Photo: Mihai_Andritoiu/Shutterstock

10 Core Differences Between Brooklyn and Manhattan

New York City
by Henry Miller Nov 2, 2016

1. Manhattan is where the world’s greatest artists perform; Brooklyn is where they were made.

Sure, Manhattan’s got Madison Square Garden and is the birthplace of Lady Gaga and Alicia Keys, but damn is the list of world-famous Brooklyn artists long. From Woody Allen and Mel Brooks to Lou Reed and Jay-Z: Brooklyn is where you go to meet the minds behind the magic.

2. Manhattan is where you go to get a really tall view of…New Jersey; Brooklyn is where you go to get a really excellent view of Manhattan.

The problem with living in the tallest borough is you have no place to look but down. Some say it’s better to dream big from the east bank of the East River.

3. Manhattan is the second densest place in America (whatever, Friendship Village, Maryland); Brooklyn, on its own, would be the fourth largest city in the country.

You can thank the Great Mistake of 1898 for effectively turning the King’s own county into a suburb of the smaller (and now less populous) Manhattan.

4. Manhattan is where you go to meet kids who went to a private college in the Tri-State; Brooklyn is where you go to meet kids who went to a private college in Manhattan.

It depends on if you want to spend time around the Yale and Cornell Wall Street brokers or the broke NYU and New School Midtown interns.

5. Manhattan is where you go for brunch; Brooklyn is also where you go for brunch, but your waiter will make it pretty obvious just how much they despise brunch.

Speaking of NYU and New School alums: Yeah, those internships don’t pay the best, which is why you can find plenty of them bitterly pouring mimosas every Sunday as they try to conceive of a universe where they could pay back their student loans.

6. Manhattan is where people tell you to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge; Brooklyn is where they tell you to walk across the Williamsburg Bridge.

Skip the crowds for a much higher sky bridge featuring street art, Hasidic fur hats in August, and a panorama of three boroughs and four bridges.

7. Manhattan’s subway is always talked about for giving the city a “special energy”; Brooklyn gets its energy from bagels, neighborhood parks and the screeeeee of the El train.

The vibrancy of Manhattan’s kinetic energy is unlike any other, but the Brooklyn city-of-neighborhoods vibe is its own thing.

8. Manhattan is where you hang out on a pier in the middle of summer; Brooklyn is where you hang out on packed beaches that feature the best people-watching on the planet.

Everybody loves getting a summer tan by the sea. In Coney, this includes mermaids, body builders, circus freaks, burlesque snake dancers, and some good ol’ fashioned weirdos.

9. Manhattan is where you bump into a Knick at a department store in Midtown; Brooklyn is where you bump into a hot dog eating champion on a 80-year-old roller coaster on Coney Island.

Whenever Manhattan does something chic and ritzy, Brooklyn comes back with something cheap and gutsy. Manhattan may have Manhattans and strip steaks, but Brooklyn’s got pickle-backs and world famous hotdogs.

10. Manhattan is where you watch twenty-somethings play soccer in the park; Brooklyn is where you watch 65-year-old men do battle on a softball field.

There are about 157 ball fields in Brooklyn, or about twice as many as Manhattan, and boy do they get their use from the dozens of leagues serving kids of 9 years and way, way up.

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