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Which is all to say that, though I ride the subway most days, I'm also a bus guy. But I don't have a single friend who also rides the buses with any kind of regularity, even though most of them are also Brooklyn natives. Sometimes if they meet me in South Slope I'll get them to take the Fifth Avenue bus back to Bay Ridge with me—at that hour of night, it fucking flies—and they always marvel at the fact that they're on a bus. "I haven't been on one of these since high school," one once told me. That had been more than 10 years ago.
Why is that? Why do so many middle-class twentysomethings turn up their noses at riding the bus? I think it's the same underlying Manhattan-centrism that guided the building of the subway system. Underground trains have this romantic allure of fundamental New Yorkness that buses lack. Subways are cool. But that coolness is rooted in the fact that all routes lead to the Big City, while buses take you from fucking Bay Ridge to fucking Brownsville. Even for people who have abandoned this kind of thinking, who participate in arts happening across the outerboroughs or eat in new restaurants and drink in old bars, this assumption still resides—unrealized, unconscious—and informs their opinions of the bus system. Get over it. Ride one every once in a while. It's the Brooklyn thing to do.
Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart