Quote Of The Day: Brooklyn Heights Is ‘The Most Uninspiring Place To Live’

Comedian & actor Reggie Watts, who released Comedy Central special “Reggie Watts: A Live At Central Park,” earlier this month and appears in an IFC talk show this summer, was interviewed Friday by website College Times and had plenty to say about his former residential neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights.

The uber-hipster, who now resides in Williamsburg, mouths off by describing the neighborhood as “upper-middle class, a few white rich people and their ethnic nannies taking care of their white babies. If you’re an artist, it’s the most uninspiring place to live.”


Ready or not…

I use to live in Brooklyn Heights, and it was mainly just brownstones with kind of upper-middle class, a few white rich people and their ethnic nannies taking care of their white babies. There’s a lot of strollers going up and down the street with all these women that are obviously not the mothers of these children just walking around.

And then some kind of boring college students going to whatever university is there. It’s the most uninspiring place to live. If you’re an artist, never live in a family community, unless you draw inspiration from children and nannies. It’s just horrible.

Watts’ current locale of Williamsburg, on the other hand, gets this stream-of-consciousness review:

Even though there are a bunch of partiers, there are really great artists amongst all those people. And it has great stores and shops and restaurants and a cool Promenade. It’s really a fun, happy area. Kind of the best area to live in.

It gets ragged on a lot, though. Yeah, which is good. The good thing is that it makes other people [too] annoyed to live here. The less people move here the better. Now we’re starting to see outside of coffee shops, like, six strollers. It’s either the hipsters that live here are getting older and having kids or the kids are moving to Williamsburg. I like kids, but kids kind of bum me out. It’s fine. I mean, people need to have kids. It’s just, like, you kind of go, ‘Aww, where are the adults having fun?’ Instead they’re running around asking, ‘Do you need some milk now?’ I love that they’re trying to still stay cool, you know. The parents will get their babies CBGB shirts.

Perhaps it’s best that the dude has found his solace outside of the Heights, huh?

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  • hicks st guy

    Reggie, I respect your opinions. BH is very vanilla, has been that way for at least the last 30 or more years, and that’s what he’s saying. If what he’s saying bothers you, open your eyes.

  • BHWorkerNOTaNanny

    I work in BH – legal and am not a Nanny. Gotta agree with Reggie. Why are all the nannies ethnic? Especially when most treat their co-workers like ethnics or is it Non Ivy league-ers? Have been looking for an answer for the last 15 yrs. Scares me that “ethnic” nannies in BH make more money than college educated legal assistants and nannies being paid by those college educated legal assistants who do not live in BH, But as stated BH has been this way for last 15 years at least

  • philica

    I have to agree, it is pretty boring, art-wise. For my artsy fix I USED to go down to DUMBO, but even that place has changed. But all that being said, its still a great place to live.

  • Quinn Raymond

    I tip my hat to Reggie for engaging in the discussion. Maybe more grown up than I gave him credit for?

    As for one neighborhood being more creative than another, I wonder. I grew up in the East Village in the 80’s. It was creatively vibrant because it was dangerous, cheap, and walkable. I look at modern-day Williamsburg and for an artist it’s just as expensive as the Heights.

    I guess my beef is you suggestion that kids and artists are incompatible. My folks would do shows at PS 122 or the Public and afterwards we’d hit up Phebes. They made it work. I think it would be harder now, almost anywhere in NYC.

    I do agree with you that we could use a few late night spots around here. It would be nice to eat a meal after 10 PM. :)

  • Monty

    The only white nanny I know of actually takes care of two Indian kids :)

    @Reggie, since you are so adept at fending off internet trolls, you should do an AMA on Reddit.

  • Jazz

    never heard of this Reggie person but he looks like a black krusty the clown.

  • BH’er

    BH – love it or leave it, which is the great thing about NYC… I just don’t understand why this is all bitter criticism

    BH is a great, quiet ‘suburb’ of NYC – it doesn’t have the vibrant street scene of the village, Williamsburg or other neighborhoods, but that’s also not our draw

    I wouldn’t mind having more late night food options nearby, a couple good sports bars or a livelier street scene (sorry, Montague St, but you’re just not terribly exciting), but that’s not what I came here to find.

    When I want that out my front door, I’ll move to the scene, until then, I love the movie sets, Promenade, Teresa’s brunch, Monty’s bagels, JtH dinners and all the other greatness that is here.

    Love it or leave it!

    and props to Reggie for engaging here – great to see/read… saw you on Conan and was actually wondering about the influences – it was a very interesting and entertaining bit from the sweater to the sound machine, lyrics and so on

  • north heights res

    I thought established blogger protocol was to strike through text that was later changed or deleted, or at least to acknowledge that the current post had been changed from an earlier version.

  • Theo

    That clip added to the top of this thread is hardly the most entertaining thing I’ve seen from RW.

  • PromGal

    @Andrew Porter et al
    I don’t know which building you live in, unless it is those mega ugly Mitchell-Lama buildings on the other side of Henry Street, there isn’t a single coop or single family home in the Heights that is not all white. An economic reality, also self selection.

    To the hipster doofus who doesn’t find Brooklyn Heights “exciting” or ” culturally stimulating”, just stay away. Our neighborhood is a vibrant and culturally rich community, with wonderful people, a great social and community life, and a wonderful place for people who appreciate historic architecture, safe and lovely streets, historic churches, schools, and clubs.

    As for the asinine comment about The Standish Arms, if it was good enough for Superman, I’m fine with it.

    This is a community where people live by choice. If you don’t like it, or can’t afford it, don’t live here. There is somewhere else where I’m sure you would be happier.

    Don’t move here and complain, and try to change Tge culture to suit yourself. Adapt ir move on.

  • Quinn Raymond

    “There isn’t a single coop or single family home in the Heights that is not all white.”

    Inaccurate. And also kind of icky when phrased that way.

  • malanga es malanga

    Hmmm, much ado about nothing.

    Watts has said nothing incendiary here, and certainly does not seem to be bashing the neighborhood. He merely seems to be explaining why his lifestyle better fits his new neighborhood, rather than his old one.

    Besides, he is not far from the truth. Brooklyn Heights IS filled with upper-middle class, white people. And it is a family community. And despite the impressive literary history here, there is not a vibrant artistic scene.

    I would rather save my “In Defense of Brooklyn Heights” argument for someone who actually slanders the community, not a reasonable fellow who would simply rather live in a different area.

  • PromGal

    I’m guessing you are referring to libel, not slander, as this is a Blog, i.e. written. In any case, it would be a worthless claim under the law.

    @ Quinn
    Icky? Just a statement of fact.
    Ask any broker- they will confirm. It is a question of economics and a question of community. There have been African American families whose children are in school in the Heights who have decided against looking here because they feel more comfortable in a neighborhood with more racial diversity. we have friends who chose to buy in Lefferts Gardens fir that reason.
    As to political diversity, there are more registered Republicans in Brooklyn Heights than other areas of Brooklyn and Manhattan except for areas like the Upper East Side, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Brighton Beach, etc.
    Check the demographics for BH. The median income is $200,000+

  • bornhere


    You might want to check this:

    Although the data are from 2008-2009, I doubt the numbers have changed substantially.

    And, for the past 30 years, I have lived in a non-Mitchell-Lama, “desirable” coop in the Heights with other shareholders who are Hispanic, black, white, and Asian, and “none of the above”…

  • Raskalnikov

    BH – Upper middle class, Yes. A thousand strollers, ethnic nannies & a lack of creatiive inspiration, Yes.
    A great place to come home to after a creative romp through the most creative city in the world to relax, re-energize & decompress, Most definitely.

    And what of Willyburg. A mecca for the creative 1% For sure and then 99% pretentious hang arounds, posers, wanna be’s, & and if I wear skinny jeans get a tattoo sleeve and a Radiohead poster I can be a hipster too. When most are really trust fund babies and kids from Tampa.

    Every hood can get dissected quite easily. Lets agree that NYC is the greatest place bar none and whatever floats your boat is where you should live.

    Peace Reggie

  • She’s Crafty

    Really, who cares about this person and what they think of this neighborhood. Williamsburg is a joke.

  • David on Middagh

    PromGal, if I say “That PromGal is a notorious hairsplitter,” in a spoken interview for print publication, should you sue David on Middagh for slander, for libel, or for both? :)

  • I live someplace else

    Bravo Reggie for getting it right, and with humor. For those apologists like Andrew Porter who count the black faces in their building and think they are so open minded for having walked among them – you are a sad lot

  • David on Middagh

    That “I live someplace else” person is a notorious jerk.

  • WillowSt.Neighbor

    I have to agree with Andrew Porter as I live in a similar building with the very same kind of neighbors that he describes.
    My building is one of the best in the Heights so I do not know where you got your information.

  • rusty

    Paul Giamatti doesn’t live in a brownstone; he lives in one of the old-school apartment buildings in the central Heights. Just point of information.

  • shamrock

    I too have to agree with Andrew Porter, I also live in a Heights building with a good bit of ethnic diversity.

    And as far as Reggie White’s comments on the neighborhood, no harm done and props to all you people coming to his defense, as the guy definitely deserves kudos for engaging on this thread.

    Like Raskalnikov said, “Lets agree that NYC is the greatest place bar none and whatever floats your boat is where you should live.” Well said!

  • Promenade Princess

    awesome discussion ongoing here. i love that reggie watts has joined the commentary, adding to the original post that was accessed on college times.
    i don’t know why anyone is “shooting the messenger” by criticizing the blog post’s writer chuck taylor. he’s just reporting what he finds regarding our neighborhood on the web. i totally dig that BHB is one-stop shopping for all things regarding the community.
    and watts seems like a totally decent guy… great that he explains himself — while not backing down from his original quotes. i’m probably one of the few women of color on this forum and you know what, he’s sure as h*ll right. i’m amazed no one has ever asked if I’M a neighborhood nanny!

  • my2cents

    Reggie Watts is a f^*%ing comic genius and anyone who doesn’t recognize that is not paying attention. I have seen him live a few times and have been amazed by his many talents. He also happens to be 100% right. Brooklyn Heights is a lovely neighborhood, but for a creative performer I am sure he found it stifling.

    Reggie, if I had known you lived here, I would have been *thrilled* to be your neighbor. I saw you in Cadman Park once but figured you were just visiting the hood. After all, what would you be doing here in squaresville? ;-)

  • Mike

    First of all, he’s absolutely right about non-mothers being the majority of the stroller pushers. Second, he’s talking about whether or not the neighborhood is a good place for an artist to live. I love the Heights, but let’s not kid ourselves.

  • Clarknt67

    Meh. I have lived in the Heights for 19 years. He’s not wrong. It’s pretty and serviceable but comparatively there are many more exciting vibrant places to live to live in this City.

    Just a fact. It’s not a hot bed of creativity. It’s a hotbed of suburban values.

  • EHinBH

    HA! Thank God he moved! W-Burg is the worst. Horrible, crowded streets with wanna-be’s from Long Island packing into NorthSide thinking they are living the City life. Total joke. At least The Heights isnt posing. It is what it is — a semi-exclusive, quiet hideaway, but only a 5 minute cab ride to downtown.

  • philica

    AMEN EHinBH….. I mean really, there is a HUGE city outside of Brooklyn Heights. And its proximity to it all is what makes Brooklyn Heights awesome.

  • sajh

    Who is Reggie Watts and why do we care what he says? Oh Wikipedia, right. Hmm, ok, still no help. Who is this person from Montana and why do we care?

  • zburch

    I have to agree with Reggie. My husband and I moved here in 2000 when we were working regular hours in creative yet “corporate” jobs. Over the years, we have become more flex with our jobs and work more on artwork, music and writing. We don’t have kids and it doesn’t feel like the neighborhood fits us anymore. At times we do feel stifled. But where to go? We love our apartment and mostly the convenient subway service in the Heights. Wburg has good restaurants and creative vibe, but the landscape just feels so drab, simply for the lack of trees. It would be nice to find a neighborhood where we could play music into the wee hours or paint without worrying so much about neighbors. But…we are 40 somethings, not 20 somethings so we have gotten used to certain comforts. I don’t know, no place is perfect. You always sacrifice something by living in the city. If we ever find that perfect place outside of the Heights we will certainly move, but its not a bad place til then.