I have lived in Queens for the majority of my time here in New York. I had brief stints on the Upper East side, the Upper West side, and a ridiculous stay in Washington Heights (long before the musical came out) where I befriended a drug dealer named Seven who nicknamed me "Snow White" because I was "the only white girl in the heights" and who made sure that no one gave me a hard time or followed me to my apartment from the subway late at night when I got home after closing down the restaurant where I worked at the time. Ah, memories.
So once I moved to Astoria and was, for the first time, a financially independent adult and had a bedroom with an actual door that I could open and close at will (seriously, I will never ever take doors for granted again. You wouldn't either if you'd ever lived for any length of time without one!) I fell in love with Queens and I fell hard. So of course I inherited a prejudice against Brooklyn from the start.
Now, this totally irrational bias was supported a little bit by my first excursions to Brooklyn, which almost entirely consisted of hipster warehouse parties in Williamsburg or Bed-Stuy thrown by people I didn't know and didn't want to know. Often I was dragged there by guys who refused to let me leave the party when I wanted to (immediately) because it was too dangerous for me to walk to the subway alone in the middle of the night and they just wanted to have "one more beer." Sitting on some roof in the middle of Bed-Stuy with a bunch of entitled trust-fund hipsters, listening to them talk about the deep personal meaning behind their latest tattoo while they sip on Pilsner or Jim Beam on ice and blow smoke in my face as the five kids who had earlier done coke in bathroom were dancing around in the background to the sounds of all the car alarms going off down on the street was just not my idea of a good time. Sorry.
But then I met David. And he was definitely cute enough for me to overlook (not quietly or anything, but still) that fact that he lived in The Worst Borough Of Them All. In fact, when I went to visit his apartment in Prospect Heights I had to admit that his particular part of Brooklyn was actually sort of lovely. For a year we spent most of our time there. We went to Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Museum and ate at a dozen sweet little cafés and Brooklyn grew on me more and more, until I was grudgingly forced to admit that yes, maybe I did sort of love it. Parts of it. Maybe.
But then David's lease was up and after a frantic, unfulfilling apartment hunt he moved to Queens. Sadly, it has to be said that he never really warmed to it the way I did to Brooklyn (parts of it. Maybe). So when we decided to move to Minnesota we both knew that we'd have to go back to Brooklyn and say goodbye. I've never walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and knew I had to do it before I left the city. David's walked it many times, but he's the best ever so he agreed to walk it with me. But first, we had to have sustenance. We had to have brunch. We had to have... Tom's.
Tom's is a diner in Brooklyn. It's open from 4am to 4pm Monday through Saturday. The lines are usually so long that they wrap around the corner, and while you stand there (or sit there--they kindly set out plastic chairs for you to rest in while you bide your time) waiters come around with coffee, sausages, orange slices, cookies, and other delicious goodies for you to munch on while you wait...free of charge. It's WONDERFUL. You're pretty much full before you even get inside.
Getting inside is worth it, though, because Tom's is a true sensory overload. Every inch of wall space is covered with framed reviews, photographs, paintings, fake flowers, neon posterboard highlighting popular menu items, and christmas lights everywhere.
After an amazing brunch (David: fresh crab cakes with chipotle mayo, two eggs sunny-side up, home fries, smoked beef sausage, wheat toast, and coffee. Me: Challah bread french toast with strawberry butter, side of bacon, coffee, and a slightly over-rated vanilla egg cream) we were ready to take the trek across the Brooklyn bridge.
I don't really know what to say about it. It was raining--misting, really--and a little cloudy. There was a fantastic breeze up at the top, and if you looked closely you could see through the wooden slats at your feet and watch the cars as they zipped beneath you. The top of the Empire State Building was hidden in the fog, but we could just make out the Statue of Liberty in the distance. Seeing all of the city at once like that made me feel very close to it. David indulged me and snapped a few touristy pictures (I am very sunburnt! David's eyes may or may not be closed!), and before we knew it we were in Manhattan.
I've spent the evening drinking long vodkas and making The Pioneer Woman's individual raspberry cobblers (TOTAL disaster, but still super tasty!) Recipes and pictures tomorrow, but for now I'm going to pour myself another drink and thank David once again for hugging my bad mood away, teaching me to love Brooklyn, and just generally always being the best.