‘Welcome to Brooklyn, 4th Largest City in America.”
Until recently, that sign graced an entrance to the Verrazano Bridge. Perhaps it’s time to reinstall it.
After Britain’s vote to exit from the European Union (the Brexit), and with Texas threatening to secede from the United States (the Texit), don’t be surprised when Brooklynites start clamoring to again separate from NYC (the Brooksit?).
Yes, again. Did you know Brooklyn was once an independent city? When it consolidated with other boroughs to become part of Greater New York more than a century ago, the decision was soon mocked as “the great mistake of 1898” by many locals. And the sign is accurate — Brooklyn’s 2.6 million is right behind Los Angeles and Chicago in population.
The Brooklyn Tourism Visitors Center guides visitors to many destinations, from Coney Island to Barclay’s Center. The hot dog-eating contest Monday at Nathan’s showcased Brooklyn’s appeal, drawing huge crowds and TV coverage.
“Brooklyn is one of the world’s most iconic places,” said Carlo Scissura, president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
From the time I was growing up in Flatbush to now, Brooklyn always flashed its attitude and pride. Now it has the economic clout to go along with that swagger. It has consistently outperformed NYC and state in job growth since 2000, reports the chamber.
Meanwhile, Councilman Joe Borelli (R-S.I.) has revised the idea that Staten Island secede from NYC (a non-binding referendum passed in 1993), if it can be self-sustaining. No offense, but Brooklyn’s property tax revenue stream puts Staten Island’s to shame. Brooklyn is now rated the most expensive place to live in the nation, says RealtyTrac.
Would it be in its best interest to secede? There are downsides. For example, it would be tough getting around without the NYC subway system. But hey, Brooklynites love to bike!
Major cities compete for tourist dollars, hawking attractions and iconic slogans. But no market is hotter than Brooklyn. While NYC’s “Big Apple” designation is a bit overripe, and “Chicago: 2nd to None” is untrue, a city of Brooklyn slogan would ring out loud and clear. Yo, Brooklyn!
Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.