Why Growing Up In Brooklyn Was The Best

There's no Place Like Home
So I noticed that while my posts are hilarious and relatable (modesty is not in my vocabulary), they are very general. They could have been written by anyone. Aside from a few tidbits here and there, I haven’t revealed much about myself. I bet some of you don’t even know my name. And since I know you’re just keeping yourself up at night wondering what it is, I’m here to tell you: It’s Liz! And if you’re dying to know more about the lady behind this blog (don’t kid yourself, of course you are!), I’ve updated my About Me to make it a little more personal.

But wait, there’s more! Last year I went on a rant (one of my many) bitching about New York City and how it’s not as great as the media would have you believe. I still stand by that post, and could make a brand new one with all the new reasons I’ve discovered to hate the city. But it’s still very much a love/hate relationship when it comes to New York. I have a friend who grew up in Massachusetts and now lives in New York. I was bitching about New York and how it’s not that great. All he said in return was, “That’s what I’ve been saying.” I immediately wanted to bitch slap him while singing Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.” I can talk trash about this city all I want but when someone else does, I get testy.

Because as much as I hate many things in New York (it’s dirty, way too expensive, overly-crowded), I still wouldn’t have wanted to grow up anywhere else. This may just be my annoying New York arrogance showing but I take pride in saying that I grew up in Brooklyn. I love where I’m from and feel a little badly for anyone who is from somewhere else.

So why so much Brooklyn pride from someone who has spent so much time bitching about where she lives? Glad you asked. Let me fill you in on why growing up in Brooklyn in the 90s (before a bunch of hipsters from the Midwest took over) was the best.

This was my backyard
Prospect Park Long Meadow Brooklyn
If you ever visit New York, everyone will insist that you visit Central Park. And I do agree with them. Central Park is awesome. But don’t forget its much cooler younger sister: Prospect Park. From the Zoo to the Botanical Gardens, this was by far my favorite place growing up. There was always something new to find. It was like exploring my very own Secret Garden.

Diversity
Every time I see some new Buzzfeed article telling white people what they shouldn’t say to minorities, I cringe. Is it not common knowledge that it’s rude to ask another person if you can touch their hair? Growing up my best friends were Chinese, Jewish, and Puerto Rican. I was introduced to all different races and cultures since Pre-K. It’s crazy to me to think that some people don’t meet someone outside of their own race until they reach college.

Friends

That's little Liz in the middle on the top pic and big Liz on the left in the bottom pic.

That’s little Liz in the middle on the top pic and big Liz on the left in the bottom pic.

When people brag about having the same best friend since college or even high school, I can’t help but get a little hipster. It’s cute but I’ve had the same best friends since Kindergarten. Yes, friendships aren’t measured in time and I’ve met some wonderful people since then, but there is something about being friends with the same person since before you were able to fully read. You know all of each other’s secrets cause you were there for them. You’re close with their family. Some people aren’t lucky to ever find a friend that they truly connect with. I was lucky to find two at the ripe old age of five! And while we’re all grown up now and have busy lives, we’re still best friends. I guess we just do friendship better in the BK.

Independence
I had a lot of independence growing up. Part of it may have been the decade. Parents just don’t let their kids play outside now like they did in the nineties. I was always playing outside. The schoolyard was the place to be. And I can’t even remember exactly when I took the train for the first time by myself but I had to be at least 10.

Field Trips
When you live in such a culturally diverse city, it’s natural that your class field trips are going to be awesome, and my trips in elementary and junior high did not disappoint. There were farms, museums, and science centers. I even got to see my first Broadway show for the senior class trip when I graduated elementary school. It was Cats!

FOOD!
It’s no secret that I love. It’s one of my favorite things in the world. And growing up in Brooklyn I was introduced to some really great food at a young age. Whether it’s a sicilian slice at Spumoni Gardens or cheese fries at Roll N Roaster, plenty of the places I grew up loving are still there today. That’s a pretty great feat when taking into consideration that so much of my borough has changed in the last ten years or so. Eating a home cooked meal was even better, whether it was Italian at home, or Chinese or Spanish at a friend’s house.

So now that I’m done bragging about my hometown, it’s your turn. What’s so great about where you grew up?

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20 comments

  1. Hmmm … well, I grew up chronologically in Iowa (a place I feel no real connection with), but all my formative experiences happened in Alaska, and that’s the place where I feel most at home. So in my mind I’m from Alaska.

    There is a lot I love about that state, but I think my favorite thing is spring in Fairbanks – winter is really long and pretty dark, and there’s a solid month where it’s -50F usually. So when it starts to warm up, and by that I mean anywhere from 0F to 10F, people start to get REALLY happy. It feels like the entire town is just on this incredible natural high – people are out running and biking and taking silly pictures with all the ice sculptures that are around.

  2. What a lovely post! I grew up on the east coast of Australia so it may sound like I can’t relate to your childhood. But in the 90’s I lived in the US for 5 yrs and I loved it! Maybe it’s because 90% of our television programs come from the US I felt immediately at home. It was all so familiar. I loved how Americans embraced holidays and the feeling of community. You have a beautiful country!

    1. Aw thank you. There are a lot of negative things I can say about America. But there’s a lot of great things about the country as well. And we are very big about our holidays. I know my family loved to go out all for the big holidays.

  3. I moved here 20 years ago (holy shit I feel old) and 90% of the restaurants I grew to love have all been replaced with hipster bars and cafes. I can’t anymore. Tell them to go away.

  4. Awww! I love this! I’ve been to Brooklyn and NYC many a time but it’s always nice to hear personal stories about growing up in these places, hearing things that we as mere tourists don’t get to experience necessarily. I grew up in a small (emphasis on small)town in Wisconsin and while it was teeny-tiny, and the winters were horrid and did I mention the winters were horrid, I absolutely wouldn’t have wanted to grow up anywhere else. It was the people, the safety, the memories of summers on the lake, sledding down Sylvan Hill in the winter and pumpkin patches in the fall. It was my family, my friends, an equal mix of country and city. No matter where you end up, your hometown will always stick with you because I think in a lot of ways, it helped shape the person you are today. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks! It’s really so true. Some much of who we are as a person stems from where we grew up. No matter where I move to, Brooklyn will always hold a special place in my heart.

  5. This is great! I feel like I couldn’t written most of the same things about my hometown, St. Petersburg, Florida. Obviously not as big, but still lots of cultural diversity and attractions. We might even have a similar proportion of native New Yorkers to what NYC has (I really don’t know, but I’ve read in a number of place that midwestern hipsters have been moving in, just as you said)!

    Not to be a negative Nancy, but I feel like growing up in Florida spoiled me more than anything else. Not just the weather, nice roads, and delicious Cuban food. No, the beaches! Florida Gulf Coast beaches are the best! I have gone to beaches all over the world (not bragging, this just happened because I was in the Navy), and I’m always like, “Meh.” Florida ruined other beaches for me.

    ANYWAY–cool reading your post! It’s cool putting a face to the name… and, er, knowing the name in the first place!

    1. A lot of New Yorkers eventually relocate to Florida so you may be right on that. I’ve been to Florida a few times and you guys definitely do have nice beaches. New York has really gross beaches.

  6. this post is so cute and personal, I loved hearing more about you! , it may seem as if I’m a new follower but I have been following you on a different blog lol. I grew up in Saint Louis, and I love that it’s always been so small but a big melting pot of cultures !

      1. Its very cool if you are in the downtown area (or central west end). But everything else is somewhat blah lol. You’ll enjoy it if you’re visiting the stadiums!

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