Bensonhurst, Brooklyn –credit
After living in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn for most of my 44 years, I moved to Manhattan’s Gramercy Park neighborhood to live with my girlfriend. I’ve worked in Manhattan many times before, but I never envisioned myself moving to the borough because of the steep rents. Thank God for rent-stabilized apartments!
I’m excited to begin this new phase of my relationship with Silvia, and I know it’s only a short ride from the borough of Kings, but there are a few things about Manhattan that make me homesick for Brooklyn at times.
1. Dealing with Transients
People are always coming and going in Manhattan; you really never get to know your neighbors. Additionally, there always seems to be a couch or mattress clogging up the elevator on the weekends, making it difficult to get to our sixth floor apartment. I guess that’s a product of Manhattan’s revolving high-rent door.
While I was growing up, people moved to Brooklyn to settle down. Many generations followed the migration, and it created a family-friendly atmosphere for years to come. Brooklyn isn’t a place where people come for a year or two, usually. It’s a place where people come to make a home.
2. Higher Shopping Prices
The cost for everyday products are much higher, such as groceries, produce and even toilet paper. Thank God for coupons, and my CVS Extracare Card. And, we do shop in Brooklyn and Queens for the better deals. Sometimes it’s worth the trek when the savings are substantial.
|98 cents a pound for red bell peppers is unheard of in Manhattan!|
3. Missing the Brooklyn Pizza
What my heart, and taste buds yearn for the most is the pizza. Growing up in Bensonhurst, I had the privilege of chowing down at some of the best pizza places in Brooklyn, if not all of New York City. If you ever had the pleasure of feasting on a mouthwatering square at L & B Spumoni Gardens, you know what I am talking about. If you never did, the Sicilian comes with the cheese placed on top of the thick dough, and then it’s smothered in savory tomato sauce. In my opinion, the L & B square has set the standard for the NYC square.
DaVinci, J and V, and Lenny’s Pizza – the same place from which John Travolta orders two slices and proceeds to double them up, then devour the two cheesy pieces of goodness while strutting down 86th Street in the beginning of Saturday Night Fever—are also worthy establishments.
|A Grandma Pizza from Lenny’s –credit|
As for life in Manhattan, I’m adjusting and there are a couple of perks.
1. Comparable Manhattan Pizza Joints
For instance, there’s John’s Pizzeria in the West Village and Bleecker Street Pizza, where I can stuff myself silly with a delicious coal-fired brick oven pie or thin-crusted, scrumptious Nonna Maria slices, respectively. Yes, we New Yorkers are spoiled when it comes to our pizza! But I digress.
In addition, when I get a hankering for old-world Brooklyn, and don’t want to travel far, I head over to DeFonte’s on Third Avenue. It’s arguably one of the best sandwich shops in the city. The original Defonte’s is located in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
2. Celebrity Sightings
While Brooklyn does attract its fair share of celebrities, I can’t remember the last time I spotted one. One of the things I really like about living in Manhattan is the potential brush with greatness I could experience at any given moment. That moment happened a few months back, just before I met up with Silvia for dinner.
I was at a Starbucks when I bumped into former Saturday Night Live and King of Queens star Rachel Dratch. I do enjoy her comedic humor, especially her Debbie Downer character on SNL. But, of course, I didn’t geek out. I just flashed my jovial smile, and went back to work on my trusty laptop.
|Dratch, Starbucks drinker and television star. –credit|
3. Shorter Commute
As far as cutting down on travel time, I do like the fact that I am centrally located to the other boroughs—closer to Queens for one job, and a short train ride to Canarsie, Brooklyn to cover sports at Canarsie High School. Another positive: I’m not too far from the Staten Island Ferry, which takes me to visit my sister Luisa and her family, and my best friend Scott and his wife Jeannie.
Even though construction continues to muck up my weekend commute, I still spend a lot less time traveling on the iron horse. But, whether I am traveling from Brooklyn or from Manhattan, I still can’t seem to find a seat!
At this point, because of rising real estate prices, I am not sure how long we will stay in Manhattan. But if we do, I can see myself growing to love this borough over time. However, I will always have a special place in my heart for Brooklyn. It is my home and where I spent my formative years playing stoopball, stickball, wiffleball and Skully, a street game played in the New York City area using bottle caps filled with melted crayons on a board drawn with chalk.
Plus, it is only a quick train ride away for a nice family visit. Mom still makes a great Sunday Italian dinner! And, I’ll always be a Brooklynite at heart. You can take the kid out of Brooklyn, but you can’t take the Brooklyn out of the kid.
|Gorgeous Gramercy –credit|