Today I am not a Villager

By Jenny Klion

It’s summer vacation and I’m totally homesick. You’d think I’d traveled halfway around the globe, and in fact I have. I now live in “Brooklyn, U.S.A., Capital of the World,” as determined by the brilliant Art Carney. I am not a Villager anymore.

Long story short, after 20-plus years in multiple dwellings in the Village — Jane St., Charles St., Bank St., Thompson St., Mott St., E. Seventh St. — it was time for Judy and me to hit the road. I like to think of myself as always taking the one less traveled, but unfortunately, or otherwise, Brooklyn is not that. Nevertheless, as I write from the Carroll Gardens annex of my new cubicle at the Brooklyn Writers Space, I guess here is where I now reside.

Things I miss about Manhattan, and my abode on Jane St. in particular:

• Arthur Stoliar, my former next-door neighbor. Arthur likes to remind me that, according to Woody Allen, Jane St. is one of the reasons to live in New York City, or something like that. Holla, Arthur!

• Bakery 44, and baking in general. Here in hipster Brooklyn, my baking skills are a dime a dozen. Every store has some kind of seriously cute baked item, either trendy or old-school Italian, and honestly, I’m pretty sure I can’t do better. Next…!

• Being a part of the literary lore that was my home, and even the name of a chapter (“44 Jane Street”) in Mary Cantwell’s “Manhattan, When I Was Young.” I always wanted to keep up and make good on the writing history there, though I did discover that my current apartment’s former tenant is a scribe.

• My patio garden and private entrance. Alas, I think my cat hates me now. The look on his face when he first heard outside our many new windows the plethora of birds and squirrels and general outdoor activities fit for a cat, and realized he was trapped on the wrong side of cool: not priceless. The guilt. The guilt!

• Running into a cool celebrity every time I turn the corner. Shout out, however, to Ms. Aniston’s assistant: No need to announce your arrival in a cafe as you search for your boss’s perfect cup of coffee in her new neighborhood. I think she could get off her ass, mingle with the other rich folk, and pick out her own brew. Et tu? My other celeb neighbors, select members of the Green Day entourage, buy their own coffee.

• Convenience! Who knew moving to Brooklyn meant getting into aerobic shape? You have to walk everywhere around here (and the blocks are really long) ’cause there don’t seem to be many yellow taxis up for grabs. Add to that my cost-friendly three flights of stairs, multiple times a day and, hopefully, I’ll get used to it.

• Basic togetherness: Brooklyn is a free-for-all. Never mind rules — stores open and close as they please, appointments are made and not kept, and the cable guy — jeez. Plus, people leave stuff all over the sidewalks, though it’s usually gone by morning. Except for that folded-up futon that’s been on my block the entire two weeks I’ve lived here. The garbage people just don’t feel like picking it up.

Great things about Brooklyn:

• Pretty much everything is a dollar cheaper, relatively speaking. Save for those stores whose prices make you want to spew out, “Where do you think you are, Manhattan?” Also, no taxis, so that’s a savings, but I already said that.

• Progressive food choices, sources, products, farmers’ markets and so forth that make Manhattan seem behind the times. Even the corner delis here make their own cheeses and sell organic goodies.

• No shortage of laundromats — they’re as plentiful as a corner deli in the big M — and again, a dollar cheaper. At least.

• A lot of seemingly straight guys who are between the ages of 30 and 55. And not every woman here seems to be a model, or model type. Maybe only 50 percent, but that’s a definite improvement, meaning a regular woman (i.e., someone like myself) might find a cool guy… .

• There’s basically one of everything out here, from animal vet to bicycle shop to health food store and movie house. O.K., maybe two of everything, and in fact, there are three food stores in a row right near my house that I’ve now visited daily.

Of course Judy, my rising high schooler (!), is going to N.Y.C. Lab School in the fall, and will be my touchstone to the Village for the next four years — and for that, and the school itself, I am grateful.

So, decades later, I guess it’s time to start the next chapter of my life, literary and otherwise — though I might have kept my key to the Jane St. Garden, just in case. Shout out to Peter Falk (my favorite Manhattan namesake, by the way): Hope that’s O.K. See you around the neighborhood!

Oh, and one more thing I’m going to totally miss: The Villager. It’s been a great ride. Truly. Thanks for the support and readership.