The Truth About Brooklyn


This is a piece I wrote very soon after moving to Brooklyn and is another side to the Brooklyn story. Things have since changed for the better in regards to my NYC life, but not everything was coming up roses for me when I moved here.

No one really talks about Brooklyn. The weeks spent dealing with bed bugs, the meaningless sex that is offered to “us” beautiful people every night of the week and alcohol that flows as liberally as NYC tap water.

No one talks about the delusion and the haze of cigarette smoke that colors it. Nor does anyone mention the organic food stores full of young failures tagged with bratty platitudes–bright comic sans on American Apparel t-shirts. If you asked any of them to give you a hand they’d scoff at you like abused puppies and bark “You must not be cut out for this city.” 

Anytime I meet one of them I press my hand to their furry little dirt covered faces. I tell them “I’m cut out for something better.” Still they press on. This small army of no-ones whistling “You must not be from here.” “You must not be from here.” I record what they sing, play it back in reverse and feel vindicated. Still I wonder what my place in this city must be. 

If I could be so bold to attract an STD and wear it as a badge of my feminine progress I could perhaps find my throne in the piss-laden streets of Bushwick or Bedstuy, but I haven’t gotten that far yet. There are no romances in my Brooklyn diary. Im not some low-budget Carrie Bradshaw and I don’t need to be. Brooklyn is filled with this post Sex and the City female. They’ve told me their secrets. Stay until bar close and you’ll never be lonely.

Desperation has never had a place in my universe. It does not even find it’s way to my little street where the city rats scurry about as casual as feral cats. I wonder how they stay warm. They wouldn’t like my apartment, it is only heated half of the time.

No one really talks about Brooklyn. They might all be too proud. They love their hand me down mattress filled lofts with their gin soaked floors. I would sleep on their couch if I couldn’t smell the cigarette butts jammed between the mis-matched couch cushions. Those nights I call a car to go home. Latino music plays, I send my friend a smattering of emojis. The car stops & I regretfully hand the driver the $8 in tips I made that day.

No one wants to admit defeat, but why? To sense defeat means you are one step closer to winning. Who actually enjoys this lifestyle? It’s idiotic. Us artists who wear the same clothes everyday, live off of beans and rice and hope… of course. It’s stupid. It’s stupid to play a show where you sing with your healthy voice in a room filled with cigarette smoke. It’s stupid to play a show where the venue gets paid and you don’t and it is also stupid to put off your creativity so you can work for some asshole French guy that tells you he is going to fire you everyday.

Everything cancels each other out.

You work to pay your rent and you pay your rent to work and in the end you realize that you’re the fool. “Lost in America” by Alice Cooper plays in my head and at least I find some humor in the situation. 

My friends tell me that the end is coming. They say this with a smile–taking big slurps of beer from a Pabst can or maybe it’s a Tecate I can’t tell anymore and they probably can’t either. Look closely and you’ll see their eyes are super red from some hipster weed that someone sold to pay their rent. They tell me the good stuff in my life is coming and that I will be able to reap the rewards of this city without too much delay. They gather me up in a cloud of nicotene and in the same wordless fashion that they offer me a bump of cocaine, they promise me it’s all going to be alright. They gather round the laptop and pull up an ironic R & B playlist they found on youtube. Alice Cooper’s voice is quickly muted by racial slurs and euphemisms and I just want to sleep.  

I call Bushwick car service again. Another day another $8.