Sure, everybody’s favorite place is where they grew up, their favorite cook is Mom and they root, root, root for the home team. And that’s fine. No sense denying who you are and forgetting about your roots. Nobody likes a phony. Which brings us to Brooklyn, where phonies have a hard time maintaining their cover. It’s not easy in a town where even a ten year-old will see right through you and tell you to get over yourself and be real already. See, nobody really minds who or what you are around here as long as you’re not hurting anybody else. Or pretending you’re something you are not. There’s so many different sidewalks acts going on at once in this place that people just sort of assume that if the next guy might seem a little unusual, well, so what?

We’re all God’s children and as long as someone’s not trying to shine anybody, odds are they’re okay. Besides, who knows how strange you might seem to others? There’s so many different kinds of people in Brooklyn that even the racists reform themselves rather than trying to tackle hating that many varieties. They’d need a whole lot more than one lifetime for that. Especially when the annoying sons of bitches turn out to be okay 9 times out of 10 when you have dealings with them, and in a place like this you can’t help but rub up against each other all the time. No wonder most of them move to the suburbs. It’s just too hard to keep a good hate on when your neighbors turn out to be good people, which tends to ruin that whole Master Race experience. At a distance you can hate anyone and never be disappointed by their goodness. Well, they can have our share of that lunacy and we’re better rid of of those clowns. More room for the rest of us, people who love this town and all the crazy people in it.

There’s cities and towns and villages everywhere, most of them really nice places, no doubt. They’re just not Brooklyn. Sorry, Everywhere Else, but the coolest place on the planet is Brooklyn, New York City, U.S. of friggin’ A! There’s around 3 million people here, not counting the illegals, and we’re sure as hell not going to turn them in. Even those of us born here for a generation or two probably had somebody somewhere back in the family tree who came here under the radar (Probably the only lie my grandmother ever told was when immigration officials asked her if she ever had tuberculosis.). The point is that they came here, had the nerve to move heaven and earth to make it happen for themselves and their families and are now part of America, doing their jobs, buying pizza, going to Coney Island and not stepping on anyone’s toes.

Lou Dobbs can drop dead. Most of us would rather have an honest immigrant neighbor than live next door to a mean old fat blowhard like him. Even if for no other reason than to hear some exotic music once in a while rather than anything that fool might listen to. Probably polkas and John Philip Sousa marches and the like. Living in Brooklyn, odds are you have a lot of immigrant neighbors with a lot of cool stories to tell and great food to eat and a different slant on things. You can learn a lot about the majority of the countries in this world without traveling, and can share your own experiences of being a lifer in this city to some people who love hearing it. And we sure do love to talk around here, sometimes all at once, and you pick up the skill of taking it all in, different accents and all, and they in turn learn to negotiate your Brooklynese, no prob, Bob. After all, their kids have that distinctive Brooklyn accent too, no matter where Mom and Pop come from.

You have to be pretty sharp to keep up here, and that’s another bonus, there’s not a lot of dummies or dull people. When you get the hang of Brooklyn, your mind is sharp as a razor and you develop a pretty pungent personality. There’s no shortage of characters here, and some of the quickest and sharpest minds around. Sometimes when you go visit other places you might be a little too much for them, and they might be a little not so much for you. Nice enough people and places, no doubt, but that buzz is what’s missing, that electric current that seems to run through the air itself in Brooklyn and makes us what we are. While you can enjoy yourself anywhere you go (might as well since the only alternative is not enjoying yourself, and that doesn’t make any sense), it’s always good to come back to the sublime chaos of home sweet home.

Another beauty of Brooklyn is that we’re part of New York City (the best part), that citiest of cities and the modern center of the universe. Rome had its day, as did London and Paris, but these days New York is Rome and all roads lead here. Is there any other city where the United Nations should be? The Statue of Liberty welcoming the wretched refuse? Hell, the population here is a United Nations of former wretched refuse, and a whole lot more united than the official U.N. We’re New Yorkers and we wear the name with pride.

The very many cool places to see and fun things to do are only part of what makes this city so special, but the very best part is the people, tourist attractions in and of themselves. There’s nobody quite like us, and Brooklyn people are the best of good lot. Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, rain or shine, we wouldn’t trade our town for all the castles in Spain. Drop in some time, we’ll talk, have a little something to eat and show you around. You’ll be amazed and glad you came to Brooklyn. We’ll keep a few million lights on for you, no problem.

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