You Got to Move It, Move It… to Brooklyn

If you live in Manhattan and you work in media, new or old, then chances are decent that at some point you’ll move across the East River and take up a nicer, more spacious residence in Brooklyn. The environs are cleaner, the life less hectic, the population friendlier and the real estate generally more affordable. I’ve watched lots of my friends do that over the years. More power to them, I thought. But at the same time I quietly told myself that I liked it so much in Manhattan’s East Village that I’d never be one of those folks. Not me.

Except, sooner or later if you live in the East Village, chances are decent that you’ll get tired of the East Village, too. After eight-plus years, I’ve grown intensely weary of that neighborhood’s overripe scenester vibe, its unkempt landscape, and mostly its Friday and Saturday night massacres: crowded sidewalks full of drunken fraternity boys, desperate sorority girls and tragic hipsters, raucously enjoying their youth — as is their right, I admit — late into the night. Pesky kids!

Doin’ It for the Dog

This dissatisfaction of mine has been festering well enough on its own, but what really threw me over the top was the fact that even my dog got tired of the East Village. Once Mister President got a taste of the fenceless territory of Fort Greene Park or, better yet, the wide and wild vista of Prospect Park (during designated off-leash hours, of course), his enthusiasm for the penned-in, pint-sized lot at the Tompkins Square dog run faded quickly.

After those free-range romps, it became impossible to get him any sort of workout in the East Village. If you’ve had experience with a dog of any notable level of energy, then you know that part of one’s responsibility as an owner is to simply keep your canine companion entertained through physical exercise. An under-exercised dog is almost as much of a nuisance as a best friend, and that’s what the East Village was giving me.

Here, Now

So sometime in late April I got it into my head on a Wednesday that it was time to give in to Brooklyn, and by some miracle, I had a signed lease by Sunday afternoon for a quite respectable one-bedroom in the Boerum Hill neighborhood. As is often the case with Brooklyn, this new apartment is nicer, bigger and considerably cheaper than the one I had in the East Village. But I count myself really, really lucky to have found it, by virtue of the fact that it was remarkably affordable in an overheated rental market and, more importantly, it has a dishwasher. It’s true; I didn’t know they existed in New York City apartments, but one does in fact discover all sorts of wonders after crossing the East River.

All of which is to say that this is the reason I haven’t been blogging consistently this month. Moving requires a nontrivial physical and mental effort; all that sorting and organizing and boxing, to say nothing of actually un-boxing and re-sorting and re-organizing once you’re in your new location. It leaves little time left over to blog, especially when, like me, you have a kind of defeatist, it’ll-never-get-done attitude towards the physical act of somehow collecting all of your worldly possessions together to relocate your place of residence. But, somehow I did it! As of midday Saturday, I’m now a Brooklyn resident, and I’ve even managed — through some manic, Herculean effort — to unpack all but four remaining boxes in my new place. So I’m officially settled in. Hooray. If you’re one of my new neighbors, let’s go get a beer.

  1. I always thought you’d be a Manhattan-for-lifer.

    Heh, glad to see that Mr. President showed you the light — all that extra space has to be great.


  2. Khoi~

    Just spent the weekend visiting friends in Brooklyn. I’ve got to say as a non-New Yorker who had never been to Brooklyn, that is one cool place. Congratulations on the new diggs. Be sure to check out the great Mojito’s & Cuban fare @ the Cuban Cafe on Smith St. Next time I am up to visit will give you a shout.


  3. Ah memories, Prospect Park and Fort Greene Place: I lived in Park Slope while attending JHS 51 and then Brooklyn Tech HS over in Fort Greene. Somewhere in there, I moved to B’klyn Heights where I’ve walked over the B’klyn bridge on more than one occasion 🙂 cutting school to cruise the Village and Canal Street (back in the Keith Haring studio days – life was great). I was too young for Studio 54 but had older friends that could tell a story or two…

    Alas, I’m back home in SC now, albeit not my home town of Mt. Pleasant, but still, visits to my sister a block off front beach IOP is worth the 3.5 hr trip.

    Remarkably, I will be back in NYC for the first time since ’88 in 2 wks. I am bringing my wife there (her first trip) and am almost scared I won’t wanna come back. All I’ll have to do though is think of daily boat escapades after work, playing on the inner-coastal, something I definitely couldn’t do in NY!

    btw: speaking of Smith Street, I lived on Henry St., 2 blocks over, small world, it was good to see the old homesteads in the new google map street views yesterday and B’klyn Tech through M$’s aerial view at 49 Fort Greene Place (who could forget an address for a HS with 6000 people in it? – the same # for the sailors on the Navy carrier I was on. Sorry for the boggart, thinking of pizza got me goin…

  4. Hummm.

    What does a regular apartment in Brooklyn cost these days? How about in comparison to where you used to live?
    For comparison: I live in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, right in the heart of downtown – a nice one bedroom, hardwood throughout, 11ft ceilings, off-street parking, all for $650 a month with utilities included. Very curious to know the vicinity of things in NY

  5. As a resident of Boerum Hill (and rss-reading lurker on this site), I must say that BH is perhaps the best neighborhood in the city. Welcome to the neighborhood, and thanks for letting out the secret 😉

    It might be a little tough to find a good dog run in the immediate walking vicinity, although I suppose FG park is worth the walk.

  6. It’s funny, my wife and I were just talking about how we thought we’d probably get one more apartment out of living in San Francisco before we had to escape to the East Bay and have more space, puppies and babies.

  7. Brooklyn is amazing! Congratulations! I’ve been thinking about moving back into the city, but for now I’m exiled on the west coast!

    My two sisters are living there, Park Slope and Bay Ridge/Bensonhurst area, and they’ve loved it for quite some time now. The park is really nice. The dog should be happy roaming around the park area a lot, if only for the street names!

  8. I highly recommend the Brooklyn Inn for that beer–as long as it’s still in its current incarnation. It may soon be turned into some kind of restaurant. Go play a game of pool in the back, while you still can. That is one of Brooklyn’s exquisite pleasures.

    Bergen at Hoyt St.

  9. Congrats. Hats off the the Pres for vetoing Manhattan. I hope Carlos was the one who finally got you the apt.

    Beer=Six Points… take the bus (or walk) to Red Hook. Enjoy!

  10. Welcome to Brooklyn!

    If you ever want to take a trip up to McCarren park it’s a great place for dogs as there is a large dog park, and during the leash-law hours McCarren park is a great place to let him run around.

    Our apartment, on top of a dishwasher, has a washer and dryer. I thought that was impossible here. I love Brooklyn. I hate the L train =)

  11. Khoi,
    Congratulations on your move. I rarely (though sometimes) miss Manhattan; I often (always?) miss Brooklyn.

  12. I lived in the Lower East Side only briefly for a summer internship in college. Those precious 3 months were enough to teach me that I may love Manhattan, but if I were to ever really live in New York, I would need a Brooklyn address.

    Of course, I’m in Boston, so this thought does me little good.

  13. Ah, congrats, Khoi, that will be nice for you and Mister President. I have to say, one of the things I totally admired about you from the talk of yours that I attended was your devotion to walking to work. As a hopeless midwesterner in an overweight, car-bound city, that was really refreshing to hear. But enjoy the cheaper rent!! Now I’ll just have to be awed by your sweet job and your design skills 😉

  14. Brooklyn, the Better Borough

    Don’t forget the beach down in Rockaway during the summer, especially the northeastern end toward the county line—you’d never know you were in the big city.

  15. Congrats on the new move. Usually people make the exodus from Manhattan, like you just did. but it’s funny, my girlfriend and I made the reverse journey since we lived in Brooklyn to begin with, carroll gardens actually. Not sure if you’ve ventured much in your area yet or not, but one of the best bars in NYC is on smith st., called Camp. right off the Bergen St. F stop. Good luck.

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