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Day Trip To Brooklyn
There are lots of things to do on the Brooklyn side of the East River. The first thing that you have to realize is the Brooklyn is much larger than Manhattan and has many different areas. Here are some suggestions:
1. The Heights and DUMBO. There are the two neighborhoods on the BK side of the Bridge. DUMBO is down the stairs, make a left and another left down Washington Street. There are the Galleries at 111 Front Street, Jacques Torres Chocolate and Almondine on Water Street and the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory and Brooklyn Bridge Park by the water. Where DUMBO is reclaimed industrial buildings, the Heights is composed mainly of beautiful brownstone buildings. The Fruit Tree Streets area – Orange, Cranberry, Willow, Pinapple and Middaugh are particularly lovely.
2. Park Slope: Take the 2/3 train from Clark Street to Grand Army Plaza. The Plaza itself is beautiful with a triumphant arch and the great Bailey Fountain. Here, you are at the corner of Prospect Park, and just up Eastern Parkway is the Botanic Garden as well as the Brooklyn Museum. Down the slope is …well Park Slope. Great shopping on 5th and 7th Avenues. Fifth is especially noted for its pubs, boutiques and restaurants.
3. Brighton Beach / Coney Island. Brighton Beach appears to be grimy, under the el train, but the area grows on you. Great Russian stores like M&I International on Brighton Beach Ave. Great Russian Restaurants like Cafe Glechick on Coney Island Avenue. Then, walk from under the el into the bright sky of the Boardwalk. Walk the Boardwalk to Coney Island and ride the Cyclone or Wonder Wheel. Hot dogs at Nathans. Subway back from Stillwell Ave.
4. Williamsburg. You can take the water taxi from the pier in DUMBO to get here. If you are here during the weekend, there will either be Schmorgasburg or the Brooklyn Flea by the water on N6th Street. Brooklyn Brewery is open weekends during the day on N11. Bedford Ave is one of the liveliest in the City. A great place to walk around. If you keep heading to the South side, you rapidly come to the Satmar Hassidic area. Back to Manhattan by the L train on Bedford.
5. Atlantic Ave. – This is just a quintessential Brooklyn street. Formerly dowdy, it has sprung up with all sorts of cool restaurants and stores. You can walk from the Bridge , down Adams and then Make a right on Atlantic heading to the water or make a left on Atlantic and head uo to Park Slope and Prospect Park/Botanic Gardens ]directly up Atlantic and then veer right at the fork on Flatbush Ave.] This is about a two mile walk from the Bridge.
Please remember that Brooklyn is not only Williamsburg, DUMBO, Park Slope. It is a very large borough, used to be its own city. The areas listed are the “popular” Brooklyn areas, often inhabited by recent “upper middle class white” “immigrants” not long-term Brooklyn.
I lived near Brooklyn College area, a quiet and lovely place, esp. along Bedford Ave (“south”). You can go out to Marine Park for a nice walk around a tidal basin from Jamaica Bay, get seafood right off fishing boats in Sheepshead Bay, do some Italian shopping in Bensonhurst, walk along older lovely apartments on Eastern Parkway – and stop in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and Brooklyn Musuem (excellent). There’s lots of ethnic diversity along Coney Island Ave. out towards Brighton Beach (Pakistani, Russian, etc.)
One of my favorite bike rides is on Bedford Avenue from Sheepsead Bay [another interesting place] all the way up to Empire Boulevard. Along the way you pass beautiful houses on Bedford Ave [including Dodger great Gil Hodges home], Brooklyn College and a wonderful art deco Sears. On this ride I go though many different neighborhoods, each with its own vibe.
I also think of Coney Island Avenue. The street itself will never be considered a tourist destination. But, there is something cool about the fact that stores catering to the areas orthodox Jews are side by side with store catering to the areas Islamic population. It is not uncommon here to find a Pakistani sweet shop right next door to Rabbi Hecht’s Esrog Center. Brooklyn is indeed a glorious hodge-podge of architecture, food and people. And however long you spend here, realize that you are only scratching the surface.