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The Berkeley vs. Brooklyn smackdown

Nan Wiener | April 23, 2010 | Lifestyle Story City Life Culture Neighborhoods Travel Weekend Escapes

After reading Patricia Marx’s article in the New Yorker about shopping in Brooklyn (“Borough Haul,” March 8), you might think that the East Coast city has grabbed the cooler-than-thou crown. But it’s a tricky call: See if you can tell which town claims ownership of the following places, attitudes, and truly bizarre pet paraphernalia.

In which city...

1. …will you find a store where mozzarella is made fresh every hour?
Brooklyn
Berkeley

2a. …are all the books written by people named Jonathan?
Brooklyn
Berkeley

2b. …are they written by people named Michael?

Brooklyn
Berkeley

3. …is there a store selling up to 30 different types of boas—not the feathery kind but the slithery kind?
Brooklyn
Berkeley

4. …can you buy a water bottle with a spout and a bowl, so you and your dog can sip simultaneously?
Brooklyn
Berkeley

5. …did the following inci­­dent occur on an online parenting network? Someone put up a post saying she’d found a hat that belonged to an older boy. Outrage soon ensued. One person demanded, “What makes this a boy’s hat? Did you see the boy himself lose it?” Another asked, “What does this say about younger children who happen to have large heads?”
Brooklyn
Berkeley

6. …is there a curio shop whose owner partic­ularly likes “unusual dark stuff that is related to mourning”?
Brooklyn
Berkeley

7. …is there a hat store in which none of the hats are made of wool, because the owner believes wool causes baldness?

Brooklyn
Berkeley

8. …is the founder and abbott of the Zen Center a Jew named Mel Weitsman?
Brooklyn
Berkeley

9. …is there a restaurant that offers locavore, vegan, and gluten-free food; SOB (sustainable, organic, and biodynamic) wines; and a juicy cheeseburger and a meatball platter?
Brooklyn
Berkeley

10. …did women make a concerted effort to break the Guinness World Record for the number of them breastfeeding at the same time?
Brooklyn
Berkeley

11. …did an esteemed local author (see questions 2a and 2b) once write that “the default facial expression is the suspicious frown”?
Brooklyn
Berkeley

12. …are locals flocking to a Facebook group devoted to regional variations on the “your mama” joke? (“Your mom is so Brooklyn/Berkeley, she...”)
Brooklyn
Berkeley






Answers:
1. Brooklyn; 2a. Brooklyn (Jonathan Lethem, Jonathan Ames, Jonathan Safran Foer); 2b. Berkeley (Michael Chabon, Michael Lewis, Michael Pollan); 3. Berkeley; 4. Brooklyn; 5. Sounds like Berkeley, but it’s really Brooklyn; 6. Brooklyn; 7. Brooklyn; 8. Berkeley; 9. To find out, see Critic's Table; 10. Berkeley (FYI: They succeeded); 11. Sounds like Brooklyn, but it’s really Berkeley; 12. Berkeley.



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