For the third of our bitesized guides to New York’s boroughs we head to Brooklyn. Get an alternative view of the city with a trip across the famous Brooklyn Bridge to the Big Apple’s hippest borough, where celebrated restaurants, eclectic boutiques and cutting-edge art galleries abound.
Although Manhattan might house some of the city’s biggest museums, Brooklyn has long inspired many an artist with its beautiful views of the city, rich history and creative leanings. Hip restaurants and trendy boutiques abound and the once-industrialised areas have been given a new lease of life as burgeoning centres for art and culture.
The 560,000 sq m Beaux Arts building holds a vast collection of non-Western art, including one of the largest collections of Egyptian objects in the world. It also houses contemporary pieces by Willem de Kooning and Kiki Smith.
Dubbed the eighth wonder of the world when it was completed after 30 years of construction in 1883, John Augustus Roebling’s design remains a masterful feat of engineering. One of the world’s first steel wire suspension bridges (and at one time one of the world’s longest) links Manhattan to Brooklyn, over the East River. The bridge’s mile-long wooden promenade, located above the car traffic, is open to pedestrians and cyclists and offers stunning views of the city.
The thought of walking around a cemetery may not be everyone’s idea of a holiday activity but with rolling hills and a wildlife sanctuary the area provides a peaceful retreat. It is also the final resting place for New York luminaries, such as composer Leonard Bernstein and toy magnate F.A.O. Schwartz.
New York City’s most famous boardwalk is the place to take a ride on vintage bumper cars. Major attractions include the New York Aquarium located halfway to Brighton Beach. Its Aquatheatre is home to 300 species including dolphins and sea lions; the Sea Cliffs Exhibition features walrus, penguins and giant Pacific octopus, while Discovery Cove is an interactive entertainment complex for children. Coney Island’s amusement area comprises several amusement parks, featuring the Cyclone Roller Coaster and the Wonder Wheel, the tallest Ferris wheel in the world. Many visitors grab a Nathan’s Famous hot dog on the boardwalk – a seaside treat for generations.
The area is a hotbed for creativity. Bedford Avenue and the surrounding streets are packed full of hip restaurants, trendy boutiques and music clubs for those in the know. Catch some live music at The Music Hall of Williamsburg where the likes of Patti Smith have played.
The 236-hectare (585-acre) park is the country’s first urban Audubon Center dedicated to conserving the natural habitat, including over 200 species of birds. Attractions include the Long Meadow, a 36-hectare (90-acre) meadow thought to be the largest meadow in any American park, Litchfield Villa, the home of Edwin Clark Litchfield, an early developer of the neighbourhood and a former owner of a southern section of the park, and Prospect Park Zoo.
Take a tour of Brooklyn with a twist. A Slice of Brooklyn offers beautifully presented, air-conditioned bus tours of the neighbourhood’s top pizzerias, incorporating famous film locations (watch John Travolta strut for the opening credits of Saturday Night Fever as you drive down the very same street the sequence was filmed in), iconic sights and local history. A Slice of Brooklyn also offers Brooklyn-neighbourhood tours and a seasonal tour of the area’s famous Christmas lights.
Sample some local flavour at the Brooklyn Brewery with favourite brews like Brooklyn Lager, East India Pale Ale and Brooklyn Pennant Ale. The brewery hosts various tours, happy hours and music events.
The area stretching from Hudson to Fulton Streets and Prospect to John Streets is known as DUMBO or Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. The waterfront neighbourhood has a wealth of galleries and performance spaces. Go for a meal at the famous River Café on Water Street which has amazing views of Manhattan.
Getting there from Downtown
Journey time: About 25 minutes from Times Square to Prospect Park.
More NYC transport info
Did you know?
Brooklynites represent 93 different ethnic groups, 150 nationalities, and speak 136 different languages.
Check back next week to read our bitesized guide to Manhattan.