New York is not only Manhattan, it’s Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx… so many very different districts that are also worth the detour.
In this article I’m taking you on a ride to Brooklyn.
I hadn’t set foot there on my first trip to New York and what a shame, but sometimes, timing is too tight and you leave the less touristy neighborhoods too easily, at least at the time.
For this second visit we chose to spend 2 full days in Brooklyn and one thing is sure, the atmosphere is much more relaxed there than in Manhattan.
Day 1 / Bushwick – Dumbo – Williamsburg
For this first day no need alarm clock, we arrived the day before in the evening and the jet lag unsurprisingly woke us up at dawn.
It’s 4 a.m., Brooklyn is waking up, we take the time to get ready but the excitement is at its peak, 7 a.m., here we are in the street!
Bushwick – The Street Art district
For this first morning, we chose to start with a walk in Bushwick, a district known since 2011 for its Street Art with the open-air gallery of Bushwick Collective.
But first… we had to get there! Bushwick is not well served from where we are coming, we chose to take the bus, a little hiccup at start, the stop in is in the middle of an industrial zone, moreover almost deserted…
No need to say that we wonder where we felt, but with a little perseverance here we are in front of the gallery.
To go to Bushwick from Manhattan, take the L line to Jefferson Street, you arrive directly at the frescoes of the Bushwick Collective, not like us, even if it is this kind of memories that make great travel anecdotes.
The streets follow one another and frescoes and graffiti are spread from the walls to the sidewalks, on the garbage cans and even on the buildings doors. The good point of getting up at dawn is to enjoy the show alone!
Many artists have taken up residence in Bushwick for 10 years, prices are more affordable there than elsewhere and it is thanks to Street Art that Bushwick, a once cutthroat district of New York, is on the way to becoming as rated as Williamsburg.
Discover below a suggested itinerary proposed by Brooklyn Unplugged Tours
The morning is quiet so we take the opportunity to explore, it is one of the largest Hispanic neighborhoods in Brooklyn (residents from Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, etc.) and we notice it well at the stalls, the flags on the houses, to the music that escapes from the windows…
Here for sure, nothing to compare to the excitement of Manhattan, it’s a living district, you feel in the United States, but you can feel the sweetness of life there, people take their four-legged friends for walks, they jog, chat on the terrace of a cafe, a warm atmosphere guaranteed!
Dumbo – On the other side of the shore
After trying the bus experience again (where the air conditioning is -12°), we arrived in the heart of Brooklyn Heights, the business district. It almost feels like Manhattan and for good reason, it is on the other side of the shore.
Very different atmosphere from Bushwick, here we are in the middle of buildings and businessmen and women are hurrying.
Washington Street – View on the Manhattan bridge
Very quickly, we head to the the Dumbo district , Washington Street, to discover the famous view on the Manhattan Bridge between its red buildings.
The street is very touristy, be patient if you want a shot without an Instagram pose and for good reason, the view is magical, going down you can even admire the Empire state building in the arch of the bridge.
See location here
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Below Washington Street, you will arrive on the Brooklyn Bridge park which runs along the shore between the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge.
The walk is very pleasant, shaded, calm, you can chill to observe Manhattan, on benches, rocks, lawn, there isn’t a lack of options. Continuing your walk in the park you pass under the magnificent Brooklyn Bridge, get your camera ready, it is beautiful from all angles.
At the end of the park you come across several well-known fast food places that can make you happy if you’re hungry : Luke’s Lobster and Shake Shack.
- The historic Smokestack Building is home to Luke’s Lobster, voted New York’s best lobster roll.
- Shake Shack, for sure it’s where we find the best burgers in NYC. Since 2004, they keep developing in New York, Miami Beach, Saratoga Springs, Las Vegas and Dubai, etc. We have tested several times and we LIKE IT!
Brooklyn Bridge : a walk from Brooklyn to Manhattan
After a good burger at Shake Shack, we are ready for crossing the famous Brooklyn Bridge towards Manhattan.
On the Brooklyn side, access to the bridge is at the Brooklyn Bridge City Hall subway exit (line 4/5/6 J and Z).
Let’s go for a 4km walk on one of the oldest suspended bridge in the United States. As we move forward, the long metal cables gradually begin to encircle us and the view of Manhattan unfolds.
In front of us, the business district, imposing! On the right, Midtown with in the distance for the first time a view of the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and on our left, the Statue of Liberty.
The walk is very pleasant and you will be amazed, however, I advise you to avoid going there in the middle of the day, there are a lot of people and when the weather is nice, it’s really hot, i turned to red really fast!
Ideal timing? At the Golden Hour (one hour after sunrise / one hour before sunset) to take advantage of the grazing lights.
After this long epic, we return to our hotel in the Williamsburg district for a break, it is only 3 p.m. but the day started early!
After a quick nap, we are ready to discover our hotel neighborhood.
The atmosphere is very pleasant, calm, a bit like Bushwick but even more trendy! The streets are filled with small shops, restaurants and cute bars.
We decide to go for a drink in a bar, but not just any bar, Welcome to the Brooklyn Brewery, beer lovers will surely know this brand.
The bar is located in a large shed, entering in it you pass through the shop where three (giant) vats with the effigy of the brewery are proudly enthroned, on the bar side, it is spacious, many tables, barrels, sofas with a pleasant musical background creates a cosy atmosphere.
As for beers, there is for everyone, especially if you are a fan of Indian Pale Ale or American Pale Ale.
After few beers, we found on our way the Teddy’s bar & Grill with an old English pub decoration. Here, all styles of people mix, families, friends, couples, we validate the atmosphere and the menu.
After having swallowed a Mac’n’cheese, the digestive walk is not an option, we let ourselves be carried away, we walk and we enter the Bushwick Inlet Park without really knowing where we are going. At the end of the park, we discover a view of the Williamsburg Bridge with Manhattan in the background in the middle of Golden Hour, how better to end this day?
Day 2 / Coney Island
Our second day in NYC begins and the weather is already playing tricks on us. We wanted to enjoy our neighborhood to have lunch at the famous Smorgasburg market, but the rain announces the afternoon forces us to review the planning.
FYI, the Smorgasburg is the largest outdoor food market in the United States, it brings together nearly 100 local vendors offering food from around the world (American, Vietnamese, Mexican, Greek, etc.) an open-air Foodcourt . This is the good spot from April to October if you are looking for an good place for lunch on Saturday or Sunday noon.
Let’s go then directly to Coney Island initially planned for the afternoon to enjoy the dry morning. The day promises to be a bit long, from Williamsburg there is more than an hour by subway to reach Coney Island which is at the south of Brooklyn.
For those who do not know, it is on Coney Island that the open-air amusement park “Luna Park” is located, which opened in May 2010. This park is known mainly for its atypical location: it is on the edge of the beach . An original ride away from the noise and excitement of the city.
The change of scenery starts directly on the train, as you go along you discover small housing estates, small houses, the landscape becomes greener and greener, when suddenly in the distance the ocean and the beach, our faces keep smiling…
Getting off at the Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue stop takes you directly to Luna Park, a 5-minute walk away.
Just a few meters after leaving the subway, you pass a superb wall tagged with the image of Coney Island, photo stop is required.
Once in the park you can then enjoy the attractions, the small food stands and the Street Art spread over all the walls.
Entrance to the park is free, you can walk around as you wish, but access to the attractions is of course subject to payment. You can pay at the attraction or buy a day ticket.
Luna Park is about thirty attractions: rides, roller coasters an arcade and karts. The best known are the big wheel “Wonder Wheel” present since 1920 (45 meters high), and the roller coaster “Cyclone” and the famous “Cyclone Roller Coaster”.
We let ourselves tempted by the Wonder Wheel which sits proudly in the middle of the park, beware this Ferris wheel is not the most classic, it moves well, but what fun and what a beautiful view!
Opening hours :
Open between April and October.
April to May and September to October: weekends only
June to August: every day of the week from 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. or midnight; these times may change, often due to weather.
You can check the timetables directly on the official website: https://lunaparknyc.com/plan/park-hours/
Access : From Manhattan it takes an hour to travel, you have two options:
– Line D, N, F or Q, stop “Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue”,
– Line B, stop “Brighton Beach”, you can then take the opportunity to walk along the beach before arriving at Luna Park.
Prices : You pay attractions in Luna credits, 1 credit = $1. Each attraction costs a certain number of credits.
You can also purchase passes:
– Luna Card: $100, 100 credits + 40 free
– Classic ticket: from $60, unlimited access for 4 hours
– Access to 24 rides is included in certain City passes such as the “explorer pass” sold by Ceetiz at €69 https://www.ceetiz.fr/new-york/pass-attractions-new-york?c=1×0
After a few emotions, we leave Luna Park and enjoy the large wooden promenade along the beach, in NYC it’s still magical.
Weather starts to turn, clouds are coming, we decide to look for a place to eat (and shelter in case of a rain). There is no shortage of places to eat in Coney Island, inside, outside of the park or along the beach, you don’t know what to choose. We ended up opting for Paul’s Daughter on the seafront to eat there seemed rather attractive.
Seemed, because the idea was questionable a few minutes later when the rain finally flooded our meal just served! No other solution than to take refuge along the bar, like all the people around. We laugh about it quickly, that’s also the trip, the unexpected and the encounters, this little shower makes us to sympathize with the managers of the restaurant and finally we had a very good time.
The storm passed it’s time for us to take the subway back to Manhattan, our stay in Brooklyn will end here, for this time.
Feel free to leave your comments and your own tips in the comments!
To learn more about my trip to NYC, discover other articles here: