08 May The spots you shouldn’t miss in Brooklyn !
by Sara Fernández Valladares from Spain
Most people think that New York is just Manhattan, but I have to tell you that there are 4 more boroughs or cities, as they call them here. So we could say that Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, The Bronx and Manhattan are 5 cities in the “concrete jungle”. Brooklyn is now where I live so I’ll tell you the things I love the most from this my new home.
We’ll begin with Park Slope, where I live. It’s an area in the northwest of Brooklyn; a borough inside the borough, sorry if I’m redundant. I know I have repeated the word so many times. Here, there are tons of brownstones, houses from the XIX -XX centuries, attached that have this name because of their brown colour. You could see them in some areas in Manhattan, but don’t move from where we are. Other than architecture, Park Slope has a lot of material to show.The Brooklyn Academic of Music, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Brooklyn Museum, The Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and the Brooklyn Public Library are here. I love many things from Park Slope, that I’ll talk about in a post just about it, but if I have to choose now I’d say Prospect Park and the Barclays Center. Prospect Park is the biggest park in Brooklyn. It is also known as this borough’s Central Park since it was created by the same architects who designed the extremely well-known “spinach salad” that is in Manhattan. It has nothing to envy to Central Parks since Prospect Park has an ice skating rink, zoo, carousel, an immense meadow and more things. In summer, there is a festival called Celebrate Brooklyn! When I arrived here in August I went there and it was great; above all, I loved the fact that they asked me for my ID to see if I was the legal age to drink beer =).
Prospect Park is a nice place for practicing sports; its loop has like 4 miles and it has different lanes for the people who walk, run or bikes. I hate running at the gym on the treadmill so being able of doing that at the park is nothing but wonderful. At the beginning, I used to go there every afternoon after school but when the standard time arrived at the sunset came earlier, I go running before going to work and during the weekend. Other times, I go for a walk with my roommate while we rant against the world or we talk about how much we like this or that other thing.
Barclays Center is the home of the local team, the Brooklyn Nets. It is an enormous futuristic block, not super gigantic, that is not used just for the best dunks, it is also the place where the hockey players from the Islanders battle against the Rangers. On top of that and, as Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center is the epicenter of tons of concerts. I haven’t been there for sports yet but I saw a concert. Sia’s. There is a Shake Shack in in front of it so it, obviously, had to be one of my favorite places.
Now we get to Williamsburg. The hipster borough. Here, it is necessary that we stop and we talk about what a hipster is. I’ve met people that say that a hipster is a person who has beard; that seems to me a stupid comment. Hipster is a way of thinking, feeling and living. It is not being “mainstream”. It is not just an appearance. It is true, that some of those ones that love being called hipsters are spoiled brats who wear “costumes” when the reality is that their way of thinking does not match with the “culture” they try to follow. Apart from them, Williamsburg has other inhabitants as the orthodox jews. I haven’t gone to that part yet since I see them everyday in any part of the city and I think that they are people who live their life in the best way they want and there is no need to observe them as if they were in a museum. We are all the same. On the other hand, I feel curious about the area structure and how their stores are. So, I’ll go for a walk someday. Going back to Williamsburg itself again, there is something I really love from there: Sweet Chick, East River State Park and Smorgasburg. Sweet Chick is a restaurant that has two locations, one here in Williamsburg and another one in Manhattan. My friend Luis strongly recommended it to me so when Diego came we went there. From that moment it became a MUST in my life here. The place breathes happiness and the food is pretty good. The typical thing that you should order here is the Chicken and Waffles; chicken pieces with waffles with tons of flavors. The sweet and salty combination is awesome.
Smorgasburg is a food market with more that 100 vendors that is opened from April till the end of October. It takes place at the East River State Park on Saturdays during those months. Sundays, it changes and it goes to Prospect Park. And in winter, it is in a closed building.In summer I went there several times and if you know me you will know that food and I are really GOOD FRIENDS and if there are views even more. Smorgasburg is like having tapas in León. With bigger portions and good prices.
If I were you, I wouldn’t be okay with try just one thing. The longest lines are in the Ramen Burguer, a peculiar burguer, the Wowfulls ice cream, made with waffles and the Homefrite fries with tons of flavours. If you wanna enjoy yummy food and an amazing landscape now you Know where to go.
There are also strange desserts such as the Raindrop cake which ingredients are not familiar to me. But I can say something, the sweet brown sauce it has…NO!
Carroll Gardens is where my school is located but I haven’t explored deeply the area. It is a residential boroguh with tons of beautiful brownstones where chic and posh are one. And where you shouldn’t think to live if you are a teacher. As I have mentioned before I don’t know the area so much, but I have tried some sweet treats in places like Court Street Grocers. I go here every Wednesday with Luis for having a coffee and a piece of cake. The coffee is not the best of the place but the cakes are AMAZING (they have plenty of them). I’ll just say CHOCOLATE CAKE.
If you are in Carroll Gardens you should go to the Brooklyn Pharmacy. It is a bar/restaurant, specialized in sweets, although they also offer salty food with an incredible vintage atmosphere. Get in there makes you feel like if you were in the 50´s.
We jump from Carroll Gardens to Gowanus. I cross its canal everyday when I walk to work and I’ll say it stinks. But just that part. Gowanus is growing and becoming one of the most wanted areas for New Yorkers and Brooklynites. The art, music and the countless business that are being developed there, are transforming Gowanus into the most desired area where those ones who love art want to live.
And finally, Bushwick. Bushwick is colour. So are its streets. You don’t need to go to an art gallery or a museum to see an artwork. Just go there and walk its streets, which even offer free tours (http://www.freetoursbyfoot.com/new-york-tours/brooklyn-tours/bushwick-brooklyn-walking-tour/) to admire the graffitis that invade the walls. Every time you go, there is a new experience completely different from the previous one. Paintings are so good that, sometimes, you don’t know if it has captured you or you are still out of it. As every part of Brooklyn, Bushwick has its own Flea Market too. Here you have its schedule and location (http://www.citivintage.com/).
As you have seen, Brooklyn is synonymous of STYLE. I am pretty sure that, although I’ve seen tons of things here , I’m pretty sure my dear borough won’t stop surprising me. Now I know I couldn’t have made up a better choice.
And…Spread love! It’s the Broklyn way!