Brooklyn : New Zealand : : Manhattan : Australia


Brooklyn : New Zealand : : Manhattan : Australia

Brooklyn is to New Zealand as Manhattan is to Australia.

Though separated only by a small piece of water they are worlds away. Indeed, they have some similarities e.g., same language, same flag (more or less). But that’s where the homogeneity ends.

Ask someone from Australia if they’ve been to New Zealand and you’ll find that more often than not the answer is no. Ask someone from Manhattan if they’ve been to Brooklyn and don’t be surprised if you come across a few natives who never have. Curiously, the opposite is not true. Many New Zealanders have been to Australia and many people in Brooklyn go to Manhattan on a daily basis. Interestingly, I’ve yet to find the subway not working from Brooklyn to Manhattan though I have encountered the opposite two times during my short stay.

The analogy holds true in terms of culture. Manhattan/Australia is the cool kid in the classroom. It’s the big lights, the real deal. The hipster part of Brooklyn is like New Zealand. Life is slower, people are kinder, albeit weirder, and that’s just the way they like it.

The pace is also different. The hustle and bustle of the Manhattan slows down when you cross the bridge into Brooklyn and make your way into neighborhoods like Greenpoint and Williamsburg. There you can cross the street without fear of getting run over and, on occasion, a taxi may give a pedestrian the right of way. In New Zealand, which has a population of 4.5 million people, you’re much more likely to encounter a traffic jam on account of the 30 million sheep than you are from automobiles.

The relationship is not without its own rivalries. Take food and sport. Where can you find the best pizza? Is it Brooklyn or Manhattan? Who has the better basketball team? Is it the Knicks or the Nets? The All Blacks from New Zealand certainly have dominated the rugby competition.

Finally, take the cost of living. Though apartments in Brooklyn are still outrageous, the pint at one of the local pubs won’t cost you the $13 that it would at a club in Manhattan. Compare Wellington to Sydney and you’ll find the same.

So close, yet so far, Brooklyn : New Zealand : : Manhattan : Sydney.

Which do you prefer?

I like Detroit.

The big buildings of Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge





  1. Some of your information is dated.

    The current population of New Zealand is about 4.5 million. The population was 3 million in 1974.

    The latest NZ national livestock survey showed the number of sheep at 29.6 million. There have not been 60 million sheep in NZ since the 1980’s, when the number peaked at 70 million in 1982.

    Sydney is Australia’s largest city. Wellington is NZ’s third largest city. If you compare the cost of living of the two largest cities from both (Sydney – Auckland), you will find it to be much closer, as there is currently a housing shortage in Auckland.

    • Oh I’ll update the sheep info but the theme remains the same. And I used cities I’ve visited to capture the essence of my message which holds true. Housing shortage doesn’t affect my analysis. I said Brooklyn is expensive.

    • This will teach me to do more than read headlines. I googled ‘population of new zealand sheep’ and the website showed up. Only if you look carefully, you’ll see it/s ‘/mythbusters’. Still, the SEO is doing nothing to curb the 60 million myth by having this result come up first.

    • Just seen this ‘fwiw’ part. It was a parallel of Brooklyn to Manhattan which is separated by a small piece of water. If you didn’t enjoy the post that’s fine, but not everything should be taken literally, leave some room for creativity.

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