Turf Wars: The City Vs. Suburbs Debate on the Blogosphere

Wee Westchester’s “Westchester vs. Brooklyn” post caused a ruckus on the parenting blogosphere. Here’s a sampling of the arguments for raising your kids in the city versus raising your kids in the suburbs.

woman hailig a taxiOkay, these posts were all in jest (or mostly, anyway)—but the humor, the longing (for home, for like-minded people, for closet space), and the topics up for debate have all grown out of reality. In case you missed it: It all began back in January when Wee Westchester posted a tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek harangue called “Westchester vs. Brooklyn.” The comments poured in, and other bloggers followed suit with posts defending their home turf of choice. In late February, the Style section of The New York Times took the debate to a new level, focusing on style, not substance, in Alex Williams’s “Creating Hipsturbia.” Just for fun, here’s a sampling of the online back-and-forth that ensued:

The original post from Wee Westchester consisted of 10 reasons Westchester “is the better place to raise kids”:

Reason No. 5: “Because we don’t have to double-park our cars in front of our house, run the kids and all of the stuff we need to bring inside, and then drive around looking for a parking spot.”

Retort: “I never have to navigate a parking lot to avoid getting hit by a huge Chevy Suburban driven by a mom who can barely see over the steering wheel.” —Tracy Lantz, a.k.a. iheartbrklyn on Brooklyn to the Burbs 


Reason No. 8: “Because we’ll never be hip. And we’re okay with that.”

Retort: “Brooklynites are hip? Well, we are definitely not hip. The thought of my husband wearing skinny jeans is literally enough to send coffee squirting out of my nose.” —iheartbrklyn

No Offense Intended: “Hipsterism may be alive and well in Brooklyn, but it exists elsewhere too (although not likely at the Starbucks in Rye).” —Deirdre (whose blog bio reads “I’m in love with Brooklyn but not sure it’s a healthy relationship”) on her blog BKLYN or BEYOND 

Taking-Our-Tongue-Out-of-Our-Cheek Conclusion: “Should the question be not who’s hipper, but who’s happier?” —Krista Madsen, in her contribution to the conversation on Terrytown-Sleepy Hollow Patch

Comment from the Just-Thinking-About-Moving Camp: “…many of us have grown weary of living in claustrophobic, overpriced boxes after long days and many years working in cubes, and considering an alternative while still having access to the greatest city in the world is fun, and healthy.” —commenter who lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, on the original Wee Westchester post


Lexi Dwyer, a contributor to A Child Grows in Brooklyn, countered with 10 reasons she’s staying put in her borough:

Reason No. 8: “Our kids would be more likely to win in a fight. Maybe I’m reaching here. But at the very least, ‘born in Brooklyn’ or ‘raised in Brooklyn’ should give them enough street cred to last a lifetime, right?” (If you had any doubt before that these posts weren’t 100 percent sincere, I’m guessing it’s setting in about now.)

One forward-looking Brooklynite on why she’s staying in the city (lol): “And then after [my not-yet-teenaged son] returns from college or grad school he gets to live rent-free in New York City while toiling away in his internship and first job.”


Reason No. 10: “We’ve got 36,000 residents packed into every square mile: How can that many people be wrong?”

Retort: “Ugh…. Does 36,000 residents packed into every square mile really sound appealing to anyone? Seriously? I feel the bed bugs crawling just thinking about it.” —Madsen

Concluding Thought No. 1: “Ultimately I think when you have kids you find yourself gravitating to a place that resembles the place where you grew up. For me that’s memories of endless days spent playing outside with no parents for miles. (Not possible now anywhere).” —Madsen

Concluding Thought No. 2: “Where you plant your family’s roots shouldn’t be about comparing apples with oranges. It should be about HOME. What feels like home for you.” —iheartbrklyn

Glad-for-the-Debate Weigh-In: “I wish I had that ‘I’m in love with where I live’ feeling, but I don’t, at least not yet. I like [Larchmont] just fine…and think in a lot of ways it’s the perfect transitional place, but overall there is still a vague, lingering question mark…. I guess what I am trying to say is that here we are, out of the city, which is a big hurdle in and of itself, and yet I am still dealing with the ‘what do we want’ issue.” —Corey on her blog Brooklyn to the Burbs

Proof that Everything Old Is New Again: “I actually love the life we’ve made in Brooklyn and I’d be part heartbroken to give that up. Doesn’t mean that I don’t want to dream about something else.” —Deirdre on her blog BKLYN or BEYOND…more than one year ago

You-Can-Take-the-Girl-Out-of-Brooklyn… Footnote: “I thought I’d be the last one to bail on Brooklyn. I made fun of the families who did. (To this day, I still pay monthly bills for a 718 number for my nostalgia.)” —Madsen