Not For Tourists Guide to New York City - Not For Tourists (2016)

Map 30. Brooklyn Heights/DUMBO/Downtown

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Neighborhood Overview

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Map 30

Three ‘nabes for the price of one! Or is that three ‘nabes for the price of ten? Yes, Brooklyn Heights really is that expensive, but there’s a reason: it’s one of the most sublimely beautiful neighborhoods in all of New York, with jaw-dropping city views along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, two friendly retail strips on Montague and Henry Streets, views of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, and perhaps the city’s best stock of brownstones and clapboard homes, especially around the “fruit street” area of Orange, Cranberry, and Pineapple, but even heading all the way south along Henry and Hicks Streets until the neighborhood ends at busy Atlantic Avenue.

By the time one hits Court Street heading east from Brooklyn Heights, however, you can chuck the sublime right out the window. The borough’s central nervous system, Downtown Brooklyn, features several courthouses (you’ll learn your way around when Kings County jury duty calls), Brooklyn Borough Hall, Metrotech Center (encompassing the New York City College of Technology, a large Marriott hotel, Polytechnic Institute of New York University, and a convenient TKTS Booth), Brooklyn Law School, the Fulton Street Mall, jam-packed daily with lunchtime shoppers, and finally, a warren of subways that can take you to any other point in New York City. Speaking of which, don’t miss the New York Transit Museum, a fascinating look at how our underground web of trains came to be—and not just for aficionados.

DUMBO (“Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass,” the acronym appropriated from Walt Disney since the late 1970s), the third neighborhood in this trilogy, has followed the warehouse-turned-artist-studio-turned-expensive-condo route. Like Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO features killer views of downtown Manhattan, just closer to the waterfront. Retail in DUMBO, will be forever limited, and many shops close early (by New York standards). As DUMBO truly only has one subway stop (the York Street F), it can get a little desolate, especially late at night. And while this all sounds like a quiet, idyllic little neighborhood, there’s only one problem: the constant rumble of the B, D, N, and Q trains overhead on the Manhattan Bridge. Thank goodness for double-pane windows.

For true peace and quiet, you’d have to head east about five blocks from DUMBO to check out one of our favorite micro-neighborhoods, Vinegar Hill. Literally only three blocks wide and two blocks long, Vinegar Hill is bordered by a power plant to the north, the Navy Yard to the east, the Farragut Houses to the south, and DUMBO to the west. Inside its cobblestoned streets are a vestige of 19th-century Navy housing and an ex-retail strip along Hudson Street.

And then there’s Brooklyn Bridge Park, stretching 1.3 miles along the East River waterfront from Atlantic Avenue to the south all the way past Manhattan Bridge to the north. Comprising six repurposed shipping piers, the former Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park, two Civil War-era historic buildings, and various city-owned open spaces along the waterfront, the 85-acre site combines active and passive recreation with the stunning backdrop of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, Lower Manhattan, and the New York Harbor beyond.

By 8 p.m., teeming Downtown Brooklyn is a ghost town; you’ll either need to head north to DUMBO or west to the Heights to wet your whistle. In DUMBO check out bustling Galapagos Art Space after a performance at brilliant St. Ann’s Warehouse. In the Heights, Henry Street Ale House is a good complement to catching a flick at cozy Heights Cinema.

Brooklyn Heights/DUMBO/Downtown

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Map 30

image Landmarks

• Brooklyn Borough Hall •

209 Joralemon St [Cadman Plz W]

718-802-3700

Built in the 1840s, this Greek Revival landmark was once employed as the official City Hall of Brooklyn.

• Brooklyn Bridge • Adams St & East River

If you haven’t walked over it at least twice yet, you’re not cool.

• Brooklyn Bridge Park •

Old Fulton St & Furman St

718-222-9939

Waterfront park with stellar views and many active recreational amenities.

• Brooklyn Heights Promenade •

Montague St & Pierrepont Pl

The best place to really see Manhattan. It’s the view that’s in all the movies.

• Brooklyn Historical Society •

128 Pierrepont St [Clinton St]

718-222-4111

Want to really learn about Brooklyn? Go here.

• Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory •

1 Water St [Old Fulton St]

718-246-3963

Expensive, old-fashioned ice cream beneath the bridge.

• The Brooklyn Tabernacle •

17 Smith St [Livingston St]

718-290-2000

Home of the award-winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.

• Fulton Street Mall • Fulton St & Flatbush Ave

The shopping experience, Brooklyn style. Hot sneakers can be had for a song.

• Jetsons Building • 110 York St [Jay St]

View this sculptural roof from the Manhattan Bridge at night when it’s lit with colored lights.

• Junior’s Restaurant •

386 Flatbush Avenue Ext [DeKalb Ave]

718-852-5257

For the only cheesecake worth its curds and whey.

• Manhattan Bridge •

Flatbush Avenue Ext & Nassau St

Connecting Brooklyn to that other borough.

• MetroTech Center •

16-acre commercial/governmental/educational/cultural entity in Downtown Brooklyn.

• New York Transit Museum •

130 Livingston St [Boerum St]

718-694-1600

Ride vintage subway cars through formerly abandoned tunnels? Yes, please!

• Vinegar Hill • Water St & Hudson Ave

NYC’s coolest micro-neighborhood. Promise.

image Coffee

• Absolute Coffee • 327 Atlantic Ave [Hoyt St]

718-522-0969

Absolutely perfect for an Atlantic Ave. pit stop.

• Almondine Bakery • 85 Water St [Main St]

718-797-5026

Grab a cup and check out the view.

• Brooklyn Roasting Company •

25 Jay St [John St]

718-855-1000

DUMBO roasters; international focus.

• Cranberry’s • 48 Henry St [Cranberry St]

718-624-3500

Long-serving BH coffee stop.

• Iris Café • 20 Columbia Pl [Joralemon St]

718-722-7395

Very tiny. Very Brooklyn.

• Tazza • 311 Henry St [Atlantic Ave]

718-243-0487

Coffee, tea, baked goods, sammiches. And wine.

• Two For the Pot • 200 Clinton St [Atlantic Ave]

718-855-8173

Coffee, tea, and British imports as well.

image Farmers Markets

• Brooklyn Borough Hall Greenmarket •

Court St & Montague St

Tues, Thurs & Sat, 8 am–6 pm, year-round.

Our favorite places here are mostly in the “special occasion” category due to price: the Heights’ cozy gastropub Jack the Horse, game-oriented old-school Henry’s End, and the superb Vinegar Hill House. Otherwise, get great pizza at Juliana’s, grab fast food on Fulton Street Mall, or hit classic Junior’s for hangover food.

image Nightlife

• 68 Jay Street Bar • 68 Jay St [Front St]

718-260-8207

Arty local bar.

• Grand Army • 336 State St [Hoyt St]

718-422-7867

Cocktails and oysters, do we need anything else really?

• Henry Street Ale House •

62 Henry St [Cranberry St]

718-522-4801

Cozy, dark space with good selections on tap.

• Jack the Horse Tavern •

66 Hicks St [Cranberry St]

718-852-5084

Outstanding upscale pub/New American cuisine, great feel.

• Le Boudoir • 135 Atlantic Ave [Hoyt St]

347-227-8337

Marie Antoinette-themed cocktail lounge underneath Chez Moi.

• O’Keefe’s Bar & Grill •

62 Court St [Livingston St]

718-855-8751

Sports bar (large Mets following). Surprisingly decent food.

• St Ann’s Warehouse • 29 Jay St [Plymouth St]

718-254-8779

Be careful not to cut yourself on the edginess.

image Restaurants

• AlMar • 111 Front St [Washington St]

718-855-5288  $$$

Cavernous, friendly, communal-table Italian in DUMBO. Go to hang.

• Bijan’s • 81 Hoyt St [Atlantic Ave]

718-855-5574  $$$

Lamb burgers and rosemary chicken. It’s good.

• Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare •

200 Schermerhorn St [Hoyt St]

718-243-0050  $$$$$

When you get a seat, give it to us.

• Chez Moi • 135 Atlantic Ave [Henry St]

347-227-8337  $$$$

Even more French on Atlantic Avenue. We love it.

• Colonie • 127 Atlantic Ave [Henry St]

718-855-7500  $$$$

Hip to be square. Oysters, cocktails, and much more.

• Dellarocco’s of Brooklyn •

214 Hicks St [Montague St]

718-858-1010  $$

Perfectly good brick oven tucked away on Hicks. Nice.

• Fascati Pizza • 80 Henry St [Orange St]

718-237-1278  $

Excellent slice pizza.

• Five Guys • 138 Montague St [Henry St]

718-797-9380  $

Burger joint with tasty fries and free peanuts while you wait.

• Forno Rosso • 327 Gold St [Flatbush Ave]

718-451-3800  $$$

Chic industrial space with perfect brick-oven pizzas.

• Gallito’s Kitchen • 140 Montague St [Henry St]

718-855-4791  $$$

Good Mexican, especially for Montague Street.

• Ganso • 25 Bond St [Livingston St]

718-403-0900  $$

Perfect ramen tucked away just north of Atlantic.

• Grimaldi’s • 1 Front St [Cadman Plaza W]

718-858-4300  $

Excellent, respected, arguably among the best NYC pizza joints.

• Hale & Hearty Soup • 32 Court St [Remsen St]

718-596-5600  $$

Super soups.

• Heights Café • 84 Montague St [Hicks St]

718-625-5555  $$$

Decent dining near the Promenade.

• Henry’s End • 44 Henry St [Cranberry St]

718-834-1776  $$$

Inventive, game-oriented menu.

• Hill Country Chicken •

345 Adams St [Willoughby St]

718-885-4609  $

Fried chicken and BBQ goodness close to the courts.

• Iris Café • 20 Columbia Pl [Joralemon St]

718-722-7395  $$$

Trending: avocado toast and housemade ricotta.

• Iron Chef House • 92 Clark St [Monroe Pl]

718-858-8517  $$

Dependable sushi and cozy atmosphere.

• Jack the Horse Tavern •

66 Hicks St [Cranberry St]

718-852-5084  $$$$

Outstanding upscale pub/New American cuisine, great feel.

• Juliana’s Pizza • 19 Old Fulton St [Front St]

718-596-6700  $$

Patsy makes his triumphant return to original Grimaldi’s space.

• Junior’s Restaurant •

386 Flatbush Avenue Ext [DeKalb Ave]

718-852-5257  $

American with huge portions. Cheesecake.

• Lantern Thai • 101 Montague St [Hicks St]

718-237-2594  $$

Mediocre Thai. The Montague curse.

• Luzzo’s BK • 145 Atlantic Ave [Henry St]

718-855-6400  $$$

East Village Italian pizza masters say hello to Brooklyn.

• Miso • 40 Main St [Front St]

718-858-8388  $$$

Japanese fusion cuisine.

• No. 7 Sub • 11 Water St [Brooklyn Bridge]

917-618-4399  $$

Creative, filling sandwiches under the Brooklyn Bridge.

• Noodle Pudding • 38 Henry St [Middagh St]

718-625-3737  $$

Northern Italian fare.

• Park Plaza Restaurant •

220 Cadman Plaza W [Clark St]

718-596-5900  $

NFT-approved neighborhood diner.

• Queen Restaurant •

84 Court St [Livingston St]

718-596-5955  $$$$

Good white-tablecloth, bow-tied waiter Italian joint.

• The River Café • 1 Water St [Old Fulton St]

718-522-5200  $$$$$

Great view, but overrated.

• Shake Shack • 409 Fulton St [Boerum Pl]

718-307-7590  $

The empire comes to Brooklyn.

• Shake Shack • 1 Old Fulton St [Water St]

347-435-2676  $$

Danny Meyer’s burgers, conveniently located near Brooklyn Bridge Park.

• Superfine • 126 Front St [Pearl St]

718-243-9005  $$

Mediterranean-inspired menu, bi-level bar, local art and music. NFT pick.

• Sushi Gallery • 71 Clark St [Henry St]

718-222-0308  $$

Sushi Express, reasonable prices.

• Teresa’s Restaurant •

80 Montague St [Hicks St]

718-797-3996  $

Polish-American comfort food. Come hungry.

• Vinegar Hill House •

72 Hudson Ave [Water St]

718-522-1018  $$$

Excellent wood fired meats and veggies served in old-timey setting.

Need something, anything, quick and cheap? The Fulton Street Mall area is your answer, with a Macy’s and tons of discount shops. In DUMBO, you can get great books at powerHouse, chocolate at Jacques Torres, and pastries at Almondine. In the Heights, browse women’s clothing at Tango on Montague.

image Shopping

• Almondine Bakery • 85 Water St [Main St]

718-797-5026

Pastry smells waft to the street.

• Barnes & Noble • 106 Court St [State St]

718-246-4996

Chain bookstore.

• Bridge Fresh • 68 Jay St [Water St]

718-488-1993

Organic grocer.

• Brooklyn Historical Society •

128 Pierrepont St [Clinton St]

718-222-4111

Fun gift shop with all manner of Brooklyn-themed merch.

• Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory •

1 Water St [Old Fulton St]

718-246-3963

Get your ice cream fix on the Brooklyn waterfront.

• Cranberry’s • 48 Henry St [Cranberry St]

718-624-3500

Oldtime deli/grocery of rationally-priced comestibles.

• Egg Baby • 72 Jay St [Water St]

347-356-4097

Clothes for mommy and baby.

• Grumpy Bert • 82 Bond St [State St]

347-855-4849

Gift-toy-print-zine-apparel boutique.

• Halcyon • 57 Pearl St [Water St]

718-260-9299

Vinyl for DJ fanatics.

• Half Pint Citizens •

41 Washington St [Water St]

718-875-4007

Ditch Gap Kids!

• Heights Prime Meats • 59 Clark St [Henry St]

718-237-0133

Butcher.

• Housing Works Thrift Shop •

122 Montague St [Henry St]

718-237-0521

Our favorite thrift store.

• Jacques Torres Chocolate •

66 Water St [Main St]

718-875-1269

The Platonic ideal of chocolate.

• Lassen & Hennigs •

114 Montague St [Henry St]

718-875-6272

Specialty foods and deli.

• Macy’s • 422 Fulton St [Hoyt St]

718-875-7200

Less crazed than Herald Square by about 1700%.

• Modell’s Sporting Goods •

360 Fulton Mall [Red Hook Ln]

718-855-1921

Sports. Sports. Sports. Get your Cyclones stuff here!

• Montague Wine & Spirits •

78 Montague St [Hicks St]

718-254-9422

Consistently good wine store in Brooklyn Heights.

• One Girl Cookies • 33 Main St [Water St]

347-338-1268

Delicious treats via Cobble Hill.

• Peas & Pickles • 55 Washington St [Front St]

718-488-8336

DUMBO’s first grocery.

• Pomme • 81 Washington St [York St]

718-855-0623

Pricey imports for baby hipsters. Haircuts, too.

• powerHouse Arena • 37 Main St [Water St]

718-666-3049

One of our favorite gallery/bookstores.

• Recycle-A-Bicycle • 35 Pearl St [Plymouth St]

718-858-2972

Bikes to the ceiling.

• Stewart/Stand • 141 Front St [Pearl St]

718-875-1204

Another very cool design shop for DUMBO.

• Super Runners Shop • 123 Court St [State St]

718-858-8550

Running sneaks and the like.

• Tango • 145 Montague St [Henry St]

718-625-7518

Jodie loves the clothes here. ‘Nuff said.

• TKTS Booth • 1 Metrotech Ctr [Jay St]

212-912-9770

Shhh…don’t tell anyone there’s one in Brooklyn!

• Trunk • 68 Jay St [Front St]

718-522-6488

Awesome dresses and accessories, run by independent local designers.

• Waterfront Wines & Spirits •

360 Furman St [Joralemon St]

718-246-5101

Well curated selection; stop before visiting friends for dinner.

• West Elm • 75 Front St [Main St]

718-875-7757

Cool home decor at reasonable prices.