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    Brooklyn: how to visit the famous neighborhood of New York

    Who I am
    Joel Fulleda
    @joelfulleda
    SOURCES CONSULTED:

    wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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    Despite being "simply" a borough of New York, Brooklyn has more than two and a half million inhabitants, which would make it a full-fledged city. In recent years, from a place used only as a "dormitory" by the local population, it has increasingly developed from a tourist point of view. The accommodation facilities have also increased and many artists, who have then shaped the identity, have started moving here in search of cheaper accommodation than in Manhattan.


    Index


    • Brooklyn map
    • The Brooklyn Bridge
    • What to see in DUMBO
      • How to reach DUMBO
    • What to see in Williamsburg
      • How to get to Williamsburg
    • What to see in Brooklyn Heights
      • How to reach Brooklyn Heights
    • What to see in Downtown Brooklyn
      • How to get to Downtown Brooklyn
    • What to see in Bushwick
      • How to get to Bushwick
    • What to see in Coney Island
    • What to see in Prospect Park and surrounding areas
      • How to travel to Prospect Park
    • Tour in Brooklyn
    • Where to sleep in Brooklyn
      • Where to sleep in Brooklyn Heights
      • Where to sleep in Williamsburg
      • Where to sleep in Downtown Brooklyn
      • Where to sleep in the Prospect Park area

    Brooklyn map

    The Brooklyn Bridge

     

    Brooklyn's most famous attraction is obviously the bridge of the same name which has become one of the very symbols of the city of New York. Traveling on foot or by bicycle is certainly an experience to try, not only for the beauty of the place itself, but also because you can see magnificent views of both Manhattan and Brooklyn itself.


    Before embarking on this adventure, however, there are some things you need to know to better organize your itinerary, so I invite you to read our in-depth study entirely dedicated to how to visit the Brooklyn Bridge.


    What to see in DUMBO

    DUMBO is an acronym designed to make the communication of that geographical area of ​​Brooklyn that literally should be called Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass more immediate. Together with Brooklyn Heights it is the first area you will encounter if you decide to cross the Brooklyn Bridge. It was once a predominantly industrial neighborhood but over time it has been able to reinvent itself completely, so much so that today it is one of the areas where you will find the most expensive rents in the city.

    Today you can find mainly art galleries, trendy shops and restaurants, but among tourists it is famous above all because from one of its streets you can take one of the most iconic and representative photos in all of New York. But first there is a premise: you have seen the famous Sergio Leone's film "Once upon a time in America?". If the answer is yes, here you will have the opportunity to take a photo of the famous glimpse that portrays the protagonists framed between the buildings with red bricks and the Manhattan Bridge in the background. More precisely you will have to go to the intersection between Washington St e Water street.

    From Dumbo also begins the large park that extends, as we will also see later, on Brooklyn Heights: the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Let's go and see what are the main attractions that you can visit in this area.


    • John Street: the initial part of the park. This is where the museum entirely dedicated to children is located: the Spark by Brooklyn Children's Museum.
    • Main Street: here in my opinion you can see the most beautiful views of the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge. You can also reach Pebble Beach and thus go down to the water level. If you are traveling with children you can take them to the large playground Playground, where you will find a large number of nautical themed activities. However, you will find many other attractions for children scattered throughout the park.
    • Empire Fulton Ferry: always staying on the subject of attractions for the little ones, it could be a lot of fun to take a ride on the historic carousel for only $ 2 Jane's carousel dating back to 1922. Here there is also one of the park's many picnic spots, making it a recommended place to have your lunch outdoors. An old tobacco factory has been transformed into one of Brooklyn's busiest musical and theatrical entertainment venues and is now known as the St. Ann's Warehouse.

    If you visit this area from April to October every Sunday under the arches of the Manhattan Bridge (more or less at the height of 80 Pearl St.) you will discover the renowned DUMBO flea market: the Brooklyn flea. Also in this park, every Thursday in July and August, you can also participate in the event Movies With A View in which films are shown in an objectively fascinating setting. You can check the program of the evenings directly from the official website.



    How to reach DUMBO

    As mentioned, the most interesting way to reach DUMBO is to walk the Brooklyn Bridge. However, if you sometimes save yourself a bit of effort, you can take the metro line F and get off at York Street Subway Station. From there you will then have to walk for about 5 minutes to reach the glimpse of Once upon a time in America.

    What to see in Williamsburg

    If you are an indefatigable adventurer, to reach this neighborhood, you can consider crossing the Williamsburg Bridge on foot or by bicycle. This last solution will also allow you to enjoy views from a certainly original point of view (even if distant) of the Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan. After this demanding walk you can refresh yourself from Peter Luger Steak House (178 Broadway), one of the oldest and most renowned restaurants in the neighborhood.

    If you have also planned a budget for shopping in New York when organizing your vacation, and vintage clothes are your weakness, you should definitely consider taking a long walk. Bedford Avenue and surroundings where you will surely find bread for your teeth. Lovers of music and vinyl should not miss the opportunity to visit a huge and historic shop on Rough Trade NYC, where it is impossible that you will not be able to find what you are looking for. Another recommended location for shopping and finding many typical shops is long Grand Street.

    If you love bowling with your friends, do not miss the opportunity to visit the Brooklyn Bowl (61 Wythe Ave), a very peculiar place in Williamsburg, which not only offers you the opportunity to practice the famous American sport, but also houses a renowned restaurant and is a location for concerts that very often sell out. You can check the upcoming events here.


    If you are looking for a bit of greenery you will basically have two choices: head towards theEast River State Park, from which you can also admire original views of the Manhattan skyline, or opt for a visit to the Mccarren park, a huge area where you can find baseball and basketball fields and a huge public outdoor swimming pool, which you can consider if you just can't stand the New York summer heat anymore.

    Williamsburg is not only renowned for its vintage shops and good restaurants, but also offers a wide choice of places to have a beer. First of all the Brooklyn Brewery (79 N 11th St), open since 1988 which over time has become a real institution of the neighborhood. Another option is the one offered by Skinny Dennis (152 Metropolitan Ave), a small but well-kept place that, in addition to offering customers a choice of 18 different types of beer, offers live country and roots music so as to have become the reference point in New York for those who loves this kind of music. 

    For any other advice, check out our article what to see in Williamsburg.

    How to get to Williamsburg

    As mentioned previously, you can choose whether to walk the Williamsburg Bridge or opt for the more comfortable solution of the subway. If you want to choose this second option, the most useful stops will be those of Bedford Av Station (line L) which will take you to the most famous street in the neighborhood, or Marcy Avenue (lines J, M and Z) which is located at the end of the Manhattan Bridge.

    What to see in Brooklyn Heights

    Along with Dumbo and Williamsburg this is one of the best known and most popular tourist neighborhoods in all of Brooklyn. The reason for the success of Brooklyn Heights in particular is essentially due to two factors: the beautiful views which can be seen on New York's skilyne from Brooklyn Bridge Park and Brooklyn Heights Promenade and the history of the neighborhood which is reflected in the typical buildings built in brownstone.

    But let's go in order and let's start right from Brooklyn Bridge Park here are the main attractions that you can find there marked from north to south.

    • Fulton Ferry Landing: it is one of the historical places par excellence in all of Brooklyn, since the first ferry service was established here that connected the district to Manhattan. Today you can listen to good music in the evocative setting of the Bargemusic, eat a lobster roll at Luke's Lobster and a good homemade ice cream at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.
    • Greenway: the best way to visit the park is to take the Greenway a road specially designed to be both a pedestrian and bicycle path, which runs through a large part of the Brooklyn area and, in this case, connects Pier 1 to Pier 6. Along the way there are many benches and rest areas designed to enjoy a little rest while observing the view.
    • Pier 1This is one of the largest docks in the entire park and is where you can begin to find some of the best views of the Lower Manhattan skyline in all of Brooklyn. The Granite Prospect, a large and wide staircase that overlooks the waterfront, has been designed to allow you to enjoy these views in the most comfortable way possible. If after all your walking you want to cool off with a classic American lemonade stop by Lizzmonade one of the most renowned stands in the area. Here is also the Dumbo / BBP Pier 1 terminal, convenient if you are planning to travel by ferry.
    • Pier 2: this is the park's "playful" pier. There you will find, among other things, a bowling green, basketball courts, an area for skating, table tennis tables and a picnic area.
    • Pier 3: in this area the main attraction is the large park where you can relax, sunbathe or get lost inside the labyrinth with hedges and mirror games. It can also be accessed through the Greenway Terrace another privileged place to enjoy the view of Manhattan through a path surrounded by greenery and higher than the others.
    • Pier 6: we arrived at the last "block" of the park. In this area you will find a large children's park with water features and the largest sand pool in all of New York. From here the ferry also departs to reach Governors Island. Do you want to eat or drink something in a very suggestive location? Then all you can do is get on Pilot a sailing ship converted into a restaurant.

    Still on the subject of panorama on the Manhattan skyline, even if it is not part of the Brooklyn Bridge Park, it practically runs parallel to it for a large part. This is the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, an elevated walk dotted with benches from which to enjoy above all the sunset or sunrise that illuminates the skyscrapers of New York.

    The admirers of the American artist Truman Capote they can take a few minutes of time inside their itinerary to see from the outside his house which is located at 70 Willow Street. Here he wrote Breakfast at Tiffany's and A Cold Blood, perhaps two of his best known and most appreciated works.

    As we mentioned at the beginning, one of the reasons why this neighborhood is worth visiting is to take a tour of the brownstone houses and buildings for which Brooklyn Heights is particularly famous. If you are interested the advice is to walk in its entirety Pierrepont street (just over 500 meters) where you will find many examples of this style.

    In particular, I also point out the presence of Brooklyn Historical Society and Museum: one of the most beautiful buildings in the area which, inside, houses a library and a very well-kept museum whose exhibitions (both permanent and temporary), are aimed at witnessing the history and evolution of this neighborhood and of the whole district of Brooklyn. There is also a branch in the DUMBO neighborhood.

    How to reach Brooklyn Heights

    Also in this case you can opt to cross the Brooklyn Bridge on foot or by bicycle. Within the district, the most convenient metro stops can be those of High Street – Brooklyn Bridge Station (lines A and C), Clark Street Station (lines 2 and 3) e Court Street Station (line L).

    Keep in mind that all these stops are quite internal to the neighborhood for this, if your intention is mainly to visit Brooklyn Bridge Park, choose the first one thanks to which you will have to walk for only 10 minutes.

    What to see in Downtown Brooklyn

    While there aren't many attractions in this Brooklyn neighborhood, one in particular attracts thousands of visitors every year and is definitely recommended if you want to find out more about a particular aspect of New York's history.

    First, however, I point out that, a few steps from the Clark Street Subway Station, you will find the Cadman Plaza Park, which houses the imposing inside Brooklyn War Memorial more than seven meters high. It is a huge stone wall with an inscription that remembers the inhabitants of Brooklyn who died during the Second World War, flanked by two statues to represent victory and family.

    But let's come to the main attraction that is worth visiting in this neighborhood: the New York Transit Museum (99 Schermerhorn St.). It is a museum built in Court Street Station, which was once an old subway station of the New York subway. Even the entrance has remained practically the same and you will feel like you are going to take the famous means of transport rather than entering a real museum.

    Inside it houses a permanent exhibition that tells the story of the development of public transport in the Big Apple, and you can see some completely restored original vehicles of the time, some dating back to the early 900s. Like most American museums it is very interactive so, although the subject may seem boring to some, I assure you that you can still find something interesting.

    Even if it is just outside the canonical confines of the Downtown, it is still fair to point out the beautiful panoramic park Fort Greene Park. You will not find who knows what attractions but it is well cared for and it is pleasant to walk around. At the center of the park stands the Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument which, also being on an elevated position, allows you to enjoy a beautiful view of the surrounding area.

    For history buffs it should be remembered that this monument is dedicated to the more than 11.000 American prisoners who, during the years of the War of Independence, were captured and detained in terrible conditions aboard British ships anchored off Wallabout Bay.

    How to get to Downtown Brooklyn

    If you want to visit the New York Transit Museum, the closest subway stop is the Borough Hall (Lines 2, 3, 4 and 5), while to reach the Brooklyn War Memorial I recommend using the High Street – Brooklyn Bridge Station (lines A and C) already mentioned for the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood.

    What to see in Bushwick

    It is the quintessential art district of Brooklyn. Street art reigns supreme here, so much so that in some ways it could be called the Wynwood of New York. If you are interested in this art form the first stop is represented by the art gallery Bushwick Collective around which the best murals of the neighborhood are gathered.

    Also in this area there is no shortage of places where you can sip a good beer. One of the best choices is to go to the Kings County Brewers Collective and taste one of the many types of beer in the large and well-kept rooms of the restaurant.

    How to get to Bushwick

    The nearest tube stop to reach the Bushwick Collective murals is that of Jefferson St served by the L line.

    What to see in Coney Island

    Coney Island is perhaps one of the Brooklyn neighborhoods that has entered the collective imagination, thanks above all to its historic Luna Park and a cult film like The Night Warriors. Although it is the farthest part of Brooklyn from Manhattan, it can still be easily reached thanks to the subway for the price of a simple ride (there are no fare zones in New York). To find out how to reach the area, all the attractions present and other curiosities related to the famous funfair, you can read our in-depth study entirely dedicated to what to see in Coney Island.

    What to see in Prospect Park and surrounding areas

    Porspect Park is not a neighborhood, but one of the largest public parks in all of Brooklyn, and has the distinction of being conceived by the same planners who designed Central Park in Manhattan. The entrance to the park is represented by the Grand army plaza on which the imposing stands out Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch, a triumphal arch almost 25 meters high which pays homage to the "defenders of the Union" who fought during the American Civil War.

    Given the extension of the park, as you can imagine, there are many activities that can be undertaken and places to visit. Let's see which are the main ones.

    • Brooklyn museum: the structure from the outside will seem really impressive and you will not go wrong because this is the third largest among the museums in New York (in fact, 5 exhibition floors await you). The most important collection is certainly that of Egyptian art, which is one of the largest in the United States. However, do not go on Mondays and Tuesdays as these are the two days of closure of the museum. At this link you can get more information on the entrance ticket.
    • Brooklyn Botanic Garden: a few steps from the Brooklyn Museum is this botanical garden that is certainly a good idea to visit if you want to immerse yourself in the green and get away from the hustle and bustle of New York for a while. What you will see will obviously depend on the time of year you visit it, as each season has its own characteristic flowering. For this reason, I invite you to check on the official website what awaits you during the days of your visit. However, the advice is not to miss a relaxing visit to The Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. If you are interested you can get more information on the entrance ticket at this link.
    • Prospect Park Zoo: it hosts more than 400 animals and offers the possibility to interact with many of them. There are also well-kept exhibitions and themed itineraries that aim to raise awareness of the behavior of animals in their environment recreated in a very faithful way. The main protagonists of the zoo are the sea lions, with an area dedicated entirely to them in the heart of the zoo where you can watch them interact with their instructors.
    • Lefrak Center: it hosts an ice skating rink during the winter period, you will also have the opportunity to have a snack at the Bluestone Lakeside Cafe accompanied by a beautiful view of Prospect Park Lake.

    The park is also a location for many outdoor concerts held at the arena Prospect Park Bandshell. In particular, it is here that the event of the Celeblebrate brooklyn which attracts international artists every year. You can check if any events are scheduled during your visit by clicking here. If you are traveling with the little ones you can consider, for only $ 2, to take a ride in the historic carousel Prospect Park Carousel which dates back to 1912 and up until the 50s was located in Coney Island.

    To the north of the park it is also necessary to point out the district of Prospect Height renowned for having many buildings in the classic brownstone style, which we have come to know from the first moment we set foot in Brooklyn.

    A few steps from Prospect Park is the Green-Wood Cemetery the Brooklyn Cemetery. Here rest some great personalities such as Samuel Morse (the inventor of the homonymous codex), the composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein and the family of the well-known Steinway piano producers.

    Throughout the enormous extension of the cemetery there are many hills from the top of which you can admire beautiful views even over distant Manhattan. If you don't want to walk all the time you can visit the cemetery for $ 20 through a Historic Trolley Tour aboard a "little train" with a vintage flavor.

    How to travel to Prospect Park

     You can reach it Grand army plaza thanks to the homonymous metro stop served by lines 2, 3 and 4. If you want to reach the Brooklyn Museum by walking as little as possible, get off at the next stop on the same route (Eastern Parkway Brooklyn Museum Station).

    The southern part of the park can be easily reached from the stop Prospect Park (lines B, S and Q) while for the west side opt for the stop 15 St – Prospect Park (lines F and G) which will take you a stone's throw from Prospect Park Bandshell. To visit the Green-Wood Cemetery, the closest metro stop to the entrance is 25 St Station served by lines D and R.

    Tour in Brooklyn

    If you do not want to visit Brooklyn on your own, but prefer to rely on an organized tour, here is a selection of tours that can be for you.

    • Brooklyn food tour: one of the positive aspects of this tour is that it lasts half a day (thus allowing you to be able to insert it more easily into an itinerary of even a few days) but, despite this, it will still allow you to have a fairly complete idea of how the various cultures have managed to shape (also culinarily) this area of ​​New York. The tour branches off between Williamsburg and DUMBO neighborhoods.
    • Williamsburg Walking Tour: If Williamsburg is the area of ​​Brooklyn that appeals to you the most, you can consider taking this two-hour walking tour through the streets of the neighborhood.
    • Brooklyn private walking tour: more complete tour than the previous one as you will cross the Brooklyn Bridge on foot and, subsequently, you will be guided to discover DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights and Brooklyn Bridge Park. The tour lasts approximately 4 hours.
    • Brooklyn Beer Tour: As mentioned in the article, Brooklyn is also a perfect place if you are a beer lover. This tour will allow you to do a tasting in one of the best known breweries in the area.

    Search all Brooklyn tours

    If you are a superhero and you are looking for something useful to help you carry out your meritorious crime fighting activity then you should definitely visit the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Store (372 5th Ave). The mere mortals will be able to find there many gift ideas from costumes to t-shirts to posters to the most original gadgets.

    Where to sleep in Brooklyn

    Basically sleeping in Brooklyn it's not very convenient in particular for two reasons: in order to avoid particular offers, the hotels are not excessively cheap compared to Manhattan (especially for Brooklyn Heights and neighboring areas) and, secondly, because you will have to spend more time traveling to the most important attractions of New York, thus wasting precious time, especially if you have a few days.

    Obviously, the further you get away from Manhattan, the more opportunities you will find to save, so you will have to decide whether spending more time traveling is something you can afford or not. For this reason, unless you have a particular itinerary planned, or you have more days available to visit the Big Apple, I invite you to consult our section on where to sleep in New York. For those who want to try the experience of living in the suburbs of the Big Apple for a few days, here are some tips neighborhood by neighborhood.

    Where to sleep in Brooklyn Heights

    1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
    Willow Street Homes

    The 1 Brooklyn Bridge is a recommended hotel if you want to enjoy one of the best views of the Manhattan skyline. Obviously it won't be cheap, but you will have the opportunity to enjoy a drink on the rooftop by the pool while observing the skyscrapers of New York, which certainly does not happen every day. Willow Street Homes By Onefinestay may be the right choice if you prefer apartments over hotels. Located on Willow Street a stone's throw from the Truman Capote house and a 5-minute walk from two subway stops: the Clark Street Subway Station and the High Street - Brooklyn Bridge Station.

    Look for accommodation in Brooklyn Heights

    Where to sleep in Williamsburg

    The Wythe Hotel is located near the East River State Park, the peculiarity is that this hotel has been obtained from the complete renovation of an old factory. From some of the higher rooms you can also enjoy a beautiful view of Manhattan from the large windows. The McCarren Hotel, as you can guess from the name, is literally a stone's throw from McCarren Park. The property offers slightly larger rooms than average in New York City and a well-maintained Rooftop Bar from which the Manhattan skyline can be seen in the distance. At guests' disposal there is also a large outdoor swimming pool which will prove very useful especially during the summer months.

    McCarren Hotel
    Pointe Plaza Hotel

    The Pointe Plaza Hotel is instead located in the southernmost part of Williamsburg, so it is in a somewhat uncomfortable position to visit the neighborhood (plan to make at least one change of metro line both to visit the neighborhood and to visit the rest of Brooklyn) but has the advantage of having lower prices without saving on the quality of the service offered.

    Search for a hotel in Williamsburg

    Where to sleep in Downtown Brooklyn

    Despite being in the southern part of Downtown, the Hotel Indigo Brooklyn is still very close to two strategic subway stops (Hoyt St with which you can directly reach Manhattan and DeKalb By Subway Station with which you can also explore DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights). If you manage to book on the upper floors you will enjoy a pretty good view of the surrounding area. The rooms are not very spacious but the price is competitive.

    The Hampton Inn Brooklyn Downtown is a 10-minute walk from the Brooklyn War Memorial. The view from the bar located at the top of the building is beautiful. The rooms and the rooms in general are well cared for and the price is not excessive.

    Search for a hotel in Downtown Brooklyn

    Where to sleep in the Prospect Park area

    Lefferts Manor
    Brooklyn Way Hotel

    Lefferts Manor is a charming bed & breakfast which, despite being located in a big city, manages to convey to its guests the experience of staying in a typical American house. The common rooms and lounges are well maintained and the location within walking distance of Prospect Park, and the respective subway stops, makes it a base that can also be considered for visiting Manhattan. The Brooklyn Way Hotel, BW Premier Collection is located within walking distance of Green Wood Cemetery and, above all, has the 25 St subway station practically opposite the entrance to the lobby.

    Look for accommodation in the Prospect Park area

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