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Brooklyn Envy: America's Newest Export?

Writing in today's New York Times, Julia Moskin observes, "Among young Parisians, there is currently no greater praise for cuisine than 'très Brooklyn.'"

Had Moskin written that sentence 20 years ago, she'd be spotlighting a French mania for hot dogs, egg creams, or perhaps pizza. But today the phrase "signifies a particularly cool combination of informality, creativity, and quality." That Brooklyn has become more chic than Manhattan is hardly news to New Yorkers, or even most Americans. But I'm a little surprised to learn that word has spread across the Atlantic. That young, hip Parisians now idealize the artisanal craftsmanship of Brooklyn cuisine raises the tantalizing possibility that the borough once better known for Coney Island and Ebbets Field is now more of a gustatory Mecca than the City of Light. "It'd take a guy a lifetime to know Brooklyn troo an troo," says the narrator of Thomas Wolfe's short story, "Only The Dead Know Brooklyn." And "even den, yuh wouldn't know it all." Ain't dat la vérité.