Brooklyn - Fodor's New York City 2016 - Fodor's

Fodor's New York City 2016 - Fodor's (2015)


Welcome to Brooklyn

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Updated by Laura Itzkowitz, Kristin Iversen, Christina Knight, Megan Eileen McDonough, Marisa Meltzer, Chris Molanphy, Matt Rodbard, Emily Saladino, and Sarah Spagnolo

Hardly Manhattan’s sidekick, Brooklyn is a destination in its own right, with many diverse neighborhoods and a seemingly endless number of compelling sights and fabulous places to eat and drink and shop.

Across the East River from Manhattan, on Long Island’s western edge, Brooklyn is one of New York City’s five boroughs. At 71 square miles, it’s more than three times the size of Manhattan, and with more than 2½ million people, if it were a city it would be the fourth largest in the United States, in terms of population. Brooklyn was a city until the end of the 19th century, with its own widely circulated newspaper (The Brooklyn Eagle), its own expansive park (Prospect Park), and its own baseball team that would eventually be called the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1883 it also got its own bridge: the Brooklyn Bridge, which drew the attention of the entire country.


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Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO are easily accessible from Manhattan by subway or via the Brooklyn Bridge; both neighborhoods have compelling but very different architecture (brownstones versus 19th-century warehouses), and fabulous views of Manhattan. Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, and Fort Greene all have plenty of lovely streets to stroll, thriving restaurant and bar scenes. The latter also has the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Williamsburg is the epicenter of trendsetting Brooklyn, which is overflowing into up-and-coming Bushwick and East Williamsburg. Park Slope and Prospect Park welcome with laid-back, family-friendly activities, while Prospect Heights and Crown Heights are home to heavy hitters like the Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, Weeksville Heritage Center, and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Coney Island and Brighton Beach have Brooklyn’s subway-accessible beaches, boardwalks, and amusement parks, including the legendary Cyclone roller coaster.

Writing & Buying Books in Brooklyn

Brooklyn has been a mecca for writers and literature since the days of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, written by a preacher’s daughter in Brooklyn Heights. Since then writers have flocked here for the cheap rent and quiet streets. Henry Miller, Norman Mailer, Truman Capote, Arthur Miller (with Marilyn Monroe), Paul and Jane Bowles, Carson McCullers, James Purdy, and Walt Whitman created more than one masterpiece here.

Today, amid the gentrification, Brooklyn continues to lure famous and near-famous writers and musicians from all over the world.

Perhaps reflecting the plethora of writers in the neighborhood, the borough has a relatively high density of both used and new bookstores, and also several small presses, including Melville House, a publisher with a storefront.

And with all these writers so close by, it only makes sense that Brooklyn has a fabulous book festival, to boot. The Brooklyn Book Festival happens every year at Borough Hall, on the third weekend in September. Authors gather for readings and signings, and independent publishers display their wares.


Eating and bar-hopping in Williamsburg

Screaming at the top of the Cyclone roller coaster in Coney Island

Smelling the roses, and everything else, at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Catching a show at BAM or Barclay’s Center

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge

Picnicking in Brooklyn Bridge Park

Being awestruck by architecture in Brooklyn Heights


Brooklyn is very accessible by subway from Manhattan; check the listings for subway info. Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, and Williamsburg are the closest neighborhoods to Manhattan. Coney Island and Brighton Beach are the farthest; budget about an hour each way if you’re traveling from Midtown.


The best way to get to Brooklyn is by its most majestic bridge. Walking along the wooden pedestrian path of the Brooklyn Bridge—a classic New York experience—takes about 30 minutes, worth it for the panoramic views of the skylines and the harbor. On summer weekends the path is crowded, unless you go early in the morning. Exit the bridge onto Cadman Plaza on the Brooklyn side, then walk southwest to get to Brooklyn Heights, a charming neighborhood of 19th-century brownstone homes, or walk north into the hip neighborhood of DUMBO.


Almondine Bakery.
The best French bakery this side of Montmartre is on Water Street. Chef Herve P. helms this neighborhood favorite, baking on-site daily chocolate raspberry croissants, mille feuille, macarons, and pear tarts, as well as baguettes, quiche, and sandwiches. These are perfect snacks to take to the park. | 85 Water St., DUMBO | 718/797-5056 | | Station: F to York St.

Jacques Torres Chocolate.
French-born Torres is New York’s adopted Willy Wonka. Here, he dishes out drool-worthy truffles and bonbons, and hot chocolate rich enough to make a Swiss miss blush. Festively wrapped bars and baskets make sweet souvenirs but the shop also has a café with marble-top tables for those whose chocolate cravings simply cannot wait. | 66 Water St., DUMBO | 718/875-1269 | | Station: A, C to High St.; F to York St.

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Brooklyn Heights and Downtown Brooklyn

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Brooklyn Heights | Downtown Brooklyn

Downtown Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO

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Brooklyn Heights is quintessential “brownstone Brooklyn.” It’s the oldest neighborhood in the borough, and the original village of Brooklyn; almost the entire neighborhood is part of the Brooklyn Heights Historic District. This is still very much the neighborhood of shady lanes, cobblestone streets, centuries-old rowhouses, and landmark buildings that Walt Whitman rhapsodized about, and the magnificent postcard views of of the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge have inspired countless artists and photographers since. In the early to mid-20th century, Brooklyn Heights was a bohemian haven, home to such writers as Arthur Miller, Truman Capote, Henry Miller, Alfred Kazin, Carson McCullers, Paul Bowles, Marianne Moore, Norman Mailer, and W.E.B. DuBois.

The majestic Brooklyn Bridge has one foot in Brooklyn Heights, near DUMBO, and a walk across it either to or from Lower Manhattan is one of the classic New York experiences.


Brooklyn Bridge. 4, 5, 6 to Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall; J, Z to Chambers St.; A, C to High St.

Fodor’s Choice | Brooklyn Bridge Park.
What started as a scenic but small hilltop park beneath the Manhattan Bridge has turned into a sweeping feat of green urban renewal stretching from the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO to the Brookyn Bridge and south all the way to Pier 5, carpeting old industrial sites along the waterfront with scenic esplanades and lush meadows. The park has playgrounds, sports fields, food concessions, a beach, a pop-up pool, and lots of grass for lounging. You can access the park at various points, including Main Street, for the Main Street Playground; Old Dock Street, off Water Street, for the wonderfully restored Jane’s Carousel (see full listing in DUMBO); Old Fulton Street, for the popular Fulton Ferry Landing and Pier 1; Old Squibb Park Bridge, off Columbia Heights, for piers 1 and 2; Montague Street, for Pier 5; and Joralemon Street, for piers 5 and 6. | Brooklyn waterfront, between Manhattan Bridge and Pier 6, Brooklyn Heights | 718/222-9939 | | Station: 2, 3 to Clark St.; A, C to High St.; F to York St.

Fodor’s Choice | Brooklyn Heights Promenade.
Strolling this mile-long path, famous for its magnificent Manhattan views, you might find it surprising to learn that its origins were purely functional: the promenade was built as a sound barrier to protect nearby brownstones from highway noise. Find a bench and take in the skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge; the setting is especially impressive in the evening, when the lights of Manhattan sparkle across the East River. Below are the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and Brooklyn Bridge Park. | Between Remsen and Cranberry Sts., Brooklyn Heights | Station: 2, 3 to Clark St.; A, C to High St.; R to Court St.

“Fruit” Streets.
Brooklyn Heights is filled with stately brownstones and brick homes, and the quiet blocks of Pineapple, Cranberry, and Orange streets contain some of the most picturesque ones. A few homes made of wood still exist, too, although they’ve been banned in the Brooklyn Heights area since the mid-19th century because of the fire hazard. The wood-frame house at 24 Middagh Street, a typical example built in the Federal style, dates to the 1820s. Middagh Street was named for the ancestors of one Lady Middagh, who, so the legend goes, thought that naming streets after wealthy families was pretentious. She removed the existing street signs and installed her own fruit-themed ones. The city confiscated them, but she kept replacing the city’s signs until her choices were made official. To ponder the irony that despite her initiative Middagh Street still exists, repair west (toward the East River) on Orange or Cranberry to the Fruit Street Sitting Area, the connector between Brooklyn Heights Promenade and Columbia Heights. | Pineapple, Orange, and Cranberry Sts., Brooklyn Heights | Station: 2, 3 to Clark St.; A, C to High St.

Fodor’s Choice | New York Transit Museum.
Step down into an old 1930s subway station to experience this entertaining museum’s displays of vintage trains and memorabilia. You can wander through trains and turnstiles and sit behind the wheel of a former city bus (it’s not only the kids who do this). Original advertising, signage, and upholstery make this feel like a trip back in time. The gift shop carries subway-line socks, decorative tile reproductions, and other fun stuff. | Boerum Pl., at Schermerhorn St., Brooklyn Heights | 718/694-1600 | | $7 | Tues.-Fri. 10-4, weekends 11-5 | Station: 2, 3, 4, 5 to Borough Hall; A, C, G to Hoyt-Schermerhorn Sts.; A, C, F, R to Jay St.-MetroTech; R to Court St.


Brooklyn Borough Hall.
Built in 1848 as Brooklyn’s city hall, this Greek Revival landmark, adorned with Tuckahoe marble, is one of the borough’s handsomest buildings. The statue of Justice atop its cast-iron cupola was part of the original plan but wasn’t installed until 1988. Today the building serves as the office of Brooklyn’s borough president and the home of the Brooklyn Tourism & Visitors Center (weekdays 10-6; 718/802-3846). | 209 Joralemon St., between Court and Adams Sts., Brooklyn Heights | Station: 2, 3, 4, 5 to Borough Hall; R to Court St.; A, C, F, R to Jay St.-MetroTech.

Fodor’s Choice | Brooklyn Historical Society.
Four centuries’ worth of art and artifacts bring Brooklyn’s story to life at this marvelous space. Housed in an 1881 Queen Anne-style National Historic Landmark building—one of the neighborhood’s gems—the society surveys the borough’s changing identity through permanent exhibits that include interactive displays, landscape paintings, photographs of the area, portraits of prominent Brooklynites, and fascinating memorabilia. Check the website for details about the stellar lineup of temporary exhibitions. | 128 Pierrepont St., at Clinton St., Brooklyn Heights | 718/222-4111 | | $10 suggested donation | Wed.-Sun. noon-5 | Station: 2, 3, 4, 5 to Borough Hall; R to Court St.; A, C, F to Jay St.-MetroTech.


Fodor’s Choice | Sahadi’s.
Inhale the aromas of spices and dark-roast coffee beans as you enter this Middle Eastern trading post that’s been selling bulk foods in Brooklyn since 1948. Bins and jars and barrels hold everything from nuts, dried fruit, olives, and pickled vegetables to cheeses, chocolate, candy, those intoxicating coffees, and all manner of spices. There’s a large selection of prepared food and groceries as well. | 187 Atlantic Ave.,Brooklyn Heights | 718/624-4550 | | Closed Sun. | Station: 2, 3, 4, 5 to Borough Hall; R to Court St.; A, C, F to Jay St.-MetroTech.

Two for the Pot.
The name of this narrow shop refers to the indulgent practice of adding two extra scoops of coffee grounds to every pot you brew, and if you’re at all fond of indulging your coffee or tea tastes, you must stop in here. The wide selection of top-quality coffees and teas is complemented by brewing paraphernalia, artisanal honey, and hard-to-find brands of UK sweets and other comestibles. Helpful staff members have kept customers coming back since the shop opened in 1973. | 200 Clinton St., Brooklyn Heights | 718/855-8173 | Closed Mon. | Station: 2, 3, 4, 5 to Borough Hall; R to Court St.; A, C, F to Jay St.-MetroTech.


Downtown Brooklyn is modern and bustling, and other thana few notable restaurants, there isn’t much to attract visitors—but it’s convenient to the Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn Heights, and walking distance to neighborhoods like Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, and DUMBO.

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For sheer jaw-dropping drama, few city walks are as cinematic as strolling the DUMBO waterfront. The photogenic area pairs 19th-century warehouses and refurbished industrial buildings on cobblestone streets with rumbling trains and soaring bridges overhead. (The latter gives the district its name, an acronym of Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.) Across the East River, the glittering Manhattan skyline provides epic views and popular backdrops for wedding proposals, fashion shoots, and innumerable selfies. Major galleries and performance hubs imbue the neighborhood with artistic élan, and an influx of technology start-ups bring 21st-century swagger in vintage sneakers.

An integral part of DUMBO is the Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the stroller set and nine-to-five lunch crowds flock to its benches and green spaces, as do brides galore, posing for wedding pictures with the perfect background.


Fodor’s Choice | The Stable Building.
Many Brooklynites mourned the Galapagos Art Space when they closed shop and moved to Detroit; fortunately the site continues its arts legacy, and the building now houses four first-floor gallery spaces, which were previously part of the 111 Front Street gallery collective. Minus Space shows artists specializing in “reductive abstract art” (simple materials, precise craftmanship, monochromatic or limited color, repetition of shapes). United Photo Industries (UPI) shows work by emerging photographers and those working in new photography styles. The Klompching Gallery focuses on fine-art photography. Masters Projects represents artists working in all sorts of media, including paint, mixedmedia, street art, photography, and installations. Gallery hours vary, but weekday and Saturday afternoons are your best bet to visit; most are closed Monday. | 16 Main St., at Water St., DUMBO | Gallery hrs vary | Station: 2, 3 to Clark St.; A, C to High St.; F to York St..

QUICK BITE: Smorgasburg Dumbo.
One hundred of New York City’s best and brightest cooks and culinary artisans unite along the East River to form the city’s hottest foodie flea market. This bazaar has launched countless culinary crazes (ramen burger, anyone?), and most vendors are small-scale, home-grown operators. An offshoot of the Brooklyn Flea, there is also an outpost on the Williamsburg waterfront. Smorgasburg is open Sundays, 11 to 6, from April to November. It’s cash-only, but there are ATMs at the entrance. | Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 5, DUMBO | Enter near Pierrepont and Furman sts. | | Closed Mon.-Sat. and Dec.-Mar. | Station: 2, 3 to Clark St.; A, C to High St.; N, R to Court St.


DUMBO Walls.
Keep your eyes on the walls under and around the Manhattan Bridge and the BQE, where eight walls display artwork by big names including CAM, Shepard Fairey, and MOMO. The project is sponsored by the DUMBO Improvement District and Two Trees Management Co. along with the New York City Department of Transportation Urban Art Program and the Jonathan LeVine Gallery. | DUMBO | | Station: F to York St.

Smack Mellon.
The transformation of an industrial boiler house into an edgy arts compound is quintessential DUMBO. This 12,000-square-foot structure now hosts large-scale, avant-garde exhibitions. They also run a prestigious residency program. Don’t be surprised if you pass a binder-clutching bride-to-be on your way in: the 5,000-square-foot gallery is also a popular wedding venue. | 92 Plymouth St., DUMBO | 718/834-8761 | | Wed.-Sun. noon-6 | Station: A, C to High St.; F to York St.

One Girl Cookies.
Snag a window seat overlooking cobblestone Main Street and tuck into a variety of whoopie pies, cakes, and cookies in flavors like chocolate-cinnamonganache and Thai-gingeroatmeal, served with Stumptown Coffee. | 33 Main St., DUMBO | 347/338-1268 | | Station: F to York St.; A, C to High St.


Fodor’s Choice | Front General Store.
Outfitting DUMBO’s cool kids since 2011, this shop sells his-and-hers vintage Ralph Lauren blazers, 1940s Royal Stetson hats, and other curated odds ‘n’ ends, including antique Mexican glassware and Chesterfield-esque leather armchairs. The store also hosts pop-up sidewalk shops by local artisans and designers. | 143 Front St., DUMBO | 347/693-5328 | | Station: A, C to High St.; F to York St.

Fodor’s Choice | powerHouse Arena.
Edgy art-book publisher powerHouse is a vision in concrete and steel at this bright showroom that sells illustrated titles, children’s books, and works by authors from Joseph Mitchell to Gary Shteyngart. The space also hosts publishing parties, book launches, readings, and discussion groups. | 37 Main St., DUMBO | 718/666-3049 | | Station: A, C to High St.; F to York St.

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Williamsburg, East Williamsburg, and Bushwick

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Williamsburg | East Williamsburg | Bushwick

Williamsburg, Bushwick and East Williamsburg

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These days, it’s impossible to walk through North Brooklyn without encountering something new. Fabulous boutiques, vintage shops, and forward-thinking restaurants crop up constantly, lending an energy that verges on overwhelming. The neighborhood has certainly glossed itself up in recent years, evinced by pricey cocktail bars, high-rise waterfront condos, and expensive boutiques. But Williamsburg’s past is also endlessly intriguing: for much of the 20th century this industrial area on the East River was home to a mix of working-class Americans. Rising Manhattan rents in the 1990s sent an influx of East Village artists and musicians onto the L train, and since then the area has rapidly, albeit creatively, gentrified. And while some side streets may appear graffitied and creepy, rest assured that there’s likely to be a DIY concert-gallery space in one of those seemingly abandoned factories.

Williamsburg’s 70-plus galleries are distributed randomly, with no single main drag. Plan your trip ahead of time using the online Brooklyn Art Guide at (You can also pick up a copy at neighborhood galleries and some cafés.) Hours vary widely, but most are open weekends (call ahead). Although serendipitous poking is the best way to sample the art, two longtime galleries—Sideshow and Pierogi—are must-sees.


Fodor’s Choice | City Reliquary.
Subway tokens, Statue of Liberty figurines, antique seltzer bottles, and other artifacts you might find in a time capsule crowd the cases of this museum that celebrates New York City’s past and present. Temporary exhibits here have included one about doughnut shops and another about Jewish gangsters of the Lower East Side. | 370 Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg | 718/782-4842 | | $5 | Wed.-Sun. noon-7 | Station: L to Lorimer St.; G to Metropolitan Ave.


Pierogi Gallery.
Nope, it’s not a restaurant; it’s a hip art gallery showcasing multimedia artists. Virtual visitors can browse the Flat Files, an online collection of the portfolios of more than 900 young artists. The Boiler, an affiliated space nearby (191 N. 14th St.; 718/599-2144), has more limited hours. | 177 N. 9th St., between Bedford and Driggs aves., Williamsburg | 718/599-2144 | | Pierogi, Tues.-Sun. 11-6; The Boiler, Thurs.-Sun. noon-6 | Station: L to Bedford Ave.

QUICK BITE: Toby’s Estate.
With four cafés in New York City, Toby’s Estate is expanding quickly, a mini coffee empire that started in Brooklyn. The spacious location on North 6th Street is perennially packed, so you might have to wait for a seat to open up—but it’s worth it, especially for a prime spot on the long, comfy couch. Light streaming in through large windows gives the place a bright, airy feel. The coffee drinks are outstanding, as are the made-to-order sandwiches (think egg on a roll with espresso-lacquered bacon) and salads. | 125 N. 6th St., between Bedford Ave. and Berry St., Williamsburg | 347/457-6160 | | Station:L to Bedford Ave.


For Shopping, there are boutiques along Bedford Avenue, but you’ll also find stores along Grand Street, and on many side streets, especially North 6th.

Fodor’s Choice | Artists & Fleas.
Handsdown the best place to lay eyes on the latest cool creations from Brooklyn-based artists and designers, this huge warehouse lures canny connoisseurs seeking one-of-a-kind items. Every weekend, nearly 100 vendors sell everything from handmade jewelry and objets d’art to custom clocks made from old hardcover books and T-shirts with vintage cartoons. | 70 N. 7th St., Williamsburg | 917/488-4203 | | Closed weekdays | Station: L to Bedford Ave.

Fodor’s Choice | Bedford Cheese Shop.
A cheese lover’s dream, this small fromagerie sells everything needed for a gourmet antipasto. The more than 200 artisanal cheeses are arranged by style—hard, soft, Bries and other bloomy-rind cheeses, blues, et cetera. Dry goods include crackers, biscuits, premium olive oils, small-batch jams, and chocolates. Prosciutto di Parma and Serrano ham are among the cured meats; you’ll also find foie gras, quail eggs, marinated artichokes, and other comestibles. Overwhelmed by the choices? Expert cheesemongers will help you navigate the offerings. | 229 Bedford Ave., at N. 4th St., Williamsburg | 718/599-7588 | | Station: L to Bedford Ave.

Fodor’s Choice | Catbird.
Known for its trademark stackable rings, the tiny store also sells soft cashmere hats, candles, and gift items, all curated with an emphasis on area designers. Any gift you buy here—for a friend or for yourself—will be cherished. | 219 Bedford Ave., near N. 5th St., Williamsburg | 718/599-3457 | | Station: L to Bedford Ave.

Fodor’s Choice | Mast Brothers.
The elegantly wrapped bars of Brooklyn’s artisanal bean-to-bar chocolatiers may be ubiquitous in New York City, but to experience the magic as it transpires, head to the Mast flagship on North 3rd Street, where you can tour the factory and sample the goodies ($16, register online). The all-natural, single-origin chocolate bars are known for their earthy, barely sweet flavor. Two doors down at Brew Bar, cocoa beans are brewed like coffee—the taste is like nothing you’ve tried before. | 111 N. 3rd St., Williamsburg | 718/388-2625 | | Station: L to Bedford Ave.

Rough Trade Records.
This cavernous, London-based store sells LPs, CDs, and books, and doubles as a 250-seat concert venue and art gallery (event listings at The shop’s cool, of-the-moment design incorporates recycled shipping containers. | 64 N. 9th St., Williamsburg | 718/388-4111 | | Station: L to Bedford Ave.


Industrial East Williamsburg, between Williamsburg and Bushwick, has become an enclave of street art, up-and-coming art galleries, cafés, and restaurants.


56 Bogart (The BogArt).
Many young Bushwick galleries showcase edgy and experimental work—visiting this converted warehouse is an easy way to see a lot of art, of varying quality, in one shot. The BogArt, as the space is commonly known, contains large studios for working artists, and more than a dozen galleries on the main and lower levels. Standouts include Robert Henry Contemporary, Theodore:Art, Fresh Window, Momenta Art, and NurtureArt. You can also hang out and browse the books and other materials at Mellow Pages, an independently run library and reading room. Gallery hours vary, but the best time to visit is on Friday and weekends, when most of them are open. | 56 Bogart St., East Williamsburg | 718/599-0800 ext. 12 | | Free | Library: Wed.-Sun. noon-7 | Station: L to Morgan Ave.

Luhring Augustine.
Probably the neighborhood’s most established gallery, this annex of the Chelsea original is worth a stop to see whatever show is up and to appreciate the soaring space and its cantilevered ceiling. | 25 Knickerbocker Ave., East Williamsburg | 718/386-2746 | | Sept.-June, Thurs.-Sun. 11-6; July-Aug., Thurs.-Sun. 11-5:30 | Station: L to Morgan Ave.


Bushwick is young and hip and cool and still very industrial—working factories make everything from wontons to plastic bags—but it’s definitely where to go if you’re interested in street art: check out the Bushwick Collective and the streets surrounding it. The neighborhood also has pockets of cafés and restaurants, including Roberta’s, one of the buzziest restaurants around.


Fodor’s Choice | The Bushwick Collective.
For evidence of art’s ability to transform individuals and their surroundings, visit this colorful outdoor street-art gallery curated by Joseph Ficalora. The Bushwick native came of age during the neighborhood’s period of decline, which he experienced firsthand in the early 1990s when his father was murdered. Following his mother’s death in 2011, he channeled his grief over both losses into developing this space where street artists are commissioned to create temporary works of art. Pixel Pancho of Turin and Baltimore-based Gaia are among the established artists whose contributions have helped turn urban streets into an arts destination. Many works are also by up-and-comers. | Troutman St. at St. Nicholas Ave., Bushwick | Station: L to Jefferson St.

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Coney Island

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Coney Island is practically synonymous with the sounds, smells, and sights of a New York City summer: hot dogs and ice cream, suntan lotion, roller coasters, excited crowds, and weathered old men fishing.

Named Konijn Eiland (Rabbit Island) by the Dutch for its wild rabbit population, the Coney Island peninsula has a boardwalk, a 2½-mile-long beach, amusement parks, and the New York Aquarium, still partially closed after sustaining damage from Hurricane Sandy. Nathan’s Famous (1310 Surf Ave.) is the quintessential hot dog spot.

Among the other entertainments out here are the freakish attractions at Coney Island Circus Sideshow and the heart-stopping plunge of the granddaddy of all roller coasters—the Cyclone. The minor-league baseball team, the Cyclones, plays at MCU Park, where music concerts are held in summer. The area’s banner day is during the raucous Mermaid Parade, held in June. A fireworks display lights up the sky Friday night from late June through Labor Day.


The Cyclone.
This historic wooden roller coaster first thrilled riders in 1927 and it’ll still make you scream. Anticipation builds as the cars slowly clack up to the first unforgettable 85-foot plunge—and the look on your face is captured in photos that you can purchase at the end of the ride. The Cyclone may not have the speed or the twists and turns of more modern rides, but that’s all part of its rickety charm. It’s one of two New York City landmarks in Coney Island: the other is Deno’s Wonder Wheel. | Luna Park, 834 Surf Ave., at W. 10th St., Coney Island | 718/373-5862 | | $9 | Seasonal hrs vary, but generally Mar.-May, weekends only (plus daily Apr. 3-12); June-Aug., daily | Station: F, Q to W. 8th St.-NY Aquarium; D, F, N, Q to Coney Island-Stillwell Ave.

Fodor’s Choice | New York Aquarium.
The oldest continually operating aquarium in the United States is run by the Wildlife Conservation Society; their mission is to save wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, and education. The aquarium occupies 14 acres of beachfront property and is home to 266 aquatic species. At the Sea Cliffs, you can watch penguins, sea lions, sea otters, seals, and walrus frolic: the best action is at feeding time. The Conservation Hall and Glovers Reef building is home to marine life from Belize, Fiji, and all over the world, including angel fish, eels, rays, and piranhas. The new Ocean Wonders: Sharks! exhibit, will bring hundreds more species, including nurse sharks, to the aquarium when it opens in 2016. | 502 Surf Ave., at W. 8th St., Coney Island | 718/265-3474 | | $11.95 | Sept.-May, 10-4:30; June-Sept., 10-6 | Station: F, Q to W. 8th St.-NY Aquarium; D, F, N, Q to Coney Island-Stillwell Ave.

QUICK BITES: Nathan’s Famous.
Nathan Handwerker, a Polish immigrant, founded this Coney Island hot dog stand in 1916, and what followed can only be described as a quintessential American success story. With a $300 loan and his wife’s Ida’s secret spice recipe, Nathan set up shop and his success was almost instantaneous—Al Capone, Jimmy Durante, and Cary Grant became regulars early on, President FDR served Nathan’s dogs to the King and Queen of England, local girl Barbra Streisand had them delivered to London, and Walter Matthau asked that they be served at his funeral. The century-old recipe still works: the hot dogs have good, firm texture and a snap when you bite. The light smoky, spicy flavor is reminiscent of the ball park on a summer evening. Buns are soft and the crinkle fries are hot, crispy, and perfectly creamy on the inside. | 1310 Surf Ave., at Stillwell Ave., Coney Island | 718/946-2705 | | Station: D, F, N, Q to Coney Island-Stillwell Ave.

Fodor’s Choice | Riegelmann Boardwalk.
Built in 1923 this famous, wood-planked walkway is better known as the Coney Island Boardwalk, and in summer it seems like all of Brooklyn is out strolling along the two-and-a-half mile stretch. The quintessential walk starts at the end of the pier in Coney Island, opposite the Parachute Jump—you can see the shoreline stretched out before you, a beautiful confluence of nature and city. From here to Brighton Beach is a little over a mile and should take about a half hour at a leisurely amble. Those modernistic, rectangular structures perched over the beach are new bathrooms and lifeguard stations. | Coney Island | Station: D, F, N, Q to Coney Island-Stillwell Ave.; F, Q to W. 8th St.-NY Aquarium; B, Q to Brighton Beach; Q to Ocean Pkwy.


Fodor’s Choice | Coney Island Circus Sideshow.
The cast of talented freaks and geeks who keep Coney Island’s carnival tradition alive include sword swallowers, fire eaters, knife throwers, contortionists, and Serpentina the snake dancer. Every show is an extravaganza, with 10 different acts to fascinate and impress. | Sideshows by the Seashore, 1208 Surf Ave., at W. 12th St., Coney Island | 718/372-5159 | | $10 | Apr.-Sept. | Station: F, Q to W. 8th St.-NY Aquarium; D, F, N, Q to Coney Island-Stillwell Ave.

Fodor’s Choice | Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park.
The star attraction at Deno’s is the towering, 150-foot tall Wonder Wheel. The Ferris wheel first opened in 1920, making it the oldest ride in Coney Island, and the spectacular views from the top take in a long stretch of the shoreline. Other rides for tots here, include the Dizzy Dragons, the Pony Carts, and a brightly painted carousel. | 3059 W. 12th St., Coney Island | 718/372-2592 | | $7 per ride (4 rides for $25) | Late Mar.-Oct., hrs vary | Station: F, Q to W. 8th St.-NY Aquarium; D, F, N, Q to Coney Island-Stillwell Ave.

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Brighton Beach

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A pleasant stroll just down the boardwalk from Coney Island is Brighton Beach, named after Britain’s beach resort. In the early 1900s Brighton Beach was a resort in its own right, with seaside hotels that catered to rich Manhattan families visiting for the summer. Since the 1970s and ’80s Brighton Beach has been known for its 100,000 Soviet émigrés. To get to the heart of “Little Odessa” from Coney Island, walk about a mile east along the boardwalk to Brighton 1st Place, then head up to Brighton Beach Avenue. To get here from Manhattan directly, take the B or Q train to the Brighton Beach stop; the trip takes about an hour from Midtown Manhattan.


Fodor’s Choice | Brighton Beach.
Just steps from the subway, this stretch of golden sand is the showpiece of Brooklyn’s oceanside playground. Families set up beach blankets, umbrellas, and coolers, and pick-up games of beach volleyball and football add to the excitement. Calm surf, a lively boardwalk, and a handful of restaurants for shade and refreshments complete the package. That spit of land in the distance is the Rockaway Peninsula, in Queens. | Brighton Beach, between Ocean Pkwy. and Brighton 14th St., Brighton Beach | Station: B, Q to Brighton Beach; Q to Ocean Pkwy.

Brighton Beach Avenue.
The main thoroughfare of “Little Odessa” can feel more like Kiev than Manhattan. Cyrillic shop signs advertise everything from salted tomatoes and pickled mushrooms to Russian language DVDs and Armani handbags. When the weather’s good, local bakeries sell sweet honey cake, cheese-stuffed vatrushki danishes, and chocolatey rugelach from sidewalk tables. | Brighton Beach Ave., between Ocean Pkwy. and Brighton 6th St., Brighton Beach | Station: B, Q to Brighton Beach.


Fodor’s Choice | Williams Candy.
Selling homemade candy apples, marshmallow sticks, popcorn, nuts, and giant lollipops for more than 75 years, this old-school, corner candy shop with the yellow awning is a Coney Island mainstay. Owner Peter Agrapides used to visit the store with his mother when he was a kid; he’s been the proud owner for 30 years. | 1318 Surf Ave., at W. 15th St., Coney Island | 718/372-0302 | | Station: D, F, N, Q to Coney Island-Stillwell Ave.

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Fort Greene and Crown Heights

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Fort Greene | Crown Heights

Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, and Fort Greene

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Art institutions, flatteringly lit cafés, and the sort of show-stopping architecture that sends real estate agents into early retirement make Fort Greene irresistible. Bookended by the Pratt Institute and the Williamsburg Savings Bank—a four-sided clock tower that was once the borough’s tallest building and remains a local landmark—the neighborhood has a central location and an illustrious past. Everyone from Walt Whitman to Spike Lee has called these leafy streets home, and the grassy hills of Fort Greene Park might just inspire you to write the Great American Novel. (Hey, it worked for Richard Wright, author of Native Son.)


Fodor’s Choice | Brooklyn Flea.
The country’s chic-est flea market is a collection of antiques dealers, artisanal woodworkers, culinary craftsmen (try the roasted garlic achaar!), vintage clotheshorses, and so much more. Held Saturdays, April through October, in an outdoor lot in Fort Greene, and on Sundays in Williamsburg, the Flea has launched many brick-and-mortar businesses throughout New York City. It’s also spawned an all-culinary offshoot, Smorgasburg, along the waterfront in of Williamsburg and on Brooklyn Bridge Park, as well as the Berg’n food hall. November through March, the Flea has an indoor space in Crown Heights (1000 Dean St.). | 176 Lafayette Ave., Fort Greene | | Weekends (different locations) | Station: C to Lafayette Ave.; G to Clinton-Washington Aves.


Diverse Crown Heights, and Bedford-Stuyvesant (known as Bed-Stuy), next door, have a lot going on. Crown Heights is walking distance from the Brooklyn Museum and is home to the Brooklyn Children Museum and Weeksville Heritage Center.


Fodor’s Choice | Brooklyn Children’s Museum.
What’s red, yellow, and green, and shaped like a spaceship? The Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Nestled in a residential area and abutting a pretty city park, the attention-grabbing exterior suits this interactive space designed for kids—one of a few places in New York City where “little people” can run and touch and play with abandon indoors. Exhibits range from a working greenhouse to Totally Tots, where daily afternoon programming includes art experiences for kids five and under. The cornerstone is World Brooklyn, a warren of rooms dedicated to various NYC cultures—from an Italian pizza shop to a Hispanic bakery—and a replica MTA bus for fun photo ops. Feel free to bring strollers and heavy coats: the museum may be a long walk from the subway, but the coat check takes everything free of charge. | 145 Brooklyn Ave., at St. Marks Ave., Crown Heights | 718/735-4400 | | $9 | Tues.-Sun. 10-5 | Station: C to Kingston-Throop Aves.; 3 to Kingston Ave.; A, C to Nostrand Ave.

Fodor’s Choice | Weeksville Heritage Center.
Devoted to honoring the history of the 19th-century African American community of Weeksville, one of the first communities of free blacks in New York, founded by James Weeks, this Crown Heights museum comprises a new industrial-modern building by Caples Jefferson Architects, botanical gardens, and three houses that date as far back as 1838. The restored homes, located along historic, gravel Hunterfly Road, are now period re-creations depicting African American family life in the 1860s, 1900s, and 1930s. Tours (Wed., Thurs., Fri., at 3pm, and select Sat. from 10-3; $5; ) lead visitors through bedrooms, kitchens, and sitting rooms accented by objects such as original clothing irons and ceramics found in the area at student-led archeological digs. Throughout the year, the venue hosts exhibits that honor the neighborhood’s history; in 2015 there will be a program in partnership with the Brooklyn Historical Society. | 158 Buffalo Ave., Crown Heights | 718/756-5250 | | Tues.-Fri. 9-5 | Station: A, C to Utica Ave.; 3, 4 to Crown Heights-Utica Ave.

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Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill

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Carroll Gardens | Cobble Hill | Boerum Hill


Traditionally an Italian neighborhood, Carroll Gardens began gentrifying as far back as the 1960s,then really started to pick up in th 70s and 80s and never looked back. While many old-school vestiges remain—bakeries and butcher shops and others that harken to the 1950s—particularly along Court Street, a recent influx of Manhattanites and French expats has given the neighborhood a leafy and refined Parisian-West Village vibe. With that has come an exciting mix of cutting-edge restaurants and bistros, handsome cocktail lounges and craft beer bars, and boutiques selling the most current styles.


Fodor’s Choice | Bird.
Looking for the chic-est womenswear in Brooklyn? You found it. Kaleidoscopic Tsumori Chisato knit sweater dresses, buttery Alexander Wang boots, A.P.C. cardigans, smart Edun tunics, 3.1 Phillip Lim frocks, Isabel Marant motorcycle jackets, Rachel Comey statement shoes, and delicate gold jewelry share the cozy space in this beloved boutique known for its indie designers and high prices. There are a few items for men as well. | 220 Smith St., at Butler St., Carroll Gardens | 718/797-2774 | | Station: F, G to Bergen St..

Fodor’s Choice | By Brooklyn.
The name says it all. This is the borough’s prime purveyor of dry goods, gifts, and comestibles conceived of and created in Brooklyn. Fill a Maptote denim tote bag stamped “Brooklyn” (of course) with jewelry by Natural Abstract, Morris Kitchen’s ginger syrup (to create the perfect cocktail), and Apotheke soap. Other top picks include The New Brooklyn Cookbook featuring favorite recipes by some of the chefs and restaurants that have made Brooklyn’s dining scene so buzzed-about, and the reclaimed Brooklyn slate cheeseboard by Brooklyn Slate Company. | 261 Smith St., Carroll Gardens | 718/643-0606 | | Station: F, G to Bergen St. or Carroll St.

Fodor’s Choice | Swallow.
If you’re looking for a gift or a special trinket for that hard-to-shop-for friend or family member who has exquisite taste and an appreciation for the finer things found in nature, head to Swallow. Delicate daguerreotypes, vases, anatomy-inspired jewelry, and other objets d’art and curiosities are just some of the offerings. Browsing here is a bit like traveling down the rabbit hole into a grown-up’s houseware wonderland. | 361 Smith St., at 2nd St., Carroll Gardens | 718/222-8201 | | Station: F, G to Carroll St.

QUICK BITE: Brooklyn Farmacy.
In 2010 an industrious couple reopened this 100-year-old soda fountain that had been closed for about a dozen years. A book deal, national television appearances, and a couple thousand children’s birthday parties since have definitely spelled success. Visit during the week, when you can score a seat at the counter for an egg cream or one of the Farmacy’s seasonal sundaes. The sleeper hit, though, is the ice cream sandwiches, which are made daily using freshly churned ice cream and homemade wafers. | 513 Henry St., Carroll Gardens | 718/522-6260 | | Reservations not accepted | Station: F, G to Carroll St.


Cobble Hill stands out for its 19th-century architecture and leafy, compact parks. Dutch residents called the area Cobleshill in reference to a Revolutionary War-era land mound, which was flattened by British soldiers to prevent strategic use by George Washington’s troops. These days, most of the 22-block neighborhood is landmarked as Brooklyn’s second-oldest district, a mix of brick townhouses, brownstones, and Victorian schoolhouses, where only the Gothic Revival churches exceed a 50-foot height limit. Historically working-class, the neighborhood has adopted all the trappings of haute Brooklyn, especially along busy Court Street.


Fodor’s Choice | BookCourt.
This wonderful, family-run shop has been a star on Court Street for more than 30 years. The tables and shelves are filled with books to browse, and the staff is happy to recommend titles. The shop stocks works by the neighborhood’s many local writers, who often appear for readings and signings. | 163 Court St., Cobble Hill | 718/875-3677 | | Station: 2, 3, 4, 5 to Borough Hall; F, G to Bergen St.


Understated elegance defines Boerum Hill, where red-brick townhouses and brownstones line quiet, leafy thoroughfares from 4th Avenue to Smith Street and Schermerhorn to Warren. The neighborhood saw an influx of immigrants in the late 1800s, with completion of the Brooklyn Bridge and the emergence of trolley cars, but fell into disrepair after World War II. Now fully gentrified, the setting is laden with beautiful cafés that are worth a visit. Despite its air of sophistication, Boerum Hill presents moments of levity, namely artist Susan Gardner’s sparkly mosaic-covered brownstone at 108 Wyckoff Street.

Locally ground flour, hand-mixed doughs, and European recipes are among this artisanal bakery and café’s secrets to success. Some regulars drop by to stock up on classic challah, French pain de mie (a sweet bread good for sandwiches or to toast) and baguettes, and Italian Pugliese loaves, but others come for the pastries. It’s hard to choose among the cranberry danishes, fruit tarts, chocolate pecan tortes, or the flawless croissants, the latter served plain or with chocolate. Bien Cuit makes sandwiches and quiches, too. | 120 Smith St., Boerum Hill | 718/852-0200 | | No dinner | Station: F, G to Bergen St.

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Park Slope and Prospect Heights

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Park Slope | Prospect Heights

Park Slope, Prospect Heights and Crown Heights

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Full of young families, well-dressed dog walkers, and impeccably curated shops, the neighborhood that literally slopes down from Prospect Park can feel like a veritable Norman Rockwell painting. Add to all that a slew of laptop-friendly coffeehouses and turn-of-the-20th-century brownstones—remnants of the days when Park Slope had the nation’s highest per-capita income—and it’s no surprise that academics and writers have flocked here. Park Slope’s busiest drags, 5th and 7th avenues, present plenty of shopping and noshing opportunities. Head to the elegant, 585-acre Prospect Park for long strolls or bicycle rides past lazy meadows, shady forests, and lakes designed by Olmsted and Vaux of Central Park fame (look out for free summertime concerts). Adjacent is Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which features a variety of public classes and the springtime Cherry Blossom Festival. Also perched on the park is the Brooklyn Museum, lauded for collections of American, Egyptian, and feminist art.


LeFrak Center at Lakeside.
The highlight of this restored 26-acre space in Prospect Park is the all-season ice- and roller-skating rinks; also check out the new walkways, the reconstructed esplanade near the lake, and the Music Island nature reserve, all of which were part of the original Olmsted and Vaux plans. Themed roller-skating night takes place on Friday, July through October; in winter,the rink hosts hockey and curling clinics for all ages. There’s also a café and snack bar. | Prospect Park, 171 East Dr., Prospect Park | 718/ 462-0100 | | Skating $6 weekdays, $8 weekends; rentals $6 | Tues.-Thurs. 11-6, Fri. 11-8, Sat. 10-9, Sun. 10-6. | Station: B, Q, S to Prospect Park; Q to Parkside Ave.

Fodor’s Choice | Prospect Park.
Brooklyn residents are passionate about Prospect Park, and with good reason: lush green spaces, gently curved walkways, summer concerts, vivid foliage in autumn, and an all-season skating rink make it a year-round getaway. In 1859 the New York Legislature decided to develop plans for a park in the fast-growing city of Brooklyn. After landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux completed the park in the late 1880s, Olmsted remarked that he was prouder of Prospect Park than of any of his other works—Manhattan’s Central Park included. Many critics agree that this is their most beautiful work. On weekends, those not jogging the 3.35-mile loop gravitate to the tree-ringed Long Meadow to fly kites, picnic, or play cricket, flag football, or frisbee. The park’s north entrance is at Grand Army Plaza, where the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Arch (patterned on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris) honors Civil War veterans. On Saturdays year-round, a greenmarket at the plaza throngs with shoppers.

A good way to experience the park is to walk the Long Meadow and then head to the eastern side, where you’ll find the lake and most attractions, including the Lefferts Historic House, Prospect Park Audubon Center, and the LeFrak Center. The extravagant Prospect Park Carousel, built in 1912, still thrills the kids. The annual Celebrate Brooklyn! festival takes place at the Prospect Park Bandshell from early June through mid-August. Films are occasionally shown on a 50-foot-wide outdoor screen, one of the world’s largest. | 450 Flatbush Ave., Prospect Park | 718/965-8951 | | Carousel $2 per ride | Carousel: Apr.-June, Sept., and Oct., Thurs.-Sun. noon-5; July-Labor Day, Thurs.-Sun. noon-6 | Station: 2, 3 to Grand Army Plaza; F, G to 7th Ave.; B, Q to 7th Ave.

QUICK BITE: Bark Hot Dogs.
The locally sourced and sustainable ingredients used in the burgers, hot dogs, and sausages served here, along with sides like brussels sprouts and kale salad, make this fast food without the guilt. Feeling too healthy? Order some cheddar fries.) Sixpoint beer is on tap, or choose from cider, milkshakes, and Dr. Brown’s sodas. Seating is at tall, communal tables, and there’s usually a game on TV. Make sure to sort your recyclables after your meal. | 474 Bergen St., between Flatbush and 5th aves., Park Slope | 718/789-1939 | | Station: 2, 3 to Bergen St.


Lefferts Historic House.
A visit to this Dutch Colonial farmhouse, built in 1783 and moved from nearby Flatbush Avenue to Prospect Park in 1918, is a window into how Brooklynites lived in the 19th century, when the area was predominately farmland. Rooms are furnished with antiques and reproductions from the 1820s, when the house was last redecorated. | Prospect Park, 452 Flatbush Ave., at Empire Blvd., Prospect Park | 718/789-2822 | $3 suggested donation | Apr.-June and Sept.-Oct., Thurs.-Sun. noon-5; July and Aug., Thurs.-Sun. noon-6; Nov.-Dec., Thurs.-Sun. noon-4; Jan.-Mar. call for hrs.

Old Stone House.
The original of this reconstructed Dutch farmhouse was built in 1699 and survived until the 1890s. It played a central role in the Battle of Brooklyn, one of the largest battles of the Revolutionary War and the small museum here focuses on the events of that week in 1776. The museum also depicts the early life of Dutch setters in the area and the years of British occupation in New York, until 1783. Music, art, plays, and other events take place year-round, including a ball game to celebrate the Brooklyn Baseball Club, which started here and gave rise to the Brooklyn Dodgers. | Washington Park/J.J. Byrne Playground, 336 3rd St., between 4th and 5th aves., Park Slope | 718/768-3195 | | $3 suggested donation | Weekends 11--4 and by appt. | Station: R to Union St.


Park Slope’s main shopping drags are 7th Avenue and 5th Avenue.

Fodor’s Choice | Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store.
The perfectly giftable, Brooklyn-made products at this variety store include Apotheke candles and diffusers, Bellocq teas, Brooklyn Slate Co. cheese boards, Claudia Pearson’s brownstone tea towels, and Alexandra Ferguson’s felt pillows and accessories. Brooklyn-theme tchotchkes, eco-friendly cleaning supplies, stationery, and toys round out the selection. You can’t go wrong gifting the mass-produced prank kit to any kid between the ages of 4 and 10. | 232 5th Ave., between President and Carroll sts., Park Slope | 718/522-9848 | | Station: R to Union St.

Fodor’s Choice | Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.
If you can’t crack a smile in this store—where all proceeds from superhero costumes, gear, and secret identity kits benefit 826NYC’s writing and tutoring programs for kids—step immediately into its Devillainizer cage. Once cleansed, browse the invisibility, dark matter, and cloning tools sold in plastic jugs and fake paint cans. The clever labels listing “ingredients” and “warnings” are worth every ounce of the tongue-in-cheek superpower products. | 372 5th Ave., between 5th and 6th Sts., Park Slope | 718/499-9884 | | Station: F, G to 4th Ave.; R to 9th St.


An influx of creative young professionals and impressive eats has lifted Prospect Heights out from the shadow of nearby Park Slope. Swing by on a Saturday to hit the borough’s flagship farmer’s market, Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket, where cooking demos and fresh produce entice the food-loving hoards. Vanderbilt Avenue and Washington Avenue are the main thoroughfares for restaurants and bars.


Barclays Center.
This rust-tinted spaceship of an arena houses two sports franchises—basketball’s Brooklyn Nets and, as of fall 2015, ice hockey’s New York Islanders. With a capacity rivaling Madison Square Garden, Barclays is now a regular stop for national tours, from circuses and ice capades to glossy pop stars and bearded indie-rockers. Also impressive are the Barclays food vendors: a solid roster of local restaurateurs, including L&B Spumoni Gardens, Habana Outpost, and Calexico. | 620 Atlantic Ave., at Flatbush Ave., Prospect Heights | 917/618-6100 | | Station: 2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, N, Q, R to Atlantic Ave.-Barclays Ctr.

Fodor’s Choice | Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
A gem even among New York’s superlative botanical sites, this verdant 52-acre oasis charms with its array of “gardens within the garden”—an idyllic Japanese Hill-and-Pond garden, a nearly century-old rose garden, and a Shakespeare garden. The Japanese cherry arbor turns into a breathtaking cloud of pink every spring, and the Sakura Matsuri two-day cherry blossom festival is the largest public-garden event in America. There are entrances on Eastern Parkway, next to the subway station, and on Washington Avenue, behind the Brooklyn Museum. Free garden tours meet at the front gate weekends at 1 pm. | 150 Eastern Pkwy., Prospect Heights | 718/623-7200 | | $12 (free all day Tues., Sat. before noon, and weekdays mid-Nov.-mid-Feb.) | Mar.-Oct.: grounds Tues.-Fri. 8-6, weekends 10-6; conservatory Tues.-Sun. 10-5:30. Nov.-Feb.: grounds Tues.-Fri. 8-4:30, weekends 10-4:30; conservatory Tues.-Sun. 10-4. Closed Mon. except major holidays | Station: 2, 3 to Eastern Pkwy.-Brooklyn Museum; 2, 3, 4, 5 to Franklin Ave.; S to Botanic Garden; B, Q to Prospect Park.

Fodor’s Choice | Brooklyn Museum.
First-time visitors may well gasp at the vastness of New York’s second-largest museum (after Manhattan’s Metropolitan Museum of Art) and one of the largest in America at 560,000 square feet of exhibition space. Along with changing exhibitions, the colossal Beaux-Arts structure houses one of the best collections of Egyptian art in the world and impressive collections of African, pre-Columbian, and Native American art. It’s also worth seeking out the museum’s works by Georgia O’Keeffe, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, George Bellows, Thomas Eakins, and Milton Avery—all stunners in a collection that ranges from Egyptian antiquities to Colonial paintings with very contemporary, cutting-edge special exhibits. The monthly (except for September) “First Saturday” free-entry night is a neighborhood party of art, music, and dancing, with food vendors and several cash bars. | 200 Eastern Pkwy., at Washington Ave., Prospect Heights | 718/638-5000 | | $16 suggested donation (free 1st Sat. of month), $23 combo ticket with Brooklyn Botanic Garden | Wed., Fri., and weekends 11-6, Thurs. 11-10; 1st Sat. of month 11-11 | Station: 2, 3 to Eastern Pkwy.-Brooklyn Museum.