Kowloon is to Hong Kong as Brooklyn is to Manhattan.
The analogy is uncanny. Brooklyn is a reluctant sidekick to the much more glamorous Manhattan Island on the other side of the East River. Although Brooklyn is just one subway stop away from lower Manhattan, that two-minute train ride is what separates the men from the boys. Snooty Manhattanites, convinced that there is nothing in Brooklyn that you can’t find back on the island, would never voluntarily cross the river unless some extraordinary reason warrants the inconvenience, such as to visit a friend who has thoughtlessly moved to the “boroughs.” Brooklyn neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Brooklyn Heights are often touted by real estate agents using self-defeating sales pitches like “the city view on this side of the East River is so much better. Look how gorgeous Manhattan is!”
The sister rivalry between Brooklyn and Manhattan is a staple for New York-centric TV series like Friends, Will & Grace and Sex and the City. The same rivalry exists between Kowloon and Hong Kong. If you still don’t see the parallel, read the preceding paragraph again and replace “East River” with “Victoria Harbour,” “Williamsburg” with “Whampoa” and “Brooklyn Heights” with “Olympic City” and you’ll get my point..
Read the rest of this essay in HONG KONG State of Mind, available at major bookstores in Hong Kong and at Blacksmith Books.
|HONG KONG State of Mind|