Latest posts by Spencer Grover (see all)
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In the battle of the boroughs, no matchup is more contentious than a head to head fight between Manhattan and Brooklyn. If you want to inflame the passions of your fellow bar dwellers or coffee swillers, asking which is better can cause a fiery debate, at best, or even an all-out brawl. To ask the question of which borough bests the other is also to ask a deeply personal question. Who am I and what is important to me? So keep an open mind as we ring the bell for the cage fight of the decade to figure out which borough owns New York.
Brokers or Baristas
The population of Brooklyn has been out-pacing Manhattan for years and now tops it by over 1 million people. In a Braveheart-style, head-to-head battlefield matchup, Brooklyn would overwhelm Manhattan in sheer size by almost 2 to 3. Over the last two decades, Brooklyn has also grown at a faster pace than Manhattan. Fueled by more affordable housing and larger land mass, moving to Brooklyn has historically meant a bigger bang for your buck in the housing market. That gap, however, is shrinking as housing prices in both boroughs continue to rise.
Thinking of the boroughs in a purely stereotypical view gives way to images of Wall Street yuppies of Manhattan and bearded baristas in Brooklyn. The numbers though, don’t really reflect that. The population of 25 to 34-year-olds in Manhattan is a whopping 22.6% while Brooklyn comes in at 17.8% within the same demographic. The idea that Brooklyn is both younger and hipper is largely untrue. Manhattan is, at least, younger. The population of Manhattan is also more educated, with nearly twice as many college graduates as Brooklyn. Plus, the per capita income is over twice as much.
Crime and Punishment
In a head-to-head matchup, when it comes to crime, you’d be forgiven if you immediately declare Manhattan the winner with the lowest crime rate. I mean, half of Goodfellas takes place on the mean streets of Brooklyn, right? Well, if you do think that Brooklyn has more crime than Manhattan, you would be flat out wrong.
Crime rates have fallen drastically in New York since the 1990s, but you still have a 20% higher chance of being the victim of a crime if you are in Manhattan. While Brooklyn has a slightly higher violent crime rate, property crime such as burglary, theft and motor vehicle theft is significantly higher in Manhattan. Frankly, we blame all the tourists staring up at the Empire State Building or staring down at Google Maps instead of paying attention to their surroundings or who they’re about to walk into–but I’ll let you come to your own conclusions.
Beyond the Numbers
Numbers don’t mean everything and demographics can only tell part of the story. To live in Brooklyn or in Manhattan is largely a personal choice. Where you work, what you can afford and how you like to spend your time is largely going to dictate who wins in your mind. Our diplomatic side will tell you that you can’t go wrong either way. Both places are cool. Both places are fun. It’s even possible to love both Brooklyn and Manhattan.
So who wins in the battle of Brooklyn and Manhattan?