Today, I had to go back to Hoboken for some miscellaneous errands (pick up dry cleaning, return cable box, etc), and the 5 hour trip gave me some time to think about life in Hoboken, and how life in Brooklyn is different so far.
..small and easy to navigate. (It's only a square mile, remember.)
..car-friendly, in that many apartment buildings have parking.
.modern, or apartments there at least have the modern conveniences, like dishwasher, disposal, central A/C washer/dryer.
..safe enough that I felt comfortable walking about a mile to church Sunday evenings.
..cheaper than living in Manhattan.
..baby-friendly, since at least half of Hobokenites have kids.
As a mom in Hoboken, I liked having my car. I liked driving to Wal-Mart/Sams, Pier 1, and Ikea. However, it also meant that I usually couldn't walk to the things I needed. The grocery store was just a little too far (8-9 blocks, I'm a wuss, you don't have to tell me). The hair salons in our neighborhood were way too expensive. I didn't even know where a hardware store was. The closest coffee was Dunkin Donuts, and we were near any restaurants, either. Granted, we lived in the deserted Northwest corner, but that's where the good deals were. All the haps are in the Southeast corner of Hoboken, but it's expensive to live down there, and you still aren't in the city - you have to take the PATH, the subway-like train, and then transfer to a subway. Heck, we didn't even live near the PATH, it took me at least 25 minutes just to get to the PATH, then 20 minutes on the PATH, then transfer to a subway. You're talking 60-90 minutes from our apartment to a location in the city.
However, I will say that I liked the open sidewalks, the park 3 blocks away, the friendly neighbors (when I saw them), the elevator in our building, and having a washer/dryer in the apartment. I also liked our leisurely weekend afternoons, when we could walk to the water and see the Manhattan skyline - you can't beat Hoboken's view of the city.
..close to the city. We live within three blocks of four subway lines, which means that I can walk to the one I need and take it to my destination, without transferring. Of course, we do live with the sound of one of those subway lines, rumbling underneath the floorboards, but it just sounds like distant thunder...underground.
..cool all on its own. With Prospect Park, the Botanic Gardens, the Central Public Library, a home-grown brewery, and more bars/restaurants than you can shake a stick at, Brooklyn is a tourist destination.
..full of neighborhood conveniences. There's a little market down the street, or I can walk to the giant (seriously, Texas-sized) grocery store four-five blocks away. There's a pharmacy across the street, a hardware store across the street, a laundromat around the corner, an awesome nail place around the corner, it goes on.
..expensive! Eesh, we are paying through the nose to live here.
..part of New York City, and that means you pay city taxes, grr.
..old, which is a plus and a minus. It's a plus because I love, love our tin-impression ceilings, decorative archways, and aged wood floors. It's a minus because we don't have a dishwasher, garbage disposal, central A/C, or washer/dryer.
..totally hipster, which is also a plus and a minus. Hipsters love local beer, tasty food, fresh produce, and crafty fairs (all of which I love too), but they do weird things like raise chickens in the tiny brownstone backyards.
As a mom in Brooklyn, I love all the kid-friendly activities that are literally in our neighborhood. I haven't gone to any of them yet, because we're still unpacking and traveling quite a bit, but there's music in the park, story time at the library, and yoga for toddlers down the street. I love the Burrito Bar across the street, with its delicious happy hour margaritas and super kid-friendly service. They tie a balloon to the highchair for your kid to play with! I love the fantastic coffee shop down the street. I love that we now live between two parks, one on the way to the Texas-sized grocery store, and one on the way to boutique shopping.
However, I do not love lugging the stroller up and down stairs all the time. My arms are going to be awesome in a few weeks. We live on the second floor, so all our groceries and laundry go up and down, up and down, along with the baby and the stroller. Speaking of which, I do not like doing laundry at a laundromat or washing all the dishes by hand. I also am still uncomfortable with out my trusty SUV. We had to do Ikea exchanges (twice!), and we had to hire movers to pick up, take to Ikea, and bring back. That gets inconvenient and pricey.
So, I'd say Brooklyn wins, which is good because now that we're close to unpacked, there's no way I'm moving again any time soon!