There is something foul afoot in Manhattan. It is the sheer expensiveness of the place. We did fine for a while, when I had a corporate job, and then even afterwards when I had left that job but was working plenty. But now, even though I’m actually working more than ever, somehow we slipped, fell behind. This place is too much money.
Enter Craigslist. We are looking for a cheaper place to live. But we are not sure: Brooklyn or Manhattan.
Data point: a child’s fourth birthday party in Greenpoint on Saturday. Not a random child, but the child of old friends. We love these people, and now that he’s around, we love their child. They also still live by art, for the most part, and earn accordingly, which is why they live in Greenpoint. It is cheap(er).
And yet, it’s not just cheap(er). It’s also, well, a community. We walked around the corner into the yard of the church (where the mom volunteers at the soup kitchen while the boy naps, bless her heart), and BOOM. Five thousand kids. Which is terrifying, unless you have kids yourself and then it’s pretty great. Because your kids are fired up and they don’t want a thing from you, which is all we are really asking for as parents.
These kids were just kids from the neighborhood. Some from the boy’s preschool, but many just met at playgrounds, etc. And that’s just it: I can hardly remember the last time we met someone from the playground in the Upper West Side. We met one family, and they were great, then they moved to Maryland. But in general, the attitude of the upper west is: you have a kid? So do I. Fuck off. Or: you have a kid? I’m busy. But text my nanny and our kids can play before I get home from work.
This is the lot of the Upper West, and lord knows I am not complaining, because we do have good schools and shaded streets. But like so much of parenting, what is more expensive or desired is probably not the best thing, for parent or for child.
All of our friends live in Brooklyn. That is what it is.
Data point, opposite direction: there were a lot of hipsters in the Greenpoint crowd. I felt like a banker, and I am actually just a writer with a lowgrade drinking problem. But forreal: one dad there had a fedora and a red leather jacket, which is fine, it happens. But then I looked around and saw that his son, not more than five years old, ALSO had a fedora, a tiny one. And a red leather jacket. And that was a little much. So it’s possible that with my stiff shoes and baggy “normal” jeans, I would be an outcast there as I am here, but for different reasons.
So we could move to Brooklyn. But it would not be cheaper, really (it isn’t, because Brooklyn is not undiscovered or underdeveloped. It is a fabulously expensive borough, for the most part). And it might not be a social panacea. We could pay all the money and the hassle of moving and find that they are not our tribe either over on the other side of the East River.
On the plus side, if we did move, then at least you wouldn’t have to read my chronic complaints about whether or not we should move to Brooklyn. And then we could just give in and name this blog FedoraFathers or something like that.