40 Signs You Grew Up In Brooklyn

An ode to everyone who always knew Brooklyn had the coolest neighborhoods in America — way before they became the coolest neighborhoods in America.

1. Six Flags Great Adventure? Pssshaw. You had Nellie Bly.

And it’s where you perfected the art of Skee-Ball.

2. Your parents took you to this place for pizza and Italian ices.

Robyn Lee / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: roboppy

3. And brought home cheesecakes from Junior’s for special occasions.

Wally Gobetz / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: wallyg

4. (But you know Circo’s was actually way better.)

Joseph A / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: josepha

5. If you grew up in the Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, or Williamsburg vicinity, you had at least one neighbor with a rooster that would wake you up (literally) at the crack of dawn.

Angela Antunes / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: photo_blackangel

6. It was sort of tolerable on weekdays, but on weekends you were all like:

7. You’ve been well aware since toddlerhood that the best pierogies outside of Poland are just off the G train.

Robyn Lee / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: roboppy

8. You know “You can have cheez on anything you pleez” at Roll-n-Roaster (and you did).

HungryJac / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: hungryjac

9. You’d wait on a line the length of the Berlin Wall for beef patties and pastries from this place:

10. If you still live in Brooklyn, at first you scorned the bevy of cool kids invading your turf…

11. …but you soon learned to love the fact that you no longer needed to leave a two-block radius to have a fun night out.

Kenn Wilson / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: kchrist

(i.e., drink cocktails in a bar frequented by more than two stinky alcoholic regulars and eat a meal that wasn’t prepared behind the Domino’s counter.)

12. Though you were also weirded out by the newfound feeling of being judged by hipsters every time you walked to the deli in your chancletas and PJs.

Wutevz. Over it.

13. You skated/BMXed at Owl’s Head Park and the Brooklyn Banks.

RIP, scoping out sk8er hotties at Brooklyn Banks.

14. You went to metal and hardcore shows at L’Amour (and feel weird reading it spelled like that because you always called it L’Amours).

And if you didn’t have a car, after shows ended you waited in angsty packs on the subway platform for a train back home…for like, an hour.

15. You probably used your chalked ID to get in.

Rat Phlegm / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: rphlegm

Yeah, you know what this pencil is for.

16. Sucked to be you if you lived in Marine Park, Mill Basin, or Red Hook, because you knew none of your friends were coming over to hang in the hood that was roughly 1738921 miles from the nearest subway stop.

There wasn’t even an Ikea to lure them your way.

17. You remember when the L train was the LL — and if you don’t, as a commuting teen you were totally confused by your parents calling it the LL train for years after the second letter was dropped.

18. When you hear the word “freestyle,” your mind doesn’t turn to rap but to the purest form of dance music created by angels from above:

TKA, Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam, Lil’ Suzy, Exposé, Shannon…

19. As a kid, you took Brooklyn showers all summer long.

Bitchcakes / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: bitchcakes

Ed note: Memories aside, please be green!

20. The first time you heard gunshots, you were like:

21. And then every time after that, you were just like:

22. Before the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg, there was the Giglio Feast.

Once you go fried Oreo, you never go back.

23. It takes you less than two minutes to let the stranger you’re talking to know you were born in Brooklyn.

Daniel Schwen / Creative Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

24. And if you don’t, your accent usually gives you away immediately. Or at least when you’re drunk and/or really angry.

Also, you don’t understand how people can’t differentiate Queens, Bronx, and Brooklyn accents in a heartbeat.

25. You pronounce it DEE-kalb, not deh-KALB.

26. You could take to Fulton Street with $100 for your back-to-school shopping and come home with a full year’s wardrobe.

David Shankbone / Creative Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org

27. You were all like this when you got the day off for Brooklyn-Queens Day:

Sorry, suckers in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island! The city was ours in which to run amok.

28. Your junior high and high school dances looked something like this:

And to this day, you’re still not really sure how to dance any other way.

29. Favorite school trip? The one you made here every year. Penguinnnnnnns!

David Shankbone / Creative Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org

PS: The aquarium had been temporarily closed due to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, and it partially reopened on May 25. Donations to help rebuild the aquarium can be made here.

30. If your teachers were extra-awesome, they’d take you to this gem afterward:

Beware the bathroom of death.

31. Applying to high school took roughly as long as the Seven Years’ War and required more effort and tears than planning a wedding.

You could build biceps the size of The Rock’s by weight training with the high school directory book.

CC: all other boroughs.

32. You secretly hoped you’d score high enough on the specialized high school exam to get into Brooklyn Tech but not Bronx Science or Stuyvesant so your commute would be sweeeeeet.

Jim Henderson / Creative Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org

33. Before romantic dates here were part of the equation, you spent the surly summer nights of your youth discreetly drinking 40s on the promenade in Brooklyn Heights.

Kmf164 / Creative Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

34. Your parents always talk about “the old days” playing stoop ball (but you’re maybe still not really sure how it worked).

Sweet threads.

35. You remember when Malcolm X was filmed here…

36. …and Requiem for a Dream

37. …and Half Nelson.

Hey, baby.

38. This song is totally played out, but you still get pumped and sing along when you hear it.

And cornily shout out your neighborhood when it comes up.

39. You’re proud to share your hometown with some of the greats: MCA, Biggie, Jay-Z, Barbra Streisand, Tony Danza, Joan Rivers, Basquiat…

Michael Morel / Creative Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

RIP, Adam Yauch.

40. This view always reminds you you’re home.

Beyond My Ken / Creative Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

…and that you wouldn’t trade growing up in Brooklyn for anything else in the world.

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