Friday, April 06, 2007

C'Mon, Manhattan, I Thought We Had a Deal

What's up Manhattan? This is Brooklyn. I thought we had a deal.

This is how it's always worked: People who live in Manhattan get the coveted 212 area code. When they leave the city, they have Manhattan bragging rights with which to make Midwesterners and suburbanites jealous (since outside of the boroughs Brooklyn is known only as the place at which Miranda Hobbs turned up her pert little lawyer nose). Manhattanites can walk to work, and they're in close proximity to the high temples of gastronomy. We bow to you, Manhattan, and your captains of commerce and industry who plunk down a cool million to live in a 500-square foot studio in the West Village. We bask in your glow during the week, when we help support your many gyms and delis at lunch and downtown bars and cozy eateries at night.

Brooklynites, historically, have gotten something in exchange for our second-class status. We get bigger, cheaper, apartments with crown molding and character and fireplaces, and backyards in which to grill. We "endure" a 15-minute commute so we can enjoy trees and birds and open green spaces. We put up with jokes about B&T (even though we all know that means JERSEY and LONG ISLAND) because frankly, we like keeping the paradise that is Brooklyn a secret. The trashier you think it is, the fewer of you will come visit, and we can hog all of its brownstone glory for ourselves. We love having restaurants that deserve inclusion in the Michelin guide, but never make it because no one knows about them. And God forbid they do, or we'll never get in again: I'm looking at you, Good Fork.

But apparently, the secret got out.

Manhattan, you are now officially violating one of the key agreements of our deal: limited weekend inter-borough bar mingling.

This one has never been a problem for me. Come Friday at five, I get over the Brooklyn Bridge as fast as I can, back into the large, welcoming bosom of Brooklyn (aka "the Better Borough"). Bars in Manhattan are pleasant enough during the week. Starting Fridays I make way for the stampedes of B&T and horny investment bankers who are easily drawn to fisticuffs should someone accidentally step on their Kenneth Coles in a mad dash for a key bump in the bathroom. Girls with flat-ironed hair and 200 of daddy's dollars in their designer handbags stand 10 deep at the bar, impeding my ability to drink myself out of the distinctive misery that is a weekend in Manhattan. And once I finally get there, bartenders charge $18 for a skimpy pour of Stoli. No thanks, you can have it, Manhattan.

But YOU'RE GOING BACK ON YOUR END OF THE DEAL. You are turning the tables and invading Brooklyn on the weekends, Manhattan. Before, I could enjoy a leisurely game of bocce at Floyd or commandeer an entire section of couches and tables at Abilene for my birthday party. I could reliably depend that the men at any bar I chose would be either friends of friends or, if strangers, intelligent, floppy-haired, well-read gents who probably would LIKE to go home with me, but wouldn't try to get me to do so with cheesy pickup lines or by waving their huge fat wallet in my face.

Manhattan, we're going to have to renegotiate our terms. You're slowly taking my bars away from me; what have you got in return? Don't make me go to Queens. Just don't make me do it.

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