New York has so much to offer if you are a tourist. The Statue of Liberty, Coney Island, Times Square, American Museum of Natural History – there is something for everybody! It’s like no other city in the world and you can easily spend a few weeks trying to explore what NYC has to offer and still need more time to see it all. You just have to come back, not that I am complaining!
On all my trips to New York, the one area I had never visited was Brooklyn. It’s been that elusive borough that I have always wanted to visit but just never found the time to explore. On my most recent trip to New York, Jake and I stayed at a friend’s in Brooklyn instead of checking ourselves into another standard Manhattan hotel. I am so glad we did – I saw a completely different side to New York. More authentic, less touristy and oh so trendy; you cannot NOT fall in love with Brooklyn.
Jake and I agreed that this borough definitely warranted a full day of our undivided attention so we got up bright and early (as much as we didn’t want too get out of bed) and walked up to hipster capital, Williamsburg. New York doesn’t get more hipster than Williamsburg! We walked past quaint streets lined with stylish bars, eclectic shops, inventive restaurants and the trendiest people on this side of the coast. It’s like Shoreditch or East Berlin but in New York.
The streets are full of amazing art. I found something that caught my attention at every turn. Cycles, mirrors or even footpath dividers – creativity takes centre stage in Williamsburg. You don’t however have to go hunting for these subtle sculptures to see what I mean. You are bound to encounter creativity in the form of some stunning street art on the walls around here – it’s hard to miss!
Appreciating art can be very tiresome. We did what any New Yorker would do and decided to grab some brunch – American style. We happen to chance upon a great brunch place called Sweet Chick that serves the best fried chicken and waffles in
New York, the world! Who could say no to some amazing fried chicken and waffle sandwich that comes with bourbon molasses glaze, black eyed pea spread and the most generous portion of shoestring fries? As you can tell, definitely not Jake!
To top it all of, it only cost us $12 each! It doesn’t get better than that. Incase you were wondering, yes they serve all their drinks in jars. Told you Williamsburg was NY’s answer to Shoreditch. If you find yourself in this part of town, I would highly recommend trying out Sweet Chick. It’s exactly what you need in your life.
Waffles consumed and jars emptied, we continued exploring the beautiful tree lined streets here. The shops here are amongst the best that New York has to offer. Its got the American Apparels and the Urban Outfitters you find everywhere else (albeit cooler and trendier than most other stores) but what’s really exciting about this hipster hub is the sheer number of one of a kind vintage stores that pack the streets here. It’s also home to the first ever Kinfolk Store. If you are looking for that one of a kind unique shopping experience, you have just found paradise. I was glad I had Jake with me to stop me from swiping my plastic too many times!
We stopped for a quick coffee break before meeting up with Mike, our Brooklyn resident and host extraordinaire who offered to showed us some of his local favourites. First up was a Vietnamese pop up called Bep in Bedford Avenue for a spot of late lunch/early dinner.It takes up home three days a week at the French inspired Algerian restaurant called Simple Cafe.
French/Algerian/Vietnamese? Go figure! All I knew was that the food was pretty spot on and I absolutely loved the vintage chic interiors here.
We then made our way to the Brooklyn waterfront just in time for that famous NYC sunset. I would suggest trying the waterfront at the Northside Piers between North 5th and North 6th streets. It’s a beautiful space complete with benches, well maintained lawns, bike lanes and walking paths. Ofcourse there is a fantastic view of the Manhattan skyline right across the river too along with the stunning Williamsburg Bridge on your left. The waterfront here also plays host to the Brooklyn Flea on Sundays where you can shop till you drop for everything from vintage clothing to handcrafted jewellery.
I absolutely love watching the sun set over this beautiful metropolis as you probably know from my last blog post about the Empire State Building and the incredible view from up there. Watching the sunset from this spot could definitely give the Empire State a run for its money. Jake and I went snap happy capturing the changing hues in the sky. It was such a surreal experience. Highly recommended if you find yourself in Brooklyn.
No trip to Brooklyn is complete without a visit to the iconic world famous Brooklyn Brewery. It’s home to my favourite beer brand in the world and I was not going to give up on the chance to have a few Brooklyns in Brooklyn (see what I did there)! The brewery does a Small Batch Tour from Monday to Thursday for $12 where you get an all access behind the scenes tour of the brewery along with a few Brooklyns thrown in ofcourse. Places are limited to 30 people per tour though, so I would suggest booking them well in advance to make sure you don’t miss out.
It had been a long day and all we wanted to put our feet up, relax and try a few more beers. The guys at the Brewery suggested we try out The Ides Bar on the rooftop of the nearby Wythe Hotel. You know I don’t have to be told twice! Housed in a historic, refurbished factory on the Brooklyn waterfront, its got a great view of the Manhattan skyline along with an extensive collection of cocktails and beers too. We grabbed a table in this swanky bar and toasted to a great day in Brooklyn. I definitely want to come back and stay at the Wythe – it’s a great hotel.
I am not usually a fan of beer but the Brooklyn Brewery East India Pale Ale (EIPA) is to die for. Absolutely gorgeous beer made even more special considering it is brewed less than a 2 min walk away from the Wythe Hotel. Since this trip, I have been trying to find this IPA in London pubs haven’t had a lot of luck. Although it’s now available on Amazon which does make me very happy!
Sipping on Brooklyns in Brooklyn was the perfect ending to a great day. If I was to ever live in New York, I always though I would find a place in or around Manhattan but I think I would much rather prefer a trendy pad in Williamsburg now. If you are planning on visiting New York anytime soon, definitely take some time out to visit Brooklyn. I cannot wait to come back and explore more of this amazing borough and ofcourse try a few more Brooklyns in Brooklyn.