Best thing: It’s the center of the world. It’s easy to forget about how incredibly cool Manhattan is, but literally everything happens here. Every band you ever loved has played in Manhattan, everyone who visits America wants to see Manhattan, nearly every industry has its major summit or tradeshow or convention in Manhattan. If you live here, you might be used to it, but it’s all incredibly unusual and spectacular.
Think about it this way: the streets are so famous that people come from the other side of the globe to take photos of them. Being in Manhattan is like being in a real-life film set, full of diverse characters, fabulous restaurants, and incredible events you’ll never see anywhere else.
Worst thing: It knows it’s the center of the world. Manhattan believes that nothing else, nowhere else, and no one else is better than Manhattan. It’s almost entirely unaffordable for middle-class families, and dreamers rack up credit card bills just so they can have that “New York, NY” return address label, but it’s the most important place in the world, so who cares? Not Manhattan.
A multitude of sins can be forgiven if they happen in Manhattan, because people convince themselves they’re magical if they’ve happened there. Manhattan knows it’s the center of the universe, so it doesn’t care about you at all. Manhattan will chew you up and spit you out, and you’ll ask for more.
Best thing: There’s a “thing” for everyone. Do you dream of selling jars of your homemade pickled fruit salad? Or opening a store that just sells feathered gloves? Or starting a meetup group for dogs that look like vegetables? Come to Brooklyn, where people seem to be starving for weird things to spend money on!
Really though, no matter who you are or what you’re into, you can probably find your people in Brooklyn. From high-rise soirees to cottage garden parties, from rooftop celebrations to secret warehouse concerts, your niche promises to be here. They said “Brooklyn is the new Manhattan,” and they were right.
Worst thing: It’s desperately unaffordable. I mean, so is a lot of NYC, but the problem with Brooklyn is that it has this reputation for being the “cheaper cool borough” and it’s just… not that much cheaper.
Sure, if you live in Brooklyn on a tight budget, you’re more likely to have a backyard, or a window in your bedroom, or a bathroom you don’t share with the rest of your building. However, unless you go to the outer edges of the borough, it really isn’t that much cheaper than living in Manhattan. Brooklyn isn’t just “the new Manhattan”—it is Manhattan.
Best thing: It’s the most diverse place in the world. Like, literally. Nearly half of the population of Queens is made up of immigrants. That means nearly every type of person living every type of lifestyle lives within its 100 square miles. Queens is like the poster child for human beings living in harmony. It’s beautiful.
And perhaps most importantly, it means Queens is full of prime spots for every single type of international cuisine you could imagine. From Cantonese to Nepalese, Liberian to Dominican, it’s all here and it’s all super delicious.
Worst thing: It takes forever to get around. Queens is by far the largest borough by square miles, so even with all those express trains, traversing that mass of land takes forever. It’s typically a straight shot into Manhattan from wherever you are, but traveling between neighborhoods is a feat in patience and requires a prayer that the trains are, in fact, running express this weekend.
And there’s just something about visiting Queens—even the close-to-Manhattan neighborhoods like Astoria and Long Island City—that makes people sigh in exasperation, as if it’s another planet entirely. Have an event in Woodside? Good luck trying to get your friends in Brooklyn to even consider showing up.
Best thing: It’s beautiful and full of culture. Seriously. Amazing parks, sunny beaches, awesome cultural institutions where you can avoid the crowds of the lower boroughs… it’s probably the most underrated borough, and the perfect place to explore without crazy lines and overcrowded streets.
Most people know about the huge New York Botanical Garden and Zoo, but the Bronx is home to so much rich culture. Check out City Island, a tiny version of Cape Cod that’s right off the coast and full of Victorian homes and fresh seafood, or Wave Hill, a huge garden with summer concerts and a beautiful view of the Hudson.
Worst thing: It’s not very accessible. The Cross-Bronx Expressway was built in the ‘50s and really screwed over the Bronx. Instead of lending accessibility, it displaced thousands, using the land to service people in the suburbs and slicing up a once close-knit community.
The borough hasn’t entirely recovered from the development. There are subway lines, but they’re more efficient for shoveling people back and forth to Manhattan than for actually traversing the borough itself. A car is practically required for most of the Bronx.
Best thing: It’s like living in the suburbs, but it’s still New York City. Do you dream of living within an hour of Manhattan, but hate taking the subway and living in a tiny expensive apartment? Do you want to ride a free boat to work every day? Do you want to own a house in New York City? Then Staten Island is the place for you!
Bigger houses, nice beaches, great views, places to park… New York is like nowhere else in the country, but Staten Island is like nowhere else in New York, and that’s what makes it special.
Worst thing: It voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump. Enough said.