A Longreads Guest Pick: Sari Botton on ‘Not Weird About Brooklyn’

Sari is a writer and editor living in Rosendale, N.Y. She writes the Conversations With Writers Braver Than Me column on The Rumpus. An anthology she edited for Seal Press, Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York, will be released Oct. 8.

“My favorite longread this week is ‘Not Weird About Brooklyn‘ by Helen Rubinstein in the Paris Review Daily. Having left the East Village for upstate eight years ago with very mixed feelings on the matter, I tend to be very curious about other people’s stories of quitting New York City. Love-hate relationships with the place are so common as to border on the cliche – ditto the city’s tenacious gravitational pull despite the hate part of that equation, despite diminishing returns over time lived there. Rubinstein acknowledges the cliche, even the one inherent in writing about it, ‘the trope of the single woman in New York,’ while giving new, nuanced, if meta, voice to it. Her criteria for a potential mate made me laugh (and I cheered this one: ‘Not anti-memoir.’). I was reminded of an essay by John Tierny in the New York Times Magazine in the mid nineties about how fundamentally picky single New Yorkers can be. (In that one, a criteria for potential mates was, ‘…has resolved her control drama.’) Nine days before she leaves, as she packs up her apartment, Rubinstein seems at once melancholy and resigned to leaving, and as if she’s trying to convince herself she’s made the right choice. It’s a familiar conversation, one I have with myself all the time.”

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