Berkeley and Brooklyn: An eerie similarity

Brooklyn and Berkeley. They share so much more than the same initial letter and bridges that also begin with “B”. If you read the New York Times, you will find their regular, nay almost obsessive, coverage of the goings-on in Brooklyn neighborhoods such as Park Slope, spookily familiar. The demographic, the passions, the fashions — down to the adoration of the canine species — it’s all a bit of a Brooklyn-Berkeley blur.

The May edition of San Francisco Magazine decided to put the similarities to the test in a “Berkeley versus Brooklyn smackdown” (not yet online, unfortunately). Here are some sample questions from their pop-quiz:

  • In which city is there a store selling up to 30 different types of boas — not the feathery kind but the slithery kind?
  • In which city did an esteemed local author once write that “the default facial expression is the suspicious frown”?
  • In which city is there a hat store in which none of the hats are made of wool, because the owner believes wool causes baldness?
  • In which city can you buy a water bottle with a spout and a bowl, so that you and your dog can sip simultaneously?

See? It’s not necessarily that easy to discern which city is the answer. Shall we give you the answers or leave you in suspense? We think the latter. Oh, alright then, the answers are: Berkeley (the Vivarium we assume); Berkeley (Michael Chabon we assume — and BTW Michael, if you would let us have a copy of that fabulous “Ode to Berkeley” essay, we would be honored to publish it); Brooklyn; and Brooklyn.

So the outstanding question, as SF Mag points out, is which city is more smug, more chic and more culinary correct? That’s your call, Berkeleysiders.


[Hat tip — again — Nancy Friedman.]