Living in Brooklyn is a strange mixture of small-town America and New York City. If I walk up the wrong avenue - as I did yesterday - it's all well-kept houses with elegant little gardens in front, elderly ladies walking their dogs and kids playing in back-yards and on pavements. The next street is suddenly all businesses - lawyers, doctors, designers in rows of adapted houses turned office buildings. The wide sidewalks are lined with expensive cars, and men with cellphones pace impatiently before the doors. This street carries me into 5th Avenue, and I pass turkish restaurants, greek vegetable-markets, korean fish-markets (finally, that was my goal. It's next to a sushi restaurant - that should be a good sign, right?) and danish bakeries. I have passed the Norge Travel and the Kon-Tiki Travels on my way. Italian restaurants flood the sidewalks with the scent of garlic and freshly baked bread, and elegant french cafe's are trying to distinguish themselves from Dunkin' Doughnuts.
Despite the variety, the pace is slower here than on Manhattan. People have time to say hello, shop-keepers can smile and flirt with their regular customers - and you can become a regular. I am being recognized now - there's the guy who repared my sandal strap while I waited, and the two little korean women who did my nails, they wave when ever I pass the window. And over all of it, there's that aggressive Brooklyn love. Swear-words shooting loudly through the air, like kisses, and being returned in kind.