Ah, New York, the city that never sleeps. The city where you can catch a Whitney Houston tribute concert at 4am. The city where you can go for a full steak dinner at 7.30am.
With approximately 1.3 million Aussies flocking to Manhattan in 2017 alone, we know the island is incredibly popular with tourists.
But next time you’re in the Big Apple and want to escape the crowds to experience life as a true New Yorker, spend a few days in Brooklyn.
Once upon a time, Brooklyn was a place people didn’t really venture to as it’s quite a trek from Downtown Manhattan; a full 45,437 steps from Central Park to be precise.
But in recent years, Brooklyn has undergone a massive boom, with cafes, restaurants, museums and hotels popping up all over the place, turning the locals-only hang out into a buzzing melting pot of culture and activity.
Trying to navigate around Brooklyn’s 77 neighbourhoods can be quite the mission, so we’ve made up a little itinerary to save those grey hairs forming, thank us later.
Where to stay?
1 Hotel – Brooklyn Bridge
Located in the Brooklyn Heights neighbourhood, 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge is renowned for its breathtaking views of the lower Manhattan skyline. Supermodel Gigi Hadid celebrated her 22nd birthday there so you know it’s cool.
Yes, the hotel has the most amazing suites, lush linen and all the latest technology #moodlighting, but what makes the hotel stand out from the crowd is the sense of community.
As a boutique place to stay, it challenges the concept of a traditional where guests spend the majority of their time in private rooms, and instead encourages social interaction.
During my stay, the lobby which doubles as a chic café, was always bursting with life. You’ll witness business meetings, guests chatting to one another, students cramming for exams, many awkward first dates and even a crying child or two… but hey, it’s a family-friendly place that’s why we like it.
The 10-storey establishment has all the amenities; spa, gym and several dining options. The down to earth café ‘Neighbours’ was a highlight, grab a bagel and a coffee and people watch the local Brooklynites go by.
The William Vale
Amazing views, good restaurants and incredible suites – check, check and check. The chic hotel is located in the neighbourhood of Williamsburg which is home to a bustling art and food culture, where graffiti murals line the streets and people queue for hours to taste a cronut.
The William Vale is known for it’s spacious balcony suites with a first-class view of the Manhattan Skyline – which makes it the perfect venue to celebrate an anniversary or throw a hens do. Boasting the most luxurious bathrooms (who doesn’t love a free-standing tub and a waterfall shower), the hotel will make you feel all types of zen, which crucial for when your travelling companion is getting on your last nerve.
In summer, William Vale’s rooftop has live music, lawn bowls and a lavish cocktail menu for the ultimate Sunday session.
Warning: The hotel is a little out of the way, so make sure you have Uber downloaded on your smartphone.
Where to eat/ drink?
Whether it’s date night or brunch with the girls, The Osprey is perfect. The al-fresco styled restaurant adopts the ‘farm-to-table’ concept, with produce coming from local suppliers.
The menu is seasonal but if you’re there in spring the brussel sprouts are a MUST…
You cannot visit Brooklyn without stopping at Luke’s. The Iconic Brooklyn Bridge store sells mouthwatering lobster rolls.
The freshly caught crustaceans are served on a warm bun topped with lemon butter, mayo and Luke’s secret seasoning. It’s simple but magical. There is no surprise why the locals say it’s ‘the best lobster roll in New York’.
Are you a wine and food enthusiast? Then Westlight is for you. Located in Williamsburg, the bar offers a serious cocktail menu and timeless food selection – the duck carnitas tacos will make you taste buds explode.
It’s popular with the locals so making a reservation is recommended.
What to do?
Brooklyn Bridge Park
If you’re needing to burn off all the food you’ve eaten, the running track in Brooklyn Bridge Park is the place to go.
The 85-acre park runs along the East River, starting at the Manhattan Bridge wrapping around to Pier 5, and needless to say, the view of Manhattan is stunning.
Not a fan of running? Don’t worry, the park is home to several cute cafes, in summer there are multiple barbecue setups and of course, there is the iconic ‘Jane’s carousel’ for the little ones – or the young at heart.
Showcasing all of Brooklyn’s food, fashion and art, the Williamsburg markets is fast becoming a popular tourist attraction.
Open daily from 9am, it’s the perfect place to experience the true Brooklyn culture with street performers and artists out and about, showcasing their talents; you can get yourself a hand-drawn portrait of your mug for only $10. Local chefs are also in abundance, urging you to taste their latest food invention.
We recommend grabbing a bagel with everything on it from the ‘The Daily Grind’ stall.
Dumbo is the newest Brooklyn hotspot. The neighbourhood is filled with an abundance of cafes, restaurants (The Dumbo House serves the best rosé) and cute little boutique stores selling everything from vintage clothing to home décor. You can spend days getting lost.
After a mini-photoshoot? Dumbo is a popular place with all those Instagram fanatics, with it’s old school heritage buildings and views of iconic New York landmarks, your Instagram feed won’t be short of content.
So there you have it, a mini guide to Brooklyn. Next time you’re in the Big Apple, make Brooklyn a priority.
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