Over the past decade, Brooklyn, the most populous of the five New York City boroughs, has become The Place To Be in New York. Brooklyn is where creative, edgy, interesting and amazing things happen.
Fact is that even Manhattanites need to admit that these days, Brooklyn really is the NYC place to be or to be seen. So here we go:
Brooklyn was originally named Breukelen, after a small town in the Netherlands. If Brooklyn would have been an independent city, it would have ranked fourth in America with over 2.6 million residents.
Brooklyn is, in fact, New York City’s most thriving, electric, energetic, and culturally rich area, and the center of Brooklyn’s cultural and creative crescent is found along the East River.
Greenpoint, Williamsburg, DUMBO, Cobble Hill, Red Hook, and Brooklyn Heights, all competing for the label ‘cultural center’ and the actual ‘heart’ of Brooklyn’s hipster scene.
Brooklyn is NYC’s borough where you can find the most interesting bookstores, the best vintage flea markets, and the most daring art galleries. Here you can find also the spectacularly weekend food fair named Smorgasburg, and energetic food entrepreneurs like Blue Bottle Coffee Roasters, Mast Brothers Chocolates, and McClure’s Pickles are also around the corner.
Brooklyn is the place where you can take part in some great fun runs and where also NYC’s most innovative restaurants are found, for example, Pok Pok in Red Hook, and Roberta’s Pizza in Bushwick. Also noteworthy is Marlow & Sons at the Williamsburg Wythe Hotel
Brooklyn also comes with spectacular some greener areas that feature historic tranquil tree-lined streets and brownstone row houses such as Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, and Park Slope.
You can enjoy impressively picturesque and historic Prospect Park that was created by Frederick Law Olmstead, the same guy that later designed Central Park. In this area you can find numerous intimate eateries, venues that feature live music events, and, arguably, also New York City’s best coffee.
This really is “the other New York”. Forget Times Square, but it is no less typically New York. Brooklyn Height, with its leafy streets, is where you’ll find the friendly steps that lead up to the characteristic brownstone row houses.
This area is very attractive to artists of name and fame an array of young entrepreneurs and for people dreaming of a career as an actor, Brooklyn Acting School offers some fine courses. Brooklyn Heights is the place to enjoy Pete’s Waterfront Ale House and have an artisan homebrew, or visit Hibino and have hake sashimi.
Boerum Hill features quite a few impressive antiques shops, small designer boutiques, and beautiful quaint homes and gardens. Boerum Hill is nestled along a thriving stretch of Atlantic Avenue on Brooklyn’s west side. As said before, many New Yorkers prefer living in Brooklyn to living in the City.
In this friendly part of Brooklyn, you can find tree-lined quaint streets with historic brownstone houses as well as intimate restaurants such as Rucola (Dean Street) and Jewish delicatessen Mile End (Hoyt Street). More out west, at the promenade along the East River waterfront, you can see many people running or taking romantic strolls. This is the perfect spot to watch the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan.
Some time ago, the land ‘Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass-DUMBO’ was still a Brooklyn ‘best-kept secret’. This is the neighborhood of cobblestone streets and brick or steel-frame factory buildings. In the 1970s, artists started to use these old factories by turning them into expansive lofts with abundant light and airy ceilings. These days, DUMBO’s population still consists of over 20 percent of artists.
Yet, the area was also discovered by richer New Yorkers and the new innovators, the high-tech startups. Check out also the seasonal Smorgasburg food fair at the old Tobacco Warehouse, and the superbly restored merry-go-round named Jane’s Carousel (the 1920s) on the East River. See also this post about Professor Juergen Polle, Brooklyn College.
This was actually the hipster movement’s birthplace. Williamsburg is really living up to its reputation and this shows also in its bearded and tattooed residents. Because it’s so close to Manhattan it became a favorite spot for the young and trendy, which resulted in its specific “Brooklyn-style” living. Williamsburg now also includes Wythe Avenue, which was previously lined with empty warehouses.
Today, in Williamsburg you can find the Saturday Brooklyn Flea every Saturday, and also the street food festival takes place here on seasonal Sundays. Wythe Avenue offers unobstructed views of Manhattan and the East River. and a ferry takes you across in minutes.
Check out also our article “A Brooklyn Family Place.” This organization provides counseling, tutoring, and other support for many underprivileged Brooklyn families. Here, parents with their children can learn about New York’s public education system. A Brooklyn Family Place additionally offers support for communities and families to live a healthier life and become economically more stable.
Fort Greene is a unique part of Brooklyn that attracts many New Yorkers because of its charm and rich history. It is named after a park that was a fort during an American Revolutionary War. Fort Greene is a very elegant Brooklyn neighborhood with tree-shaded streets that are lined with elegant Art Deco-style structures, beautifully restored Italianate brownstones, and other architectural gems, from lovingly preserved Italianate brownstones to elegant Art Deco-style buildings. For Brooklyn’s History (From Breukelen to Brooklyn), check out this post.
Creative individuals from all across the globe enjoy artisanal cocktails while jazz musicians are mingling with young professionals at the Greenmarket, and this is what makes Fort Greene a one-of-a-kind melting pot in the truest sense of the word. Fort Greene houses a leading design school (The Pratt Institute), and an important performing arts center (The Brooklyn Academy of Music).
Park Slope is one of Brooklyn’s most trendy neighborhoods. This is a pretty cool area where you can see yuppies pushing their oh-so “top-of-the-line” strollers, where you find the hippest organic coffee shops, and where well-trained pastry chefs make their frozen yogurt toppings. If you take a stroll through Park Slope’s brownstone-edged and tree-lined streets you will understand what was drawing the cool kids to this neighborhood.
Chic Romanesque-style townhouses are filling the historic district right next to the tranquil expanses of Prospect Park. This is where you can find the glorious Brooklyn Museum that is known for its cutting-edge art exhibits, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden features the most beautiful cherry blossom trees in spring and an array of fiery leaves in the fall. Park Slope offers a huge variety of restaurants and bars and Filipino food is as easy to get as ‘New American’ fare.
Prospect Heights combines the quiet, easy living that characterizes Park Slope with the multi-faceted and vibrant life of other Brooklyn neighborhoods. This part of Brooklyn is located at the north side of Prospect Park, and the area is a nice combination of the new and old Brooklyn. Here you can find 19th-century brownstone row houses that line the area’s tree-trimmed beautiful streets.
This is where families live that have done so for many years. But this is also the epicenter of new developments, such as the impressive Barclays Centre (home to the Brooklyn Nets, the borough’s basketball team). Here you’ll find Atlantic Avenue, the future center of redevelopment and commerce. Just like all Brooklyn’s neighborhoods, Prospect Heights offers a great variety of eateries, but the good thing is that here you won’t be bothered by stroller-toting hip parents or by tattooed hipsters.
Interesting is also this post about City Island. From Brooklyn, it takes just a little while to get to City Island which is actually merely a slip of land. It really doesn’t get smaller than this tiny village. City Island consists of just a main street connected with a few smaller streets. None of these tiny streets have more than some ten houses and all roads end on the water. Here you get the idea that these houses have been lived in by the same families for ages and will probably continue in the same way for many generations to come.