For those who don't know, Quora is the newish questions-and-answers site favored by the Internet's nerd elite, and it's been getting a lot of buzz lately. The site's users have also started tackling some pretty heavy topics, like this one: Why is Brooklyn cooler than Manhattan? The answer, according to writer J.C. Hewitt, is not because of a flourishing dining scene or an abundance of galleries and small concert venues to nurture creative talent or even all the bearded artisans butchering animals and making gourmet pickles and chocolate. Nope, the answer to Brooklyn's eternal and elusive form of cool is, it turns out, much more simple, and rather boring: It's the superior zoning, stupid!
Here's an excerpt from Hewitt's explanation of this most important of matters:
Brooklyn has a better mix of commercial and residential real estate, with few giant towers. This creates a more human scale for communities. Businesses can afford to serve smaller quantities of customers thanks to lower rents and a better spread of residential density. The smaller customer bases that they serve enable superior niche targeting, which develops greater customer satisfaction. In Manhattan, commercial rents and the broad customer base make it so that if you open a coffee shop, you will probably fail unless you're Starbucks. In Brooklyn, you can run a neat indie coffee shop and employ a cute barista with a nose stud and tattoos and still turn a profit.
And there's more, which you should certainly read right now, because there will be a quiz. Finally, the Internet is educational!
· Why is Brooklyn cooler than Manhattan? [Quora]