Novelist Thomas Wolfe famously said you can never go home again. But Wolfe, author of Only the Dead Know Brooklyn and a resident of Brooklyn Heights, should have known better.
Because, in fact, you can leave Brooklyn, travel ten thousand miles, or halfway around the globe, and arrive where?
That's because Brooklyn, NY is not the only Brooklyn in the world. Here's a brief sketch of 4 other Brooklyns around the world, in order of how far they are from our own Brooklyn Bridge.
1. Brooklyn, Australia (Est. 10,530 miles from the Brooklyn Bridge)
Where is the furthest you can go from your home in Brooklyn, New York, yet still arrive in Brooklyn? The answer is Brooklyn, Australia, about thirty miles from Sydney.
Tourists from Brooklyn, NY are advised to head to Peat's Bite in Brooklyn, Australia. Images of this lovely restaurant offer a fantasy view of what our own Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal might become someday: an upscale, charming, and clean waterside destination. (However, wait ten years until the Superfund cleanup removes the toxic muck.)
Distance from Brooklyn, NY to Brooklyn, Australia: 10,530 miles
2. Brooklyn, New Zealand (Est. 8,946 miles from Sunset Park, Brooklyn NY)
Residents of Brooklyn, NY may be known for bluster. And, certain Brooklyn elected officials are famous for blowing hot air about, well, anything Brooklyn. But Brooklyn, New Zealand has actual street cred when it comes to wind power — at least of the environmental kind.
Perched on the hills above the city of Wellington, the Brooklyn wind turbine started operation in 1993. It's that nation's oldest operating wind turbine, according to the New Zealand Wind Energy Association.Visitors from the flat terrain of Brooklyn, New York, might find it fun to take the mile-long hike up to the Brooklyn turbine. This site affords views of Wellington's harbor that rival Sunset Park, Brooklyn's views of New York Harbor.
Distance from Brooklyn, NY to Brooklyn, New Zealand: about 8,946 miles
3. Brooklyn, South Africa (Est.7,976 miles from Williamsburg, Brooklyn)
Brooklyn, South Africa is a suburb of the city of Pretoria. It is bounded by the University of Pretoria and the wonderfully-named suburbs of Groenkloof and Waterkloof.
Residents of Brooklyn, NY may be surprised to learn that South Africa's doppelgänger sounds remarkably similar to gentrified neighborhoods in our borough. Not unlike Brooklyn's hipster Williamsburg, South Africa's Brooklyn boasts high-end residential properties, world-class restaurants, and "hip coffee shops."
Fashionistas from Flatbush, Brooklyn who like to shop at Kings Plaza Mall or the Atlantic Center might enjoy visiting South Africa's, what else, Brooklyn Mall.
Distance from Brooklyn, NY to Brooklyn, South Africa: about 7,976 miles
4. Breuckelen, Netherlands (Est.3,643 miles from Coney Island)
Last but not least among the Brooklyns of the world is our borough's namesake, Breuckelen in Holland. Historical ties between the Brooklyns run deep.
Starting with "Coney Island," many local names in the Big Apple's Bklyn are traceable to Dutch people and towns.
More recently, Brooklynites have reached out to Breucklenites. An article on the Brooklyn Central Library's website — listed under "Brooklyn (Non New York")— describes an old flier from the Brooklyn Heights Garden Club, titled "Brooklyn Adopts Breuckelen." Dating to the early 1940s, the flier urged Brooklyn Heights residents to donate knitted underwear and safety pins, luncheon meat and marmelade, and that war-time essential, corsets, to our war-torn sister city.
Distance from Brooklyn, NY to Brooklyn Netherlands: about 3,645 miles
5. Travel Abroad, from Brooklyn NY to 4 Other Brooklyns Around the World
It's perfectly possible to hop-scotch the world from one Brooklyn to another. One can travel from Brooklyn, NY, to Breuckelen in the Netherlands. And from there, it's easy to jet to Brooklyn, South Africa and on to the Brooklyns of New Zealand and Australia.
So, here's a madcap organizing principle for aspiring globe trotters who live in Brooklyn, NY. Just head toward the very place from whence you came: Brooklyn.