It’s the Tuesday after Labor Day, the official end of summer, and boy does it look it. Grey skies and temperatures in the 60s just scream, “. . . well, what’s the difference between September and the crappy July we had?”
We did, shockingly, manage to have great weather over the weekend here in New York though, and so John and I took advantage and went on a little trip to exotic, magical . . . Brooklyn.
It’s being said that Brooklyn is the new Manhattan, so naturally John and I wanted to visit the place that we apparently MEANT to move to and why we aren’t in turn paying Brooklyn rent. Like our other walking tours, this excursion began with a means of getting there (walking across the Brooklyn Bridge), a restaurant (Grimaldi’s), and a “destination” (the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and eventually Williamsburg).
If you love New York and have never walked the Brooklyn Bridge, you’re missing out on a truly unique, awesome experience, and it’s absolutely free! Even if you’re a bit heights-squeamish, the structure is so massive you don’t really realize that you’re walking high above the Hudson. There’s a separate walking path for pedestrians and bikes and the views are just spectacular. If you’re interested, the history of the construction is also fascinating.
All in all, the walk takes about 20-30 minutes, depending on how much time you spend reveling and taking pictures. On the other side of the bridge is the neighborhood of DUMBO (down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass), a lovely urban compromise for fashionable yuppie parents to settle and push their I’m-not-in-that-crowd-so-I-don’t-know-what-the-trendy-stroller-is-called down gorgeous cobblestone streets, surrounded by organic kid’s clothing and hip book stores. Grimaldi’s is located in DUMBO, so after we had walked around a bit, we headed to the restaurant, eager to sample what is commonly considered New York’s best pizza.
Ok, big rule in traveling: never trust anyone or anything that says something is “the best”. It’s not. If it has unluckily been given such a title, a million people already know about it and it’s either been, a.) overrun by tourists and has b.) consequently been overwhelmed and unable to maintain, or c.) unable to live up to the hype will only serve to disappoint it’s starving, eager public.
We forgot this rule and were met by a line of Disneyland-in-July proportions.
And like Aesop’s fox, we strolled away from the massive crowd, rolling our eyes at their pathetic display, muttering how those “best” places usually suck anyway, and who the hell do they think they are with a line like that. Brooklyn is full of amazing restaurants, though, so we knew we’d find a delicious if not so famous alternative.
After hanging out in The Powerhouse Arena and Zakka Corp, we made our way to the less hip but more scenic Promenade in Brooklyn Heights, which looks shockingly like Georgetown or Old Town Alexandria. Except in Brooklyn Heights your view is less madras shorts and Hoya and more, oh, BEST CITY IN THE FRIGGIN WORLD.
We then got in a cab to head to another side of Brooklyn: Williamsburg. Williamsburg is the hipster Mecca of New York, and because I know that it more than likely means it was the hipster Mecca of New York 10 years ago and now the real bohemians are living somewhere in Queens or Staten Island or something. Nevertheless, Williamsburg doesn’t disappoint in the hipster observation department. I think at heart, I am one of these people – people who wear ridiculous vintage clothing, and not in the pretty 50s sense, but in the horrifying 70s sense; people who have friends with scruffy beards and Woody Allen glasses, who wear flannel shirts and lots of layered necklaces and no makeup. But, alas, I’m too uptight and am restricted to only admiring them, like you do the faux-Revolutionaries in Virginia’s colonial counterpart. The place is teeming with cool shops and restaurants, which I can’t wait to go back to once I have anything remotely resembling money. Exceptions will be made for the Endless Summer taco truck, which my stomach is literally weeping over the thought of: delicious, super authentic tacos – double layered soft corn tortillas filled with carnitas or chorizo, queso fresco, cilantro, and other bits of heaven. Match that with some roasted corn on the cob and a Mexican bottled soda and arrrghghhhghh me cannot finish sentence aararghhhh.
While I ate my taco, John was happy to find a döner, which is extremely popular German street food. He had his Turkish version of a taco (a lamb pita) and soon forgot anything resembling a pizza.
To get back to Manhattan, all we had to do was hop on the L train; a quick trip but a distinct world away. There’s more I want to see and do in Brooklyn, and it’s so easy to get to and so full of interesting places that I’m sure it won’t be long until our next jaunt. Especially our stomachs have anything to do with it.