This is also not really a rant.
I love my city, and my borough. I grew up here until we moved when I was 12 1/2, and I moved back when I got married. And I missed it every day in between.
I know it's dirty in places, and depressed, and there are areas of desperate poverty, but it's also...freeing. I don't need a car. I can walk or take mass transit anywhere I want to go.
And the diversity. As I write, I'm in a lovely neighborhood full of Victorian brownstones and charming little shops and more coffee houses than are, well, necessary. The streets are lined with trees, and the people are amazing and you see groups of kids of every size, shape and color playing in the park.
In a very few minutes, I'll be getting on a bus and it will take me through a very different part of Brooklyn - Coney Island Avenue. And I will travel past Prospect Park, easily one of the most beautiful parks in this city, down one street. And I will pass the Russian area (including a Russian bath with a sign that shows a towel-clad man being birched by a towel-clad woman) and then the Haitian and through to the Pakistani/Arabic neighborhood with Halal restaurants and stores selling sari and gold jewelry, and population of the bus changes as I go.
And then we get to the Orthodox section, and the language changes to Hebrew or Yiddish, and the stores sell suits and hats and wigs, and kosher pizza and ice cream, and the bus fills with yeshiva boys and yeshiva girls and ladies in wigs. And if I stayed longer, the neighborhood would change again and it's all wonderful.
And I love both these areas and I love the bus ride and, outside of Israel, I can't imagine anywhere else I'd want to live.