Brooklyn Like a Local
For Presidents Day weekend I decided to escape our nations capital for some quality time with my best friend from childhood. Yana and I met waiting for the school bus when we were in middle school, needless to say, the bus stop changed my life and created this lifelong friendship!
Yana lives in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. It’s an up and coming neighborhood with historic roots. Clinton Hill is very close to the new home of the Brooklyn Nets, The Barclays Center.
Getting to New York City from Washington, D.C. is very easy. There are planes, trains and buses that all go direct to Manhattan. I opted for a bus from Union Station because it was the cheapest option at a whopping $40 (one way). Usually bus tickets are less than $40 but this was a last minute trip and with the long weekend prices were inflated on all transportation.
Getting from Manhattan to Brooklyn is easy. From 34th street the C&E trains take you direct to various Brooklyn neighborhoods. Or if you’re looking to go to Williamsburg, transfer to the L at 14th Street.
A Simple Saturday
While it is uncommon, there are the few in New York City who have and use a car on a regular basis, Yana is one of those people. It was nice to have the convenience of a car, especially considering our Saturday plans and the horrible nature of all subways on the weekends. Yes, D.C.—you’re not the only city that disrupts lives with weekend track work.
We began our Saturday with a drive to Bushwick, a neighborhood in the Northern most part of Brooklyn near Williamsburg. Our friend Nicole lives in Bushwick so we went to check out her new apartment and the growing social scene in that area.
Brunch in Bushwick was sublime. With a trendy art culture and loads of foodies, Bushwick is made for brunching. Our brunch place of choice was Northeast Kingdom. They serve all local food which means the menu changes based on what the farmers deliver. I can rave about this meal all day long…we spilt an oversized helping of Peanut Butter French Toast and a Tater Tote Poutine. Both were mouth watering. Northeast Kingdom also had great drip coffee (bottomless: $2), it was the perfect addition to our heavy meal.
With full bellies the obvious next step was shopping. Because who doesn’t want to try on clothes after eating carbs and sugar?
Williamsburg is a lovely neighborhood for shopping of all kinds. The vintage clothing stores and consignment shops in particular are mostly reasonably priced and have a wide selection of clothes and accessories. It’s easy to spend hours walking around the neighborhood, popping into a coffee shop or walking to the Hudson River for a majestic view of downtown Manhattan (tip: stay for sunset).
In terms of nightlife northern Brooklyn is very bar heavy. From catching a local band, to playing a couple rounds of pool you can find just about any style bar, but you are guaranteed a few seemingly trendy twenty-somethings in any given place. Most of Brooklyn nightlife is found in Williamsburg, but we stayed close to Yana’s apartment in Clinton Hill. We went to Hot Bird, great drink selection from beer ($6), wine ($8) and liquor ($8-$10). They also had a nice looking fire pit outside for those deciding to brave the cold for a smoke.
The Brooklyn Museum of Art has done a really impressive job over the last several years to enhance its collection and exhibits. At times it is overwhelming the diversity of the art on display and in storage.
One of the noticeable attractions to the museum is the “visible storage” room that visitors can explore. It is like a warehouse of art, no signs and no detail about the art. But the display cases are packed, organized and labeled so the art can be pulled into a gallery at any time.
The museum opens at 11am Sunday. There is always a suggested rate for admission. If you want to pay the $12 suggestion per person, go for it. If not, don’t fret, just tell them what you prefer to pay and you will be admitted with no problem.
Brookland to Brooklyn
Acting like a local in Brooklyn is easy. Mainly because a lot of young New York transplants have made their way out to the northern parts of Brooklyn. There are innovative restaurants, lots of artists and plenty of chill bars that any DCer would easily be able to navigate. Just don’t start a conversation with “so, what do you do?”