My Brooklyn – If you Had One Day To Explore, Do This
I wasn’t born here, but I went to school here and I grew up here. First time I had to pay rent on my own was in this borough, and even now, living with my husband and planning for a baby we live in Brooklyn. And, while the borough has gone and continues to go through many changes it has become an extension of Manhattan, and a place that is on the ‘must visit’ list of most tourists.
It is difficult to give you one day in Brooklyn, as an example if you are a hip-hop fan you should visit the many parts of this city where some of your favorite artists grew up and grew into their music, including; Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. If you are an art fan then the many incredible murals lining the streets serve not only as a free museum but as a modern art history lesson about how far street art has come from its early days of dressing the train carts of New York. And, if you love food, then this city can be your haven for a variety of New York culture and authenticity that you would seldom find anywhere else in such abbundance and acceptance.
When it comes specifically to Brooklyn I will say that the sights you’ll encounter on my BK DAY list below will be those same iconic ‘pots card’ views you’ve seen on pictures and browsed in magazines, so yes, the Brooklyn below is about 50% tourist and 50% native. In reality why not see the bridges and gaze on the Brooklyn landscapes that have made this part of the city so known in other part of the world.
I have however infused your BK DAY below with some local restaurants, great shops and some ‘not so walked paths’, so go ahead and dive in (just wear great walking shoes guys), New York in total is a city that needs to be walked.
YOUR ONE DAY in BK LIST (in order of activities)
Start earlier in the day, and start in the East Village at the entry of the Williamsburg Bridge and WALK YOUR WAY into Brooklyn (you’ll be safe and fine) and you will get the most iconic view of the city on both ends.
Turn left off of the bridge and continue towards Bedford avenue from the South to North side.
Stop off in shops and enjoy the street art and views of the bridge from below.
STOP into THE BAGEL SHOP and try, buy or take a picture of the famous rainbow bagel (these guys started it)
If you’re into an incredible (not super cheap) meal there are two places I recommend
Maison Premier (oyster heaven, great foodie dishes and the most incredible wine and alcohol selection)
Desnuda (best ceviche ever and an incredible atmosphere – you will LOVE this place)
5 Leaves (OMG love this place, buts its at the edge of Williamsburg & Greenpoint, takes no reservations and on a busy day has a long ‘worth it’ wait) – if you can go on a Monday or Tuesday for lunch YUM! yum, yum.
Less expensive options are everywhere and you can pop into any shop and simply have a great burger, a glass of wine or some eggs
After dinner (or before) hop into the Bedford Cheese Shop and taste a gigantic assortment of cheeses with a cheese expert
Continue next door to have desert with the biggest desert selection since Disney Land
For an iconic drink stop (lets say its your birthday, hit up the William Vale WESTLIGHT balcony bar (and snacks) early and say all night overlooking the incredible views of the city.
My two main picks for vintage just a few blocks around the corner are below. These have the best selections, large and authentic and fun in all styles and genres.
and of course they have everything from Sandro to lululemon , but i would hit up the more local stores
You can continue to walk through Bedford and to McCarren park, it’s a great scene in the summer and spring when everyone pulls out blankets and plays music and eats on the large lawn of the park
If you don’t walk left to explore Greenpoint catch a taxi to Bushwhack and walk around the Brooklyn/ Bushwick Art Collective (the street art and culture in this area is worth it) – Book a Walking Tour here
Then catch a last taxi over to Dumbo and find yourself in the ‘movie set’ part of the borough where you can stroll the cobble stone streets, take the most iconic pictures at the Brooklyn bridge, explore shops, bars and restaurants and walk over to the carousel, then down the board walk and finally over the Brooklyn bridge and back into downtown Manhattan
GOING OUT LATE (and partying ‘all night’) IN BK
Book a table or just walk on into House of Yes (it will be one of the best, funnest night of your year) – it starts late so get there at 11pm or midnight and party till 5am
Catch a band and bowl all day into night at Brooklyn Bowl – start at lunch and stay into the night
Checkout whats happening at the Knitting Factory
Dance all night at Output (book the Williamsburg hotel next door to stay overnight and never worry about a taxi)
Look up TBA Brooklyn
See whats happening at Verboten
See whose performing at Baby’s All Right
STAYING OVERNIGHT IN BK
You know I am a fan of Air B n B (look for one in Greenpoint, Williamsburg or Dumbo to be close to the city if visiting from out of town)
Now, a Little about my Brooklyn
#brooklyn writing exercise .0023
I remember the Brooklyn Navy Yard, stuck in time and overgrown, wedged between the narratives of downtown Brooklyn’s abandoned warehouses, the edges of Bedford Stuyvesant and the elevated apartments of Dumbo.
I’d walk with my dog, as always in Brooklyn -pitbulls are respected and girls like me- not a standard fixture, but I grew up in this city, the various parts and partitions of it…
I’d wear lose pants and baseball caps and I’d go running down streets most would consider ‘not for tourists’ – sometimes braving the cold by first running the stairs in our warehouse style apartment building, the steel pipping hissing at me and the cold railing cutting my skin with winters frost if I grabbed it too fast at the top of the roof
I grew up here, in this landscape of concrete and unconventional dreams
broken slabs of old moldings lining the once prestigious government buildings,
the new turned old and wise and gritty with time
The small outlines of steel window linings dressing the outside of cloned windows;
hopes and dreams festering or gone
The rich parts of the city always seemed too far in my youth, and then, suddenly too fake in my adolescence and then, all to promising in my later years -promising but tricky
This place, this borough- it balances those odd needs in me,
that local pizza slice shop feeling; smells lingering, accents braising
the bodega coffee I write so much about, the cups always burning your fingers
the large intersections that rise and fall like bridges, passages and barriers; dangerous, promising
Brooklyn, Queens, the graffiti heavy stop signs and buses and the way it’s still different from the checkmate street outlines of middle Manhattan- all in the ways I still need it to be
In my own life things are changing now- inevitably so,
More at stake
The whole of life if front of me leaning
And yet, while no designer coffee shop in any borough can fill that void- the hopes and dreams of an entrepreneur opening them always can ♥️ -Bc the more things change, the more, in someways they stay the same.