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Displaced Manhattanites Discover Brooklyn Ain't That Bad

Welcome-to-Brooklyn-Highway-Sign.jpgFor a certain type of New Yorker who lives in downtown Manhattan circa 2012, not living in Brooklyn has become a point of pride. As everyone under the age of 35 has migrated across the pond in the past several years, there's a certain stubbornness among these who've remained that's grown more pronounced with time, and which manifests itself in a refusal to come to Brooklyn for brunch on a Sunday (you know who are) and maintaining a willful ignorance about the borough ("now, Cobble Hill, is that the one next to Greenpoint?").

This, however, changed a bit during the storm, when downtown lost power, and hundreds of Manhattanites sought shelter with friends in Brooklyn... and lo and behold, liked it.

Fashion creative director and consultant Stefan Campbell, who lives on 6th Street between Avenues B and C, had just returned from Washington, D.C. on Sunday evening, when he learned he would need to evacuate. He hurried to his apartment, closed the windows, grabbed his Rick Owens sweatshirt and a bag of booze and batteries, and took a taxi to friend Joey Arbagey's place in Williamsburg. That night, Arbagey cooked him vegan banana bread and vegetarian lasagna, and the next night, the two went to get chicken sausage at Radegast Beer Garden. "I used to consider Williamsburg just the other East Village," he says, "but now I have a newfound respect for the place after having spent four straight days there."

Yuli Ziv, the founder and CEO of Style Coalition, had a similar brush with Brooklyn. The East Village resident stayed with relatives in Brooklyn Heights. "I didn't realize how charming it would be, especially just a day after the disaster," she says. Ziv had "a lovely home-cooked Italian dinner" at Noodle Pudding on Henry Street. "I definitely saw a different side to Brooklyn," she says. "But I've never missed the East Village more. Seeing it dark and deserted broke my heart."

Brooklyn, specifically, Boerum Hill, says Meghan McCormick, "has been a nice change of pace." The Lower East Side resident and the Senior Digital Manager at Weber Shandwick, took a taxi to a co-worker's house on Tuesday morning. "It's a really nice neighborhood that I previously didn't really spend any time in. We went to a few great bars--61 Local and Rucola--and had dinner at Apartment 138."

Devoted Lower East Sider and Pernot-Ricard public relations director Sarah Bessette, has been staying with PAPER market director Luigi Tadini and his boyfriend Steven Cardwell in Williamsburg since yesterday. Armed with her Repetto ballet flats, and Akris pea coat, she took the opportunity to explore the neighborhood. "We went to this gorgeous Brazilian restaurant called Beco. We got coffee at El Beit. There are so many amazing furniture shops here too--check out Organic Modern." Today, she's booked a business lunch at the Wythe Hotel. "Moving sucks," she says, "but if it becomes an option, Brooklyn is a definite possibility."

For May Kwok, a DJ and a event manager at PAPER's sister company Extra Extra, staying in Brooklyn has been "interesting." She lived in South Williamsburg about six years ago, but after moving to the Lower East Side, hadn't been back to Brooklyn in any meaningful way since. If her Brooklyn friends want to hang out with her, they... come to her. Since Kwok lost power, she's been staying with her boyfriend's friends "somewhere near Union Pool." Yesterday, she didn't leave Wythe Avenue. "I had a drink at the Wythe Hotel, dinner at Mogador and then ended up at three different house parties." Despite her aversion to the borough, she admits "I had fun. I definitely had a Brooklyn day."

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