Everyone associates New York mainly with Manhattan (here’s post about it!), forgetting that as many as 5 large districts make up the city! You would have to have a lot of time to see them all, so we encourage you to see at least Brooklyn. One or two days in this part of New York will be brilliant, and when you get a taste of the atmosphere, so different from Manhattan, we guarantee that you will want more! What to see in Brooklyn? Below we present some interesting spots!
Brooklyn Bridge – What to see in Brooklyn?
When answering the question of what to see in Brooklyn, the first thought that comes to mind is, of course, the Brooklyn Bridge from which it is best to start exploring Brooklyn. We recommend starting your walk from the Manhattan side as it is the bridge’s less popular and crowded side. It is best to go early in the morning – around sunrise, and latest at 7 am, it is of course an option for those who want to enjoy this beautiful place and views without the crowds of tourists.
The bridge was built in the years 1869-1883 and at that time it was quite an innovation. To demonstrate its durability and convince the residents to use the bridge, a parade was organized during which 21 elephants marched across the bridge. The designer of the bridge, Mr John Augustus Roebling, unfortunately, did not make it until opening, he died of a foot infection almost at the very beginning of construction. The construction was taken over by his son Washington, whose health deteriorated dramatically during the process.
The Brooklyn Bridge was erected on caissons, sunken chests in which workers worked. This was possible thanks to the compressed air pumped inside, which prevented water from getting inside the box. Working in compressed air caused caisson disease, or decompression sickness, which was contracted by many workers, including chief construction engineer Washington Roebling. This disease causes disability and for this reason, the construction was completed by … his wife Emily!
The construction site was not without a lot of controversy, death or sickness of employees is just one of them. During construction, it turned out that the supplier of steel cables was cheating on their quality, unfortunately, it was too late to replace the cables. Fortunately, the bridge project was oversized and after recalculation, it was decided that everything should go according to plan. The cables were reinforced with an additional 150 wires, and the construction holds up to this day!
Brooklyn Bridge Park – What to see in Brooklyn?
Brooklyn Bridge Park is one of the best places in Brooklyn to view the city skyline. A great place both at the sunset and after dark! The city lights reflecting in the water are a magical sight! The park stretches on the waterfront through 6 marinas, one of which has sports fields and a sports centre. A lot of people come to go jogging there or just relax while admiring the view because you cannot feel the hustle and bustle of the city there. From the park you will see a building called Wedding Cake because of its shape – massive at the base, tapering at the top, resembling a cake. Other buildings worth paying attention to are the American International Building and the Bank of New York Building.
DUMBO – What to see in Brooklyn?
The mysterious name DUMBO is one of the popular New York abbreviations derived from the words Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass. An industrial district in the past, now one of the most fashionable and expensive not only in Brooklyn but in the whole of New York. The industrial atmosphere can be felt when wandering between the red brick buildings, the view of the Manhattan Bridge between the streets emphasizes this impression. We have the impression that DUMBO is a district liked by both tourists and the city’s residents.
On Washington Street, you will find the famous view of the Manhattan Bridge, which fits perfectly between the red tenement houses. It is worth walking down this street to the end, to the waterfront where you can find a small park. Over there you will find Pebble Beach, a small pebble beach with a great view of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. This place has played in many films and it is no wonder that the sunset spectacle is watched by dozens of people every day there! We went ourselves to watch the sunset and we highly recommend this place, you can sit comfortably on the steps surrounding the beach.
Continuing towards the Brooklyn Bridge you will come across Jane’s Carousel, a restored historic carousel from 1922. Unfortunately, it is encased with glass for protection and does not make such an impression.
Brooklyn Heights – What to see in Brooklyn?
Brooklyn Heights is a historic Brooklyn neighbourhood located only a short distance from the Brooklyn Bridge. If you’re not going to spend much time in Brooklyn, it’s really worth allocating an hour in Brooklyn Heights. Brooklyn Heights is a quiet, affluent neighbourhood full of greenery and old red brick townhouses. Joralemon Street is one of the most beautiful streets and from there it’s only a stone’s throw to Grace Court Alley, which is one of the oldest streets in New York. On Grace Court Alley you will see old Dutch stables that have been turned into (cheap) apartments, a great initiative to keep the street’s original look.
Fort Greene – What to see in Brooklyn?
Fort Greene is a small district with a park of the same name. At the highest point of Fort Greene Park, you will see Manhattan’s skyscrapers shyly piercing through the trees. There are many brownstone-style tenement houses around the park. It’s best to start your walk to the Fort Greene area at Flatbush Ave Ext, where you’ll find the original location of Junior’s superb bakery, famous for its best New York cheesecake, and we can confirm it’s delicious!
Park Slope – What to see in Brooklyn?
Walking from the Atlantic terminal to the affluent Park Slope neighbourhood, we had to walk through the less glamorous and “polished” Brooklyn. We liked this imperfect climate, low-rise buildings and old delicatessen where the vendors often barely speak English. We went for sandwiches and stocked up on beer and snacks for a later. The sandwiches were around $ 8, huge and delicious! No matter which part of Brooklyn you are in, if you have the opportunity to sink into less known and recommended areas, it is worth doing.
Park Slope, as we have already mentioned, is one of the more prosperous parts of Brooklyn. The architecture of many Manhattan districts is very similar to each other, magnificent brownstones, like in Park Slope, can also be seen on the Upper West Side or Harlem. Slope Park is very green and there are definitely not as many tourists there as in Manhattan. In search of the most beautiful tenement houses, it is worth going to President Street, Montgomery Place and Garfield Place. On 2nd Street, at number 640, you will find a tenement house in which Barrack Obama (Barrack Obama Former Townhouse) lived in the 1980s, at that time the tenement house was divided into smaller apartments.
Prospect Park – What to see in Brooklyn?
Prospect Park can be called Brooklyn’s Central Park, after Marine Park, it is the second largest park in Brooklyn. There is a great atmosphere there, New Yorkers come to run, ride a bike, go for a picnic with children or take their dogs out. In Prospect Park, for example, there is a special dog beach where dogs can cool off on a hot day. We entered the park from the Grand Army Plaza next to which there is an Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch. On Saturday, there was a market there with lots of delicious products. Stocked with beers and snacks from the delicatessen that we visited on our way to Slope Park, we decided to rest a bit on the grass. Within Prospect Park is the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which is best visited in spring.
Greenwood Cemetery – What to see in Brooklyn?
A real hidden gem of Brooklyn, a place that blew our minds, and when we spoke to the locals we found that not many of them had visited or even heard of it! Greenwood Cemetery is a huge cemetery with countless beautiful tombstones and mausoleums, there are also simple and modest tombstones, and we were delighted with the ubiquitous grass that replaces the paved paths between the tombstones.
It is best to start visiting the cemetery from the Gothic Archway, which is located in the northwest part of the park (entrance from 25th street). From there, we recommend going to Battle Hill, the hill that is Brooklyn’s highest point. The view from there to Lower Manhattan is spectacular. We were lucky to watch the storm raging over Manhattan from the hill, we will never forget this moment, and the hill and the views are among the best we have seen in New York!
The cemetery has several small artificial reservoirs, a chapel, and a catacomb. The most surprising inhabitants of the cemetery are green … Monk Parrots. Monk, because that’s the name of this species came to New York from Argentina in the 1960s, the parrots settled in the Greenwood Cemetery.
Borough Park – What to see in Brooklyn?
We went straight to Borough Park from Greenwood Cemetery, a short subway ride, but still had to walk a lot. So we accidentally landed in one of the poorer parts of Brooklyn – Sunset Park. The fact that the district is not wealthy and safe was evidenced by bars on the windows of practically every building and dealers on the streets. However, we managed to get through without surprises and get to Borough Park where we were going.
Borough Park is a district of Orthodox Jews less known than Williamsburg. Our visit fell on a Saturday afternoon, so on a Sabbath. The streets were unnaturally deserted, with festively dressed Jews going to the festivities here and there. If you associate the streets under the tracks above, a bit tarnished with time, and full of yellow school buses, this is exactly the atmosphere you will find on New Utrecht Ave.
Williamsburg – What to see in Brooklyn?
Just south of the Williamsburg Bridge, which is well worth a visit in itself, is a small neighbourhood where you are guaranteed to travel back in time. South Williamsburg is a district of Hasidim or Orthodox Jews. On Friday at early noon, women rushed home with their groceries and men dressed in traditional clothes were walking along the streets accompanied by children, mainly boys with characteristic side curls. Other kids were playing in the playgrounds under the watchful eyes of their mothers. Costumes, old-school signs and shop windows, and small restaurants as if taken out from several dozen years ago. South Williamsburg is just a different world that runs alongside this hectic, modern New York City.
Walking north of the Williamsburg Bridge we entered the trendy, hipster part of Williamsburg, an artistically beloved neighbourhood that, like many places in New York, has gentrified and has become a sought-after mid-priced neighbourhood. North Williamsburg is full of nonchalantly dressed young people, vintage shops with high prices, vintage markets, hipster cafes and eateries. In Williamsburg there is Domino Park, stretching between the waterfront and the old sugar refinery. Domino Park is part of a major refinery site redevelopment into a residential and commercial complex. The park has a great view of Manhattan, there are public toilets, a tacos restaurant and lots of greenery. A brilliant place to spend an afternoon on a long walk in Williamsburg.
From the north end of Williamsburg, you can step into Berry Park, a rooftop overlooking Manhattan. The view is not spectacular, but the prices are very affordable!
Greenpoint – What to see in Brooklyn?
If you are wondering what to see in Brooklyn, the Polish district of Greenpoint is one of those places without which a trip to Brooklyn would not be “full”. Although Greenpoint has changed a lot, many Poles moved to Queens due to the prices, you can still hear our native language and see Polish signboards. And there are plenty of those in Greenpoint. There are Polish bakeries, pubs, shops, businesses and services. If you feel like eating Polish food, go to Pyza, one of the most famous Polish restaurants. An interesting, although not necessarily related to Poland is the Sunshine Laundromat speakeasy bar, which is accessed through … the laundry!
In Greenpoint, don’t miss the brilliant park on the waterfront – Transmitter Park. It is a small park with a great view of Manhattan and a wooden deck overlooking the river.