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12 Things I’ve Learned Since Moving to Brooklyn

I don’t think I ever made the official announcement but as the title implies, I’ve taken the leap.

The leap across (insert name of correct river here because lets be real, I still don’t know which is what and which goes where) the river – or the subway.

There were a few reasons for this.

  1. I’m a single 20-Something in NYC and rent is really really not something I can afford.
  2. I like living by myself.  Drinking coffee in my underwear in the morning is just my thing.  Sorry future boyfriend, husband, whatever.
  3. I wanted a culture change, Midtown has NO personality so I decided to see what Brooklyn has to offer.
  4. More.  Room.  I live alone, I take up a lot of space that needs to be accurately accounted for.  (Yes, one person needs to have a couch and a chair – I don’t like being forced to sit anywhere.
  5. I heard a rumor that the cool kids lived in Brooklyn and since I’m def. a cool kid so, this was obviously where I had to go.

First, let me say that BROOKLYN and MANHATTAN are two different worlds…very different, confusing, and hard to manage worlds; everyone should set their expectations early when making the jump.

You’ll thank me.

1.  That subway stop that was 5 min away that you used to complain about is now 12.  In hindsight, not that big of a different, but in terms of catching the train that runs every 8 min so you’re not late to that weekly 9am meeting?  Yea, those few min count.  Alot.

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2.  Train delays are the norm.  As annoying as it was in Manhattan, they don’t even tell you why in Brooklyn – plan on at least 3 a day.

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3.  You walk more.  A lot more.  And if you’re wanting to build in your exercise into normal every day routines, than you’ve moved to the right place.  Be prepared to always have your walking shoes handy.

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4.  Your friends will want to visit.  Explaining how to get to your Brooklyn pad is much more confusing because suddenly numbered streets don’t exist.  Who knew guiding people with east, west, north and south could be so complicated.

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5.  Streets aren’t on a grid.  Good luck explaining why half of a street is called X and that it doesn’t cross with Y between E and G but suddenly reconnects between H and J.  Yea.  Good luck.  I’ve stopped inviting people over.

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6.  You will save money because nothing in convenient.  Nothing.  It’s not inconvenient but Starbucks not being next door to me is causing all kinds of emotional problems.

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7.  Receiving deliveries is an art.  The last thing you want is that little tangerine slip telling you something has been left at the post office because, lets be real, standing in THAT line is awful and no person wants to wake up at the ass crack of down to be, maybe, one of the first 20 people in line all with a tangerine slip.  The other option?  You stop going to work or order your packages on a specific day so that delivery happens on a specific day and you waste an entirety of what ever day that may be waiting for said package.  By this point, you don’t even want it so there is the money saving aspect…

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8.  Taxis?  Yea.  No.

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9.  You suddenly stop hanging out with anyone that lives in Manhattan.  You just, it’s not that you don’t want to be their friend, but it’s just not something you can do.  Your schedule, the time, the getting there?  It’s just – say goodbye now and schedule a one year reunion.

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10.  Moving to Brooklyn does not mean moving to all of BROOKLYN.  You move to your specific neighborhood in Brooklyn and what is surrounding that neighborhood.  You do not just venture to Williamsburg from Crown Heights. You do not meet friends in Cobble Hill (Garden? Whatever) for coffee because, getting anywhere other than your neighborhood is a science.  Who wants to science on the weekends?

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11.  It’s cheaper.  It is.  It’s true.  With your rent you actually get rooms, with walls and everything.  You get new appliances and maybe even central heating and air.  I was never a fan of the radiator model after all.

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12.  The culture is just…better.  There isn’t really culture in the traditional sense of the word in the popular Manhattan locations.  It’s all about work, showing off what you have and Brooklyn is just more…real.  NYC isn’t Sex and the City – it’s not a TV show or movie.  So it’s nice to be living in reality.

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At the end of the day, the grass isn’t greener on either side.  I have pros and cons for both and when it’s raining and all I want is a Starbucks, I hate Brooklyn.  When people are driving me crazy, I hate Manhattan.  Pluses.  Minuses.  All realities you don’t realize until you’ve lived both.

Glad to say I have.

LA – I think it’s time for me and you to become one because the one thing Manhattan and Brooklyn do have in common?  Winter.

I hate winter.

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Neighborhood Review: Chinatown

Given that Sarah just now got a job, and Vani is still teaching on summer hours, it was only natural that we seized the day and explore one of New York’s most elaborate neighborhoods, Chinatown. Hopefully, this is the first of many neighborhood reviews. Really, it’s more of a one day summary than a review, but for the sake of titling, we’ll stick with that.

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The day started a little later than we both would have liked, but that was due to the heavy amount of rain beating down on NYC. We came prepared, umbrellas and all.

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We step off at the Canal Street station and make our way among the crowd, tromping through the smell of fish guts, and street full of sewer water. Oh New York, how romantic you can be sometimes. As Chinatown does get a bad wrap for being dirty, it’s no dirtier than most of NYC. After spending much of the day there, I found it to be one of my favorite places in Manhattan.

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Although the temptation to scour knock-off purses buried deep inside vans parked on the street corners is always prevalent, we ditched the urge and both acknowledged our recent and ever-growing disappointment in the knock-off luxury brand department.

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Nearly a mile later, we got to lunch for some dim sum.  Thanks to hearing a shout -out on The Mindy Project, we settled on getting lunch at The Golden Unicorn. Apparently the Golden Unicorn is a famous place, so much so the wait on the weekends can get up to 3 hours long.

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Golden Unicorn is located in a shopping center, on the 3rd and 4th floor. There isn’t really a door. It’s sort of confusing. You walk in and feel like you have walked into the middle if a wedding reception. When you look at the picture below, the woman walking out of the elevator with her hand on her head clearly was as confused as we were when we walk onto the floor.

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Below, a store selling ingredients in the shopping center where Golden Unicorn is located.

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We left the area and stumbled upon Homer Simpson. There was a Chinese man sitting under his arm smoking a cigarette when we originally passed Homer, but he moved when I took the picture. Hater.

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Seen below is one of the best ice-cream shops in Manhattan. It lived up to reputation. I’ll be going back to Chinatown Ice Cream Factory very soon.

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Lunch and dessert, done. What else would we do? Drinks.  After Yelp-ing, and Google-ing the “must-dos” of Chinatown, we went to Winnie’s Bar and Restaurant.  Considering it was barely 3 in the afternoon, we were 2 of just 5 people there.  It was pretty dive-y, and the wall behind the bar was covered with pictures of Winnie with various important looking people, the only one of which we recognized was Bill Clinton.  Who exactly is Winnie? No idea.

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After ice cream we stumbled into a bar called Whiskey Tavern. It was a small, savvy place. Located not too far away from the Financial District, it started to fill up fast around five. We grabbed a drink and the bar tender gave us each a balloon. Why? Not sure? Why not?

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After the bar, we hit Eataly, which… is not in Chinatown. Sorry. We have no shame here. We also don’t have picture of the food… because we were too busy eating it. #doublefail. We do have a pic of the vino! And above all else, the place was amazing. For only a thirty minute wait, we were thrilled.

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So, this isn’t as extensive as a review as we hoped, mainly because we were more consumed with consuming than we were with note taking. But, all-in-all the experience was fantastic. I don’t even know where to start with Chinatown, you can’t cover it in a day. You just can’t. A place as established and unique deserves much more coverage and investigating. So, the jury is still out on this one. We’ll keep you posted.