Experience Brooklyn’s Ethnic, Eclectic, and Electric Neighborhoods

Act like a local and stay out of midtown for your next trip. Save this guide for your post-pandemic plans.
Plan to spend a long time at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Photograph courtesy of NYC & Company

Experience Brooklyn’s ethnic, eclectic, electric neighborhoods, where you’ll find bustling streets lined with buzzworthy restaurants and unique entertainment, as well as delis serving bagels that are a schmear delight for the palate. Most of the action is on Manhattan Avenue. The borough is also a draw for artists, creatives, and young professionals who enjoy the intimate yet polyglot village vibe.

Get Inside The Box
Greenpoint, nicknamed “Little Poland,” boasts one of the sweetest boutique hotels in Brooklyn. The Box House Hotel—where “Project Runway” contestants have stayed—is close to North Williamsburg and the East River. Choose spacious lofts with full kitchens or standard rooms ($199 and up). Enjoy silent movies projected on a wall at the casual restaurant and bar, which offers creative American cuisine and signature cocktails.

Enjoy the airy rooms at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge. Photograph courtesy of 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

Expressive Espresso
Caffeinate at Café Grumpy, a nerd favorite, at its original location at 193 Mesarole. Beans are roasted on-site, and the coffee is Kosher-certified. Lena Dunham’s “Girls” was filmed here, as were several NY police procedurals. Its location next to Broadway Stages, a production studio where shows such as “Blue Bloods” and “The Good Wife” have been recorded, make it a mocha mecca for actors in need of a jolt.

Ogle The Art
Though not as well-known as its Manhattan counterparts, the Brooklyn Museum at 200 Eastern Parkway is home to an impressive collection, including pieces by Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper, Norman Rockwell, and Edgar Degas. The museum ($16) also offers temporary exhibitions that are innovative and experimental.

Get Culinary Cred
Karczma on Greenpoint Avenue is the “let’s get Polish food” hot spot according to locals. Order A Plate of Polish Specialties ($15.50) including kielbasa, pierogis, and potato pancakes, or challenge your taste buds with dishes such as tripe soup ($6), grilled blood sausage ($10), or roasted hocks in beer ($14). Then stroll to admire Saint Stanislaus Kostka Church, a beautiful Gothic-style church at the corner of Humboldt Street and Driggs Avenue.

Park Yourself
Adjacent to the Brooklyn Museum, Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s Central Park—585 acres dotted with monuments, from the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch to the JFK Memorial. Take time here: Relax on the grass of Long Meadow, or wander about and wonder at the large Art Deco Bailey Fountain and the Botanical Gardens, including the fascinating Trail of Plant Evolution and Shakespeare Garden.

Savor the Middle Eastern mezze at Glasserie. Photograph courtesy of Glasserie

Be Bowled Over
Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg is a happy hybrid: In addition to 16 bowling lanes, it’s also a concert venue where food is prepared by one of Brooklyn’s leading names in restaurants, Blue Ribbon. Watch the show and bop along to the music in the Bowlers’ Lounge. The Dirty Knobs with Mike Campbell ($35) are scheduled for Sept. 24.

Be Smart, Visit Dumbo
Easy to get to by ferry, this historic former factory and warehouse district (“Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass”) is lined with cobblestone streets intersected by trolley tracks. It’s home to boutiques, high-end restaurants, and art galleries as well as performing arts center St. Ann’s Warehouse. If you’re not into boutique hotels, consider staying at the luxurious, eco-conscious 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge. The airy rooms are amazing ($399 and up), and its rooftop features a plunge pool and sensational views of iconic New York sights including the Statue of Liberty.

Eat With Locals
Consider dinner at Glasserie, formerly the home of Greenpoint Glassworks. Savor innovative Middle Eastern mezze such as feta and pear tabouli ($13) or consider tucking into luscious lamb chops, turnips, and capers ($32) or palate-pleasing pumpkin couscous and broccolini ($24). Afterward stroll to Dupont Street and feel at home with families enjoying Newton Barge Playground. Restaurant Le Fond is another favorite. Conversation is easy and audible at this laid-back eatery, famous for rustic French food and sensational sauces.

Mark Your Calendar
Sept. 28 through Oct. 5:
The Brooklyn Book Festival Virtual Fest brooklynbookfestival.org

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