UK’s Daily Mail on Brooklyn Heights: Posh… and Dull!

While Brooklyn Heights doesn’t “crave to be on the front of the Daily Mail“,  it doesn’t hurt that our humble neighborhood received some ink from one of England’s biggest newspapers today.  Well, not so much.  While the article touts our borough’s celebrity residents, it’s not so complimentary to the home of Giamatti and Byrne and the former stomping ground of Mailer, Capote and Miller.

In an article headlined, Leave Manhattan to the Tourists, Brooklyn is New York’s Real Gem, Ed Costa writes:

Daily Mail: To die-hard Manhattanistas, it is solely the route to JFK Airport. To most tourists, it’s a bridge or, if they’re intrepid, the uber-posh (and equally dull) Brooklyn Heights. And to Brits, for whom its image has been lifted straight from the cinema screen, Brooklyn’s the Tooting of New York – where people live by necessity, and work to escape from. It’s the setting for the pimps of Last Exit To Brooklyn and the mobsters of Prizzi’s Honor.

Except we’re a fair way behind the curve. Trendy New Yorkers, priced off the island, started an exodus to Brooklyn decades ago. Where they blazed a trail, the middle classes followed, pursued, in turn, by celebrities.

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  • bornhere

    I’ll probably never understand the problem with living in a “dull” neighborhood, especially when that neighborhood is a spit away from Manhattan and more “exciting” (which tends to mean commercial) Brooklyn neighborhoods. I have never felt
    culturally/gastronomically/sociopolitically/spiritually deprived, and I am beyond happy that I have a certain of amount dullness provided by some only-in-the-Heights-ness, eg, the Promenade, the Brooklyn Bridge at night or anytime, great architecture. The argument that one’s life has to be so self-contained that the BEST of everything should be within just a few blocks of one’s home always seems goofy to me. I love SoHo and Union Square (where I happen to work) and the Village and Sheepshead Bay and Central Park as much as I do perhaps because I don’t live there. And when I experience those areas on a weekend or at night, I’m reminded of some of the reasons I love living here.

  • AEB

    Point taken, bornhere.

    Still, as a longtime former Manhattan resident, I must acknowledge that living in a zeitgeist-ier place has meaning that transcends that place’s accessibility from farther-flung nabes, like BH.

    Has to do with living in tune to a particular rhythm and ongoingness (to coin a…whatever). Enjoying a certain kind of street life from the inside…..

  • nabeguy

    Very very well said bornhere. You totally nailed the I-can’t-afford-Manhattan-but-I-want-what-they-have attitude right on the head. As the masthead of this blog points out, BH is America’s first suburb and, personally, I’m getting pretty sick and tired of people who don’t understand or appreciate what that means.

  • Andrew Porter

    The Daily Mail is not in the same class as papers like The Guardian and The Independent, and I am happy to live in this “dull” neighborhood where, unlike lots of places in the UK, there are no drunken screams all evening and into the dawn hours from drunks wandering the streets, urinating and vomiting wherever they please.

    If you’ve ever stayed at hotels near train stations in London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Glasgow, etc., as I have, you’ll know that the sound of drunken lager louts of all sexes is the rule, not the exception.

  • nelson

    ahh….Andrew, I guess you don’t live near the Promenade then.

  • Andrew Porter

    I live between Hicks and Henry. I hear loud kids from the St. George residence, but not all the time.

    But if you’ve ever been in any big UK city, you will know that loud kids on the Promenade are *nothing* in comparison. The kids on the Promenade are loud, but they don’t vomit, urinate and do other vile things. And…no graffiti, or knife crime.

  • GHB

    “The kids on the Promenade are loud, but they don’t vomit, urinate and do other vile things.”

    Andrew Porter, so who IS doing that. I see nasty s*** out there every morning.

  • William Spier

    Back to the issue. Posh is a British word and does not fit us. We threw out the powdered whigs a long time ago. If you lived next to Maurice Greenburg or Murdoch, would you feel it was posh living when the stench from their lairs smelled like low tide in a salt marsh? BH is more like living in 21st century Tenafly.

    Dull? BH is a bedroom community like Tenafly now. Twenty-five years ago it was more edgy and quite gay, open. We even had the Club Wild Fire; pretty good and stable restaurants on Montague Street; real artist lofts in Dumbo; Pina Bausch at BAM as well as Raushenburg stage sets; Mailer to talk to on morning walks.

    This all is a thing of recently past modernism. Many parts of the City are like Tenafly; we are only one of them.

  • nabeguy

    Well, I guess I’m packing up and moving to Tenafly. William, if you choose to remember Club Wild Fyre as a highlight of BH’s history, I can only express amazement that you haven’t died of boredom in the 25 years since it closed. I get your post-modernism argument, but I’d prefer to believe that BH has quietly fallen back into the days of pre-modernism, before the likes of that particular club. And it’s all the better for it.

  • William Spier


    It’s not boredom; boredom is a something we allow to seep into our lives. The borough has absorbed newer generations and still kept a rich tapestry of cultures.

    The Heights is posh now and like Tenafly.

  • nabeguy

    Not for nothing, William, but didn’t you just say that BH isn’t posh? I will agree that BH is not quite the crazy quilt of demographics that existed in my youth, when the docks were still active and there were a lot more working-class immigrants, but I still think it can hold its own in a diversity contest. The fact is, Brooklyn, like the rest of this great metropolis, is an ever-shifting landscape. I doubt that 10 years ago you would have been able to find one person that thought of Williamsburgh as an area to seek out versus one to escape from. Same with the Bowery. It always reminds me of the expression “the bottom rail is on top now”.

  • GHB

    “Posh is a British word and does not fit us”
    So William, is that the Queen’s English? No further comment…