Manhattan vs Brooklyn – an infamous, everlasting clash that is as old as time. The most commonly asked question – Which side of the bridge is greater? There is one thing everyone agrees on – New York is the best city of the world. But internally, which part of New York is ‘the best’? As subjective as this may be, I guess the best answer would be – to each his own. Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Lou Reed and Billy Holiday were always ‘talking’ about Manhattan in their songs. They were very vocal about the Empire State Building, Central Park, hot dog stands covering every corner and so forth. For quite a long time it was considered that New York starts at Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive and ends at the 12th Avenue.
However, nobody can deny the fact that a lot of attention has shifted towards Brooklyn, the most densely populated borough in New York. The reasons are numerous – an impeccable amount of artists, culinary mind blowers and artisans. But which is ‘better’ and what does better even mean? Here’s my 5 cents on the matter.
Manhattan vs Brooklyn – Parks
Alright, this is really a big deal for me. I mean the number one thing. Me and my three mutts need our walking space, and in a dense city such as New York that walking space is luxurious. I mean in this particular case size does matter and Manhattan takes the stand here. We’re talking about a 52 acre botanical garden (Brooklyn) versus 778 acres of Central Park. You could walk for days and still not run out of walking space. It is your very own nature oasis you can use to get away from the ruckus and just enjoy a play date with your pets.
I am not saying you can’t do that in Brooklyn, I am just saying Manhattan does it better. Far better. Furthermore, another point for team Manhattan due to the High Line. This 1.45 mile stretch, free from cabs and buses and all that good stuff is just another route you can take to just enjoy a lovely afternoon walk. So for now, Manhattan vs Brooklyn – 1 : 0.
Manhattan vs Brooklyn – Foods
I’m a foodie. And I know you are too, whether you wish to admit it or not. I love having at least half a dozen of go-to restaurants that I go out to, be it alone or with friends. Or with someone I just met. I like to take someone to my favorite restaurant and blow their taste buds away. So understandably, this is going to be a big factor in this clash.
Okay, this is a bit touchy. Even though I’m a Manhattan fan – I’m gonna have to hand it to the Brooklyn gang. I mean, if you want to sit and dine outside – all you can get in Manhattan is a small table on the sidewalk, where you can fit half a person. Add to it an incredible amount of people just strolling around you whilst you eat and you get an unpleasant experience. The only time you get decent outdoor space to dine is when a restaurant opens a rooftop. But even then the place gets overwhelmed with thousands of dudes dressed in Men’s Warehouse suits that even they dislike. Not cool.
In Brooklyn, most of the joints have some sort of outside space. All of them. Props to that.
Manhattan vs Brooklyn – Commuting
Given that you probably don’t want to own your own car in New York because it’s just plain unpractical, you’ll be using the alternatives. Manhattan wins. I hate commuting and I hate wasting time traveling. When I was younger I used to love it – listen to some music or read a good book on the way. Now – I don’t really have anymore time for all that jazz. I want to get where I’m going quickly and not sidetrack anywhere.
Manhattan takes the stand on this one. Annually, Brooklynites spend about 104 hours more commuting than people from Manhattan. Enough said.
Knicks vs Nets
Oh boy. Here’s the big one that you simply can’t avoid in NYC. In spite of the Nets being in Brooklyn only since 2012 (moved from New Jersey) it feels like its been there forever. And the rivalry with the crosstown Knicks is spot on. Both are trying really hard to be the one team – owner of NYC. Both teams simply live to trash talk one another. And it’s not just the fans! Team owners, players and in some cases even politicians play this game, advertising their favorite teams. It’s big.
Manhattan boasts with the glorious Madison Square Garden whereas Brooklyn takes pride in the Nets’ Barclays Center. Madison Square Garden, in spite of its iconic representation of the Manhattan island is starting to show its age, and nobody can negate that. In contrast, Barclays Center looks like a spaceship! Points to Brooklyn for this, and I’m going to have to be fair and call it a tie as far as the teams go. Even though the Knicks are better. And cooler. Going to call it a tie.
You can already deduct that I am leaning towards Manhattan. And since this is my own very opinion, I’d recommend living in Manhattan. However, I am always pleased to point out some of the up-sides of Brooklyn. I love the old joke that says that if Manhattan sunk into the sea 70% of Brooklyn wouldn’t have a job anymore (and the other 30% never did). Ha!
Joke aside, if you want great parks, incredible culture and top notch cocktails (plus the awesomely amazing Knicks) – Manhattan is your best bet. On the other side, if you’re looking for the most amazing food, indie boutiques, awesome sporting experience and best bars – go for Brooklyn. Again, to each his own. You’re going to have to spend some time in both to have an actually valid opinion. All of us here will defend our own, subjectively or objectively.