Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Brooklyn Smug Reaches New Hideous Heights

"Oh, it's terrible in Manhattan, we can only imagine how awful it must be in Brooklyn," Manhattan people were emailing the night of the storm, before they couldn't really email any more. Yes: most of Brooklyn lost cable TV for about six hours. There were some twigs about on the broad sidewalks too. Although, the DVRs still played! So most Brooklynites didn't notice much of a thing, outside of the devastation of Red Hook and some more localized disasters, except when Brooklyn was blinded by the Ghostbusters-like shooting lights of Manhattan's power transformers exploding.

Now lots of downtown Manhattan hold-outs turned have-nots are refugees in Brooklyn—except for the likes of Lucy Sykes, who, somehow, chose to check into Soho House in the Meatpacking district, which is running on candles and flashlights. Now that's the definition of a Manhattan die-hard, if you'd rather stay downtown somewhere without power instead of taking off for a lesser borough (or, Keith McNally forbid, uptown). Kudos.

But for less devoted people who live in TriBeCa or Soho, from the financial district through the Flatiron, the best choice was to take refuge with friends in Brooklyn. In Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens, almost everything was open last night, and there was enough home-made burrata to go around. Well: barely! Buoyed in numbers by Manhattan refugees, most restaurants had hours-long waits last night. Smith Street was hopping. Awkward! Brooklyn smug never felt so cozy.

Over the last few years, the not really funny joke has been that Manhattan is the new Brooklyn. This time, it's official.

The tide (so sorry) turned a long time ago against Manhattan. All but one of Gawker's New York City-based writers live in Brooklyn—a borough that the site used to spit on just for fun as of a few years ago. And this will sound shocking to the youngs, but when older business-type people get together—the brokers and lawyers and even some of the finance folk—and someone reports that he lives in Brooklyn, the response is frank, hilarious horror. ("I live in Carroll Gardens," one man in a suit recently said to another man in a suit in Manhattan, and the listener put his fingers to his lips and said "Shh!") This is extra-funny, because now Brooklyn is too expensive for any of them to get in on at this late date, and the cost will be astronomical when they finally figure out that it's exactly what they wanted all along. (Around the same time interest rates hit 8%, and us mortals shuffle off to… whatever's after Brooklyn.)

Early this morning the heat came on in the brownstones with a gentle clank, awakening Brooklynites, whose third or fourth thought was surely of the poor un-showered people remaining in lower Manhattan. Now Brooklynites are finishing up their oodles of storm kale and letting their extra iPads decharge. After their third hand-crafted latte, they'll start wondering when the storm's houseguests are going to be able to push off back to poor old Manhattan.

Photo by Tanenhaus

31 Comments / Post A Comment

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

I've been joking (more accurately, if less funnily) that Manhattan is the new Jersey. And also that we ought to shut down the bridges and the tunnels before it spills over into Brooklyn too.

After going around the Williamsburg and Greenpoint yesterday, I have to tell you: our neighborhood ain't bad at all when it's just us. Especially with "the edge" evacuated.

MichelleDean (#7,041)

Queens smug also had a renaissance on the weekend. We didn't lose either cable or internet here in Astoria.

MichelleDean (#7,041)

@MichelleDean P.S. By weekend I plainly meant, "Two hellish days of hellfire."

jolie (#16)


jfruh (#713)

What about the Awl smug, since it hasn't had to migrate to a Tumblr?

BadUncle (#153)

FWIW, Choire, we had a cable / interwebs disruption for a few hours during the storm. And there's a definition shortage of muffins.

Multiphasic (#411)

My thoughts are with my friend in Brooklyn, mostly because the meatball sub from Best Pizza really is that good.

Daniel Roberts (#10,861)

the only form of comeuppance we in BK are now being served is that we cannot get into the city for shit– cabs are all full, traffic supposedly ruinous. I know someone who spent nearly two hours sitting on Brooklyn Bridge this morning in a cab trying to go to work. oh well!

MatthewGallaway (#1,239)

Washington Heights had/has power but is never smug because it's not a white-ppl nabe. (I'm admittedly a little smug, however, because I'm obv white.) The reason we have power in a non-white nabe is because Con Ed was forced to upgrade abt ten years ago after a Wahi-ONLY blackout; plus we're above the storm surge. Still, more on topic, I've been irate since reading a Park Sloper's email (sent last night, on which I was unfortunately cc'd) to someone in Florida saying that (and I quote) "everything's normal in NYC except for the subways." WHAT. THE. FUCK. Where is Robespierre when you need him?

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@MatthewGallaway For that matter, everything is normal in the entire world except that I can't get Tennis Channel for some reason!

City_Dater (#2,500)


Please stop issuing reminders that Up Here exists. Granted, one good blast of reggaeton or bachata is usually enough to scare really-ought-to-go-back-to-Greenwich types over to Hoboken, but still.

KenWheaton (#401)

I have DirecTV and live in Brooklyn. Signal never went out. Not even once. A branch fell onto my TimeWarner internet cable and yet it did not break!

And now I'm in Midtown working in my office that didn't lose power.

So it's actually lower "cool" Manhattan that is a third-world country at the moment.

Smug that.

Beside some messy leafage, my UWS neighborbood suffered very little while my office in FiDi has shut down indefinitely. Win win.

Lockheed Ventura (#5,536)

Yuck it up while you can. Lower Manhattan will get power back in a few days, but the subways are down for the count. This talk of 3-4 days for subway service is not realistic. Maybe for the 7 Line from Flushing to Queens Plaza.

Three weeks will be the most optimistic estimate, but it will take months. Some lines and stations may be be down for years. There is no money to repair the transit system. It could cost Tens of Billions to repair and the MTA is already leverage to the hilt. We are fucked.

Enjoy walking 7 miles from Cobble Hill to Midtown over the Brooklyn Bridge in January.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Lockheed Ventura There was no money for MTA because there was no political will upstate to give. There should be for this. One way or another there will be money for Wall Street to get its shit together, trust me.

C_Webb (#855)

Does anyone know why the aid to the housing projects in red Hook seems to be community-driven instead of via the Red Cross or FEMA? Yes, they were supposed to evacuate, but they didn't. Thousands of people with no power or food, and the relief effort is being run by Facebook? Gothamist says its the same for the projects in Lower Manhattan. If that's the case this could still be a Katrina. Anyone have better info?

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@C_Webb Just guessing: because there are areas of the country hit worse than Red Hook or LES. This was not an NYC-only disaster, let's not forget. Plus, as far as I know, it's not like SoHo and West Village are teaming with Red Cross and FEMA either.

@C_Webb Well the National Guard is assembling now…near Gramercy. Although that's because that's where the Armory is. Not sure exactly where they'll be deployed.

Lockheed Ventura (#5,536)

@C_Webb Not sure you need the Red Cross if you can ride a free MTA bus three miles to a fully operational McDonalds.

hockeymom (#143)

Who's the one Gawker writer?

Multiphasic (#411)

@hockeymom And more to the point, how fucking creepy that if you blog, Choire knows where you live.

laurel (#4,035)

So I should buy now in Manhattan is what you're saying.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@laurel I'd follow just behind the the water cannons clearing the blood off the streets, checkbook in hand.

laurel (#4,035)

@Niko Bellic: Eeesh, I didn't mean right now. I meant before the BK backlash begins.

klewis (#239,068)

Don't count your chickens Brooklyn. Manhattan will prolly find a way to bus all of it's new un-subterranean rats over there.

yanster (#239,093)

Carrol Gardens and Cobble Hill are not the only neighborhoods in Brooklyn!!! No one here even mentioned anything about South Brooklyn, its in complete devastation! Thousands of people lost their houses, businesses, and cars! This article is ridiculous since it doesn't say a word about how Brooklyn suffered!

beatrixkiddo1 (#2,988)

@yanster Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Breezy Point isn't really worrying about what Manhattan thinks as they clear out the smoking rubble. Though, as I write from Park Slope, I can say the smugness is hanging pretty thick in the air around here.

ilovemybug (#239,102)

Oh, hahaha, I'm so glad that Brooklynites have the opportunity to gloat after the worst natural disaster in recent history. Seriously, do their inferiority complex and their need for validation know no bounds? If the blogger of this quasi-article needs not being hit by a hurricane to feel good about where he/she lives, be my guest, just make sure you don't piss off your fellow Brooklynites with no power, or hot water.

Brooklyn makes, the world takes

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