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Brooklyn bridge leading to Manhattan.
Mini-Guide: Brooklyn, New York
By Jacquelin Cangro
from the glitz of
and the drama
suddenly become a hot
Several operators have developed bus tours solely within
the borough and Carnival Cruise Lines has proposed a new $100 million
passenger terminal on the
Anne Sexton put it best when she wrote, 'Poor thing/ To die and never see Brooklyn.'
The time has come to step off the well-worn path of Manhattan tourist destinations and spend time in the borough many locals believe should be the 51st state.
uncomfortable with extremes should avoid July and August, when temperatures
are into the 90s and the humidity can make the heartiest traveler wilt.
January and February often bring snow and icy winds. May and October
are often mild.
TO GET THERE
is located between two major airports - LaGuardia, which handles domestic
flights only, and John F. Kennedy (JFK), which is served by most conceivable
international and domestic airlines. The easiest option to any destination
from either airport is a taxi.
a taxi is about $20 from LaGuardia and $30 from JFK. For
only $2 the city subway lines serve both airports. A free shuttle bus
takes passengers from JFK to the Howard Beach train station.
hop on the city bus ($2) which stops at the
station with a free
transfer to the subway. (Ask the bus driver for a transfer pass.) Most
long-distance bus lines end at the Port Authority Terminal in
A number of subway lines directly serve the terminal. Amtrak service
ends at Grand Central Station in
and also is served by many subway lines.
is best to leave the driving to someone else when in
Drivers often find themselves searching in vain for a spot or paying
exorbitant garage rates. Take mass transit. It's clean, it's safe, and
it covers most every corner of the borough.
The subway system is generally
the fastest way to get somewhere too far to walk. Don't be afraid to
ask for directions. It's a source of pride for most Brooklynites to
talk about their neighborhood. Many an argument has been had over the
best or fastest way to get someone from point A to point B.
maps are available at every station, or print one from the web. (mta.nyc.ny.us) Subway
and bus fares recently increased to $2 per ride. Along with the increase
came the elimination of the token.
Now all rides require a MetroCard,
which can be purchased at any station or select vendors across the city.
Think about purchasing a one-day
for $7. It is good for
unlimited rides that day. A seven-day Unlimited Ride card is $21.Late
night hours call for the use of a taxi.
Cabs are easy to find, unless
it is rush hour or a residential area. Fares are $2 for the first fifth
of a mile and .30 for each fifth of a mile thereafter or for each 90
seconds in slow traffic. Always use yellow cabs with a gold medallion
on the hood. Gypsy cabs, those without medallions, can be uninsured
or unlicensed and are best avoided.
BrooklynBridge at dusk for an up-close-and-personal view of the venerable bridge.Walk above the traffic and be treated to panoramic
skyline vistas while the sun sets behind
It doesn't take but a few steps to realize what an engineering marvel
it was when it opened in 1889.
disrepair for many years,
(coneyisland.com) is revitalizing
itself with help from the city. The
train station is getting a much needed face lift, while
the shoddy buildings lining
are being renovated or torn down. Ride the Wonder Wheel
and the Cyclone wooden roller coaster. Take a walk along the famous
boardwalk and stop in at the original Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs. It is
here that the annual hot dog eating contest is held on July 4th where this year's winner ate 44 in only 12 minutes.
(prospectpark.org) is a 526-acre
oasis in the middle of a bustling borough. Landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who also designed
the famed Central
Park in the 1800s, were said to feel that they improved upon Central Park.
On the edge of the park at
Flatbush Avenue Brooklyn Botanic
Garden (bbg.org) has something to offer visitors
no matter the time of year. The
alone is worth the $5 admission fee. The Shinto shrine,
pavilion and stone lanterns are all carefully laid out to evoke a feeling
of peace and tranquility. Visitors in June are treated to more than
1200 varieties of roses in the Cranford Rose Garden where the sweet
fragrance is overwhelming. The botanic garden is closed on Mondays.
are calling DUMBO the new
. DUMBO? That's short for Down Under the Manhattan
Bridge Overpass. Located between the
this up-and-coming area has chic stores and restaurants opening on a
regular basis. The area is home to many burgeoning artists who showcase
their work at the annual D.U.M.B.O. Art Under the Bridge Festival (718) 694-0831, usually held
, site of George
Washington's evacuation during the Revolutionary War's Battle of Brooklyn,
hosts one of the city's best children's playground.
ACTIVITIES AND GUIDES
second largest museum in
New York City
is the Brooklyn Museum of Art The museum's permanent collection of ancient Egyptian art is generally
considered to be one of the finest in the world dating from 1350 BC
Special programs are held on the first Saturday of each month for free
is back in
thanks to the Brooklyn Cyclones. Still bitter about the Dodgers' exodus in the fifties, Brooklynites
are proud the minor league Cyclones call
home. Games are sold out quickly so purchase tickets
well in advance. Walk
with Big Onion Walking Tours.
Learn how the
was built while walking across it. Then tour
New York City
's first suburb,
, to explore its rich architectural and literary history.
Big Onion also offers a
Green-WoodCemetery Tour. Founded in 1838, the cemetery was a leading tourist
attraction by the 1850s, hosting an estimated 500,000 visitors per year.
Stops include the graves of Leonard Bernstein, Louis Comfort Tiffany, "Boss"
, Samuel F.B. Morse, and Horace Greeley. For
a can't-beat-the-price option (free) jump on the trolley which tours
the major sites around
such as the
and the Brooklyn Museum of Art. (718) 282-7789.
can find a range of national chain hotels and motels throughout the
borough. Below is an example of places to stay that are unique to
on the Park, 113 Prospect Park West, (718) 499-6115. There are nine rooms in this bed and breakfast inn just across
and close to the
subway stop on the F train line. Rooms start at $125/night.
Bed & Breakfast, 405 Union Street, (718) 852-8406. Just a couple of
subway stops into Brooklyn from Manhattan, this B&B is in the quaint
neighborhood of Carroll Gardens, named so for the small patches of flora
in front of its historic brownstones. Rooms start at $125/night for
a large room and $75/night for a small room.
Marisa, 288 Park Place, (718) 399-9535This inn is close to
, Brooklyn Museum of
and a quick train ride away from
. Rooms start at $75/night.BEST
New York City
best steakhouse? It's not in
For 116 years, Peter Luger Steakhouse has served some of the best meals in
The annual Zagat Survey has rated the
restaurant tops for the 19th year running, and it shows no
signs of settling for second place. Go ahead and splurge (cash only),
but make reservations well in advance.
with his or her sweetheart
should go to the city's most romantic restaurant, The River Café. The trees and
pier are filled with twinkling white lights and the waterfront location
provides spectacular views
the food's not bad either, given that the restaurant has produced at
least four of
New York City
some cities, a diner is just a diner.
diners are where locals meet to gossip, catch up on the news of the
day and hold court on important topics. For more than 50 years, Junior's (718) 852-5257, on the corner of
has been that place for Brooklynites. Order just about anything on the
menu, but be sure to leave room for one of the 18 different kinds of
their world famous cheesecake.
Boots(718) 499-3253 describes the type of cuisine offered at this
Park Slope family-friendly restaurant. One boot is for the Cajun influences
Louisiana. The other boot is for the Italian
flair. The pizza is spicy enough to cause a sweat and the po' boys are
big enough to share. The décor is a little wild even when the stage
in the back room heats up with local bands.
jazzed up at the no-frills Waterfront Ale House (718) 522-3794.
The barbecue is finger lickin', the live jazz is foot stompin' and the
beer selection is wide rangin'. What else is necessary? Order a locally
brewed Brooklyn Lager and mingle with the locals. The fact that there
is another location in
Wax Records (718) 486-3771 has the best indie record collection
(yes, the vinyl stuff) in
Of course they also have plenty of CDs, three walls of them, surrounding
the day-glo décor and the flyers stuffed under glass countertops. Have
a seat in the garden café and let the beat go on. Also
Closet (718) 486-0816, selling trendy clothes at bargain prices. They
have a consignment area offering gently worn vintage clothing.
neighborhood. Now full of cafes, bars, and shops, it's difficult to
imagine the empty storefronts and deserted blocks that occupied this
area just few years ago. The younger set might be lured by Crush with
a sign in the window that says, "Hip stuff you'll want." Refinery offers
chic housewares and accessories. Banania Café gives weary shoppers a
chance to regroup.
summer, the Celebrate Brooklyn festival takes over the band shell in
. For a $3 donation,
acts range from the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra to a Guys and Dolls
screening to Roseanne Cash. Bring a picnic and relax on the lawn.
welcomes summer in the most unusual way.
On the first
Saturday after the summer solstice, watch mermaids and mer-men march
in the annual Mermaid Parade.
The party isn't limited to mermaids. Anything under the sea is fair
game. Revelers dressed as lobsters, Poseidon, and Captain Nemo look right at home on the boardwalk.
are thousands of ATMs at banks, supermarkets and corner groceries across
the borough. Most accept all bankcards and credit cards.The
price of a local call from a pay phone is $.35 for 3 minutes. Public
phones are equipped with capabilities to make collect and calling card
access is available at the main public library on the north edge of
Many smaller libraries also have internet access, but there are fewer
computers and they are less reliable. The internet can also be reached
at the many internet cafes and copy centers.
now boasts that it is the safest large
city in the country. And it's true that crime, especially violent crime,
has steadily fallen in recent years. Still, it is wise to use common
sense and be cautious. While
the subways are very safe most times of the day, take a cab after
If an unusual circumstance arises while on the train, switch cars at
the next stop or choose the car in which the conductor rides. It's better
to appear the overanxious tourist, than to stay in a situation that
There are certain places in this large borough that should be avoided:
The faraway subway stop of New Lots Ave in East New York for example.
Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights and much of the rest of Brooklyn is not
valuables at your hotel or home. Since Brooklynites spend much of their
day in close proximity with one another, it makes the picking very easy.
Invest in a waist pack that hides under clothes or an urban bag that
slings across the body.