the wise choice of moving to Brooklyn have managed to find a much better balance between the chaos of the city and the desired solitude of home, and we just chuckle at the fools in Manhattan who are under the illusion that they've got it so good.
I have a dog, and I work in SoHo, but I live in Prospect Heights in Brooklyn. Rent is MUCH CHEAPER. There are trees. There are less cars, taxis, people. I take a 25 minute ride on the best subway system in the country to get to work. When I arrive in SoHo the energy can sometimes be exhilarating and sometimes annoying, especially the sheer volume of tourists. But after a long day, I hop back on the subway, veg out, come up to the quietude of Brooklyn, and reclaim the bit of my soul that may have been ground down to a pulp during the day. I can take my dog for a walk that involves negotiating dozens of trees and bushes, choosing from a number of small or large parks, and so forth.
If I were forced to live in Manhattan in order to work here, I would have moved away years ago! Brooklyn is the best of both worlds.
If you enjoyed your DC lifestyle, and are now dreading the NYC thing, I can only assume that you screwed up and signed a lease in Manhattan. Don’t worry. It’s a common mistake for people moving here to sign a lease in the city. Do yourself a favor when you get back to New York. Pick a beautiful fall day and jump on the subway and go meet one of your friends at the Brooklyn Flea. Or take a stroll through the north side of Prospect Park (there are much better areas of the park, but that’s a good starter journey). Take the F train to York St. and walk through DUMBO. Walk through the brownstone neighborhoods of Fort Greene, Prospect Heights, Park Slope or Brooklyn Heights. You BELONG here. You will love it. I can tell you: It is the best of both worlds. You are in the city, but you have space. You have trees. You have vibrant neighborhoods that feel interconnected. Trust me on this!
Come visit Brooklyn! If you want a reprieve from the madness that is Manhattan (where it sounds you have moved), come check out Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill, Park Slope, and the surrounding area. The food is incredible and varied (Mile End, Bark Hot Dogs, Ample Hills Creamery, the General Greene, Beast restaurant, Salt, Brooklyn Fare, etc etc), the pace is a bit slower (it's where the yuppies and hipsters move to have their babies so more strollers but less people), the brownstone environs are beautiful, everyone has dogs, and there are a thousand things to see and do. Your beagles would love Prospect Park or Fort Greene (off-leash before 9AM, where we bring our pup), the brand-new Brooklyn Bridge promenade is a lovely walk with an incredible view of Manhattan, you can spend a day browsing the great crafts at the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene, the bar scene is much more friendly, less crowded and mostly meathead free, and there is music and events everywhere you turn.
A final selling point:
There are more beards in Brooklyn.