Photo source: Flickr - GavinLi
When people think of New York City they mostly think of Manhattan, its skyscrapers and Central Park. But, New York City is so much more than this famous borough. In fact, there are five boroughs in New York City, with Brooklyn being the up-and-coming little sister that is now starting to shine on its own among tourists. Here are a few things you can do in Brooklyn and wow you should visit.
1. To enjoy the best live music scene in New York
Brooklyn loves showcasing its hipster and indie vibes, so it is easy to find a live band in any bar, cafe, open space and even garage (if you get invited). If you don't know where to go, just ask people on the street about places to go for good live music. As you'll notice, it seems like everyone in Brooklyn is either in a band or knows someone who is in a band. But, should that not work, the Music Hall of Williamsburg is probably the best place to see some of the big players in the "they were cool even before everyone heard of them" music scene. Zebulon Cafe is another good option for a good variety of live music, and Bargemusic for the cozy and intimate living room-like feel it offers in its old coffee barge.
2. To enjoy a completely different waterfront experience of the East River
Brooklyn has made a considerable effort in the last few decades to bring life to their entire waterfront. It has slowly developed into a connecting series of parks that incorporate some of the old industrial remnants and turned them into attractive venues for art and music, or simply as places to gather and rest. And what about the views? Brooklyn has some of the best urban views you'll find in New York City, displaying icons like the Manhattan skyline, Governors Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty, to name a few. So, take your time to pause along the Brooklyn Promenade to absorb those views while enjoying the great urban spaces that make up the promenade.
3. It is the best borough to go barhopping
I already mentioned the dynamic music scene Brooklyn has, so it shouldn't be a surprise that that there are several bars around to support it, right? Right. Areas like Park Slope, Bushwick, and Williamsburg have an eclectic selection of bars housed in typical shops, warehouses, factories, and even hosted under the elevated subway rails. If you're in any of these areas, you can simply stroll down the street and cross from one bar to the other in many cases just right next door! Some recommended bars to visit are Pine Box Rock Shop, Bierkraft, Moto and the Brooklyn Brewery, to name a few.
4. To take a look back into New York City's transit history
The New York Transit Museum goes deep into one essential element of New York City's life its public transit system. As if the displays weren't enough, this museum is housed inside a still-working but decommissioned subway station often used for action-film shoots. The museum has several interesting exhibitions, including the construction process of the subway system, historical photos and artifacts, vintage train cars, and workers' tales of the fascinating yet dangerous working conditions, among others.
5. To meet Central Park's sister
Everyone knows Central Park but did you know it has a sister park in Brooklyn? Prospect Park, a world-class green space, was planned by the same man who designed Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted, but in a much wilder, forest-like environment. If you thought you felt deep in nature when you visited Central Park, wait until you visit Prospect Park's 237 hectares. There, you'll feel like you're in the middle of a secluded forest hundreds of miles away from the city. Still, you can find several landscaped areas to picnic (like Long Meadow and Nethermead), go boating on the lake, visit the zoo, a music pagoda and even a Quaker cemetery.
6. The Brooklyn Bridge, of course!
Did you know that when the Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883, it was considered the "eighth wonder of the world" due to it having the largest span in the world? Also, that the mayor had to arrange for a herd of elephants to cross it to convince people it was safe? This bridge is certainly an icon of the city and one of the most impressive engineering marvels of the 19th century. Cross the bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan or vice versa, to get an up close view of this impressive structure and the East River.
7. To feel like a kid in Coney Island
Coney Island is the grandfather of American theme parks. For decades, it lost its amusement glory, but in recent years the park developed new rides to attract more people to the area. The one thing you shouldn't miss here is riding the historic roller coaster known as the Cyclone. Since 1927, this wooden roller coaster has given thrills and spins to riders of all ages. You might think an old and dubious looking roller coaster like the Cyclone might not fare well against modern coasters, but think again! One of the reasons the Cyclone is in the National Register of Historic Places is because its extreme and rickety twist and turns still pump the adrenaline in every single rider.
This is just a small portion of what Brooklyn has to offer, so take your time and explore the borough. You'll be surprised how vibrant and dynamic it is!
Have you visited Brooklyn? What did you do?
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