5 Brooklynites' Favorite Places
City Tour, 2-20 Miles
Everyone needs a Newspaper Fairy
I love reading the newspaper in its original format, so, it was fortuitous that I met a new friend, Bob, this past year who has become my newspaper fairy. He sends me periodic manilla envelopes with his wife's art, newspaper clippings from the past month and craft beer-themed printed material from southern California for my husband.
A few month's back, Bob sent the Wall Street Journal article below, in which 5 resident celebrities offer 4 of their favorite places in my favorite borough, Brooklyn. After doing some quick google mapping of their recommendations, I realized it would make a great bike route of some of the best hoods. And, because 2 of the locals were James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem and his wife, Christina, and I'm a music nerd, I had to turn this article into one of Bikabout's Best Bike Rides - Megan Ramey, Chief Traveler and founder.
This route is an adaptation of An Insider’s Guide to Brooklyn, Old-School and Newfangled, originally published by the Wall street Journal in May 2017:
"No longer merely hip, the once-insular borough now draws discerning tourists, including Manhattanites. Four savvy locals share their favorite places to dine, shop and stroll
These days, Brooklyn isn’t just the “It” borough, it’s hegemonic. Envious restaurateurs in other cities around the world rip off its much-loved, much-mocked food scene. Its cultural institutions like BAM have international reach. The creative class, priced out of Manhattan, has converted factories, repurposed office space and transformed forsaken neighborhoods. These bright young things now work, eat, play, pursue the principles of hygge and sleep in the borough..."
If you ride the route in entirety, it will be about 20 miles, which seems like a lot, but if you have the free time, wandering by bike makes a great daycation. Regardless, feel free to make this a choose-your-own-adventure with plenty of smaller route options.
+ Map & Logistics
- Citi Bike- various locations (map) - $9.95+ daily for sturdy city bike with generator lights and a front rack for your bag
- Brooklyn Bike Peddler in Williamsburg - $35 daily ($8/hour) for Brooklyn Cruiser that includes helmet, but not a lock
- Brooklyn Bridge Bike Rent at base of bridge on Manhattan side - $48+ daily ($10.50/hour) for adult, kids', tandem, road, mountain and child trailer.
- Landmark Bicycles in Williamsburg - call (347) 799-2116) for availability and pricing
WHAT TO BRING? Bag for shopping, money for food and drink and a camera for insane views on the Brooklyn / Williamsburg bridges
To open this is Google Maps on your phone:
- Click the star ★ on the map above
- Launch Google Maps on your phone
- Menu to "Your Places"
- Click "Best Bike Ride of New York: 5 Brooklynites Favorite Places"
"It has a tightly curated mix of housewares and a rotating roster of artists and affordable art. Every time I go, there's a piece I want to buy, under $1,000," Jennifer Mankins.
B. RED HOOK
"Brooklyn is still an urban work in progress, with a sense of creative activity. Like Gowanus, Red Hook is a strange, gritty, industrial place. The first time you go there, you see New York in a way you haven't before," Kurt Andersen.
C. DENNET PLACE
"It's a hidden world in Carroll Gardens, nicknamed Cat's Alley. The houses are all tiny with basement doors that are half-size. It's like walking into another era," Kurt Andersen.
"The new director, Anne Pasternak, has a great sense of what a quasi-encyclopedic art museum should be in the 2010s. It's not an outer-borough poor man's Met but a museum with its own confident identity," Kurt Andersen.
"It's a place to hear new, contemporary works of music. It's reminiscent of the old Kitchen [a nonprofit performing arts space founded in 1971], with forward-thinking events. And they have programs for kids," James Murphy and Christina Topsøe.
F. MSGR. MCGOLRICK PARK | Govnt.Hill Rd
"Prospect Park is the heart and soul of Brooklyn. But this park in Greenpoint is so sweet, with row houses on Monitor Street. It feels cut out of another time" Jennifer Mankins.
G. BROOKLYN BRIDGE
"If I feel like taking a walk, I go from my home [in Brooklyn] to my office [in downtown Manhattan] across the Brooklyn Bridge. You get amazing postcard views," Maria Cornejo.
+ Eats / Drinks / Shops / Hotel
"Built of 54% reclaimed materials, this new parent- and pet-friendly property in Brooklyn Heights commands prize views of the Manhattan skyline," Christian L. Wright, WSJ.com
"[Atlantic Avenue] has great antique furniture and contemporary home stores. My favorites are Holler & Squall for good antiques and Primary Essentials for gifts" Maria Cornejo.
"Joel Tompkins and Toby Cecchini restored an old longshoreman's bar and kept a lot of the original details. It has the best vibe. I get a Long Island gimlet, a classic gin gimlet with a little ginger," Jennifer Mankins.
"The [Italian] food is so good. They have a great, private party room and they also have a garden. I love a garden," Maria Cornejo.
"It's Vietnamese food, and their take on it is so fresh and light. I order the shredded duck salad and a pho soup" Maria Cornejo.
"There's nothing strenuously hip about this neighborhood joint. When we visit friends, we bring coffee from here. It's rich, dark, classic and perfect," Kurt Andersen.
"This classic greasy spoon, established in 1936 in Prospect Heights, serves half-a-dozen kinds of pancakes. Cash only," Christian L. Wright.
"Ground zero for natural wines, it's where Justin Chearno, our wine director, got us all into wines in the 2000s. [Before then] we were people who drank bourbon," James Murphy and Christina Topsøe.
"The company's original New York cafe doubles as a training lab, roasting facility and occasional tasting room," Christian L. Wright.
"A secret vintage store for women only, it's more like an apartment with a nice backyard. I buy a lot of my things here," Christina Topsøe.
Owned by Jennifer Mankins who curated part of this best bike ride.
"This new Sichuan restaurant is large, and loud as hell, but it's light and airy. Some of our favorite dishes are the wonton in chili oil and the tofu and preserved egg," James Murphy and Christina Topsøe.
"In an old candy store, this Scottish pub opens early for fans of European football, projected on flatscreens, and offers a revolving roster of events, like Scottish folk music on Mondays," Christian L. Wright.
Owned by Christina Christina Topsøe and LCD Soundsystem frontman, James Murphy, the wife-husband duo who curated part of this best bike ride.