"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