Dear Manhattanites: Don’t believe the Brooklyn you see in ‘Friends with Kids’

Friends with Kids
Are you sure, Eric? Brooklyn actually looks EXACTLY like that photo, Jon Hamm's saggy trousers and all.

The romantic comedy starring nearly the entire cast of Bridesmaids and friends has a lot to say about the conventions of marriage, child-rearing, how guys talk (“Isn’t that right, doll?”)…and Brooklyn?!? Ok, granted I don’t know about the first three, but I can’t believe what they’re trying to pass off as typical Brooklyn. So before any more Manhattanites and their longtime friends decide to have a kid out of wedlock and move here, let’s clear up a few misconceptions.

MYTH: People live in Manhattan until they have kids, at which point they immediately move to an entire Brownstone in Brooklyn.
REALITY: An entire brownstone? Usually it’s an apartment in ground entrance that you call a “garden apartment” because you don’t want people outside of the city to think you’ve become a subterranean-dwelling troll.

MYTH:  Taxis from to Brooklyn cost anywhere from $40-$70
REALITY: Now this is just ignorant. From a few visual cues, it looks like the characters live either in or near Ft. Greene, Prospect Heights, or Park Slope. Even if they were coming from the Upper West Side, $40 on the meter is out of the question. But none of that is important because how do they get a taxi to take them to Brooklyn??? They didn’t even threaten to call 311 at any point! Seriously, this is an amazing skill to have.

MYTH:  There are NO restaurants for nice meals in Brooklyn.
REALITY: In the movie, every meal in Manhattan takes place in a restaurant, and in Brooklyn, they eat home-cooked meals at a dinner table. What neighborhood are these people living in? Seriously, the variety of places and food that are willing to deliver to me when I go on Seamless is staggering enough. And if you’re going to keep cooking so much, not one scene takes place in Trader Joe’s? Oh god, I hope these Manhattanites aren’t FreshDirect people.

MYTH: People in Brooklyn “play the Brooklyn card.”
REALITY: I’m going to do my best to explain this, since it is a completely foreign concept to me. Apparently when you live in Brooklyn, you can force people to come out to you from Manhattan, on the grounds that it’s inconvenient for you to travel to them? I think? I don’t even want to refute this, because I want so hard for this to be true. The last time I played the Brooklyn card with someone I knew as the last time we spoke. I think he’s married with a kid now, according to his Facebook timeline.

MYTH: People say that Brooklyn is the “New Manhattan.”
REALITY: Nobody actually says this because nobody wants to be the New Manhattan. “New Manhattan” is one of those locations in a sci-fi movie where everyone is slowly dying of radiation and the MTA is still raising subway fare and reducing train service.

All in all, the Brooklyn of Friends With Kids is not what you’re going to get when you sign that lease in the 112. What you will get is an intimate knowledge of every place where you can transfer to the G train, some kind of spot to set up your grill in the summer, and a bunch of fun bars and restaurants to park your stroller while you keep trying to forget that you just had a kid, because you still feel like you just graduated college. What the movie does have right, though, is that eventually everyone you know, the ones playing the Manhattan Card (which is an actual thing), will move out to Brooklyn, and then they’ll act like there never was another place in the city that they wanted to live. So Brooklyn wins in the end. Or does it?


  1. timdonnelly

    I know it’s a movie, but how does pop culture keep getting depictions of Brooklyn so egregiously wrong? It’s not like this is the 80s and Brooklyn is some unknown wasteland on the other side of the river. Do people who make movies/TV never bother to visit? Will future entertainment flip the switch and make egregious overstatements about what it’s like to live in Manhattan from a Brooklyn perspective?

    • eric_silver

      To me, it felt like if Donald Trump were to host a cooking show. “Now, find a jar of beluga caviar lying around and you can make this great recipe…” Jennifer Westfeldt, otherwise known as the unofficial Mrs. Hamm, may be a little out of touch with how people who don’t have day- and night-nannies live.

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