In the latest NY Times real estate article that uses Brooklyn (specifically Park Slope) as the end-all, be-all entity for young professionals, we find out that Brooklyn expats have been known to come home again. Some for good, others for a short visit when the suburbs they moved to prove to be unfulfilling.
For many young parents who make the leap to suburbia for the usual reasons — more space, better schools and a more manageable lifestyle — Brooklyn is still very much a part of their identity. Particularly for those who are hesitant to fully embrace the minivan culture, visiting an old haunt isn’t just a trip down memory lane — it’s also what they’re doing on Saturday. And for some, their suburban experiment eventually leads them back to their beloved borough, because they find that they really can’t leave Brooklyn.
“I’ve lived in cities all my life — Chennai, India, San Francisco — but Brooklyn was the hardest to leave. I loved our neighborhood,” said Shilpa Srinivasan, a 36-year-old artist. She and her husband, Shyam Nagarajan, 38, a global sales leader for IBM, and their 3-year-old daughter, Janani Shyam, recently moved to Ridgewood, N.J.
The Times finds a few more couples who moved out of Brooklyn only to come back to live in tiny, overpriced apartments. Among the realizations:
- You need a car to go everywhere in the suburbs. Mike Julianelle, who moved to Raleigh, N.C., tells the Times, "I’m glad we tried suburbia, because now we know it isn’t for us. In Brooklyn, we would spend entire weekends wandering the neighborhood with no real plan, stopping at parks and playgrounds, at bars and restaurants and shops, and time would fly. In Raleigh, you needed a destination, a schedule and a tank of gas."
- DIY projects are a pain in the ass. Julianelle's wife Heather Millen admitted, "It doesn’t interest me, the whole ‘fixing up the house. I like to go out and do things.” In Brooklyn, every weekend is a new adventure for Lucian, she added: “Yesterday he was at Pride, today he was at the Big Apple barbecue fest. In Raleigh, you felt sequestered in your house."
- Brooklyn is part of the gorgeous mosaic of New York City. Hannah Farnham said her husband, who is Korean, "thought that we stuck out in Brookline [Massachusetts] as an interracial couple. We really didn’t, but because Brooklyn is so diverse, you just feel protected there."
- Your child actually likes it in Brooklyn. Farnham's daughter Ruby Kim said, "This may sound strange, but I missed the noise. Brookline is much quieter, less busy. Brooklyn is all hustle and bustle. I realized that I like that."
This is ground Gothamist has tread upon before. Native New Yorker Jake Dobkin, when asked, "Now That I'm A Parent Should I Move To The Suburbs?" had this to say:
You should definitely leave New York. Hit the road! Vamoose! Ged da fuuuuhhhck oud. There's no time like the present: if you start looking for a house now, your kid can be enjoying the clean air and stupefying boredom of suburban life by Christmas!
If you don't mind spending two hours a day commuting, don't get suicidally depressed shopping at the White Plains Mall, and look forward to schlepping your kids by car to every appointment they have for the next 18 years, well, my friend, you have a strength of character that we natives do not. Therefore, you owe it to us to leave to New York, and to make room for those of us who have to stay. This is a moral obligation and a sacrifice you must make for the greater good and to reduce competition for real estate.
Another observation: Your kids will know more about lacrosse than the IRT. A Park Slope native who is staying in Summit, NJ for now because the NYC pubic school system is a bitch laments about her children's strength of character, "It kind of kills me that they won’t have that inherent knowledge of the city like I do. For instance, they won’t know without looking at a subway map how to get from Brooklyn to TriBeCa. I don’t know why that makes me sad. I guess it just feels like street cred or something."
Indeed; in January, when the question about raising kids in NYC came up again, I wrote about about the benefits of raising your child in the city, "I want my daughter to have the edge when she sacrifices her slowest friend while trying to outrun the older bullies. If you raise your child in New York, he or she will know what good pizza is, never fall for a broken bottle/glasses scam, learn that you never toast a fresh bagel, and grow into a connoisseur of bodega cats. These are important skills and personality traits to cultivate in order to never be taken as a fool in life."
Also, don't you want to be with all the other parents waiting over an hour to see They Might Be Giants do a kiddie show in Williamsburg?
(P.S. It was totally worth the wait—there was a confetti cannon during "Dr. Worm"!)