The Big Apple, The City that Never Sleeps, [let’s hear it for] New York. I’ve been to New York twice now; the first time I posted some nice pictures I took, but this time I decided to do some real life proper travel blogging. In the interest of not making this piece a slightly inferior version of every other blogger’s guide to New York, I want to talk about Brooklyn. Brooklyn is the most populous borough of New York City, separated from Manhattan by some water and a subway ride, and is home to Gossip Girl’s Humphrey family because they aren’t as rich as the Upper East Siders. It is also where I have chosen to stay on both my visits to the city.
The majority of New York’s tourist spots and sights – from Times Square to the Seinfeld cafe and Carrie Bradshaw’s gaff – are in Manhattan, as well excellent restaurants and world class galleries, but Brooklyn has a bit more heart about it. It is, to use the most basic analogy, New York’s East London (cute cafes and bars and really unsettling levels of gentrification and all) but much less crap.
Places To Stay
– the author modelling a ‘well comfy’ bed at Marriott Brooklyn
I split my time (10 days – a long visit as far as city breaks go) between a cosy Airbnb in Bushwick and a beautiful hotel room at the Marriott Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn Heights. I found this to be the perfect way to resolve my conflict between being a) a young person living in London and therefore incurring all the financial burden which comes with that and b) an aspiring Bougie Bitch. Airbnb provided a really affordable, comfortable but not quite luxurious place to crash after visiting one or five bars, whereas the Marriott allowed me to end my holiday in a good bed with a massive TV and stunning views over the city.
– the author conducting important research, on airbnb sofa
I like Airbnb for the good value and the plethora of choice. I’ve stayed in spare rooms before, which I think is fine for a night or two, but personally prefer to rent an entire apartment if I’m going to be staying longer. Brooklyn Airbnbs are some of the best value because there are so many of them: Emma and I rented a one bedroom apartment in Bushwick, less than 10 minutes walk from subway stops and walking distance from a number of bars, for £70 per night between us once all fees were taken into account. Well cheap. If you’ve never Airbnb-ed before, you can get £15 off your first trip by signing up here!
Because I am quite the seasoned Airbnb-er these days, staying in a hotel when I travel is now even more of a treat. I mean, fresh sheets and towels every day? ROOM SERVICE? The Marriott Brooklyn Bridge varies in cost depending on when you book and your room type, but on average is reasonable when compared to other centrally located hotels in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Brooklyn Heights is a more pleasantly suburban feeling area of the borough, but is nonetheless home to a few cool bars (try Floyd on Atlantic, 10 minutes walk from the Marriott) as well as restaurants and a Sephora (important). Due to its location, the Marriott boasts near panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline, like this one from our room pictured above. Very good.
Things To Do
Much of my holiday planning, regardless of location, revolves around eating. *As a vegan* New York is the greatest place on this godforsaken earth, and Brooklyn alone is home to such legendary vegan trash spots as Champs Diner, Vinnie’s and Screamer’s pizzerias, Toad Style, and Dun-Well Donuts (pictured).
For when (or rather if) you finish eating, Brooklyn has countless bars and music venues: use Songkick or Oh My Rockness to find out about gigs on during your stay, try Three Diamond Door, Alphaville, Bossa Nova, Baby’s All Right or The Johnson’s for a drink or a dance, and please for the love of all things British go to Banter Bar and tell me what it’s like.
– a view from the East River Ferry
– a #view from Brooklyn Heights Promenade
– a #view from Williamsburg
Although most of New York’s sightseeing ops are located in Manhattan, you can’t see Manhattan from Manhattan, so head to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade (less than 15 minutes walk from the Marriott), the edge of Williamsburg, walk across Brooklyn Bridge or take the East River Ferry for #views.
– the author engaging in ‘art banter’ at the Brooklyn Museum
Similarly, the majority of bigger galleries and museums are housed over the bridge in Manhattan (MoMA, the Met, the Whitney, the New Museum), but Brooklyn has a number of smaller art spaces and the extremely impressive (and massive) Brooklyn Museum. Brooklyn Museum has various permanent exhibitions which are open most of the time (although sadly on my visit The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago was closed), and a rotation of temporary exhibitions. I was fortunate enough to see Marilyn Minter’s Pretty/Dirty (which runs til April 2nd 2017), and the museum is now showing an exhibition by Georgia O’Keefe until July 23rd.
– photos taken in Brooklyn Botanic Garden in summer 2015, which is not the trip I’m writing about here, but definitely still counts
As much as I enjoy a plant or two, I do feel that once you have seen one botanic garden you’ve seen them all. That said, Brooklyn’s are particularly lovely. If you are visiting in the summer take a minute to go down to the rose gardens and explore the conservatories, you’ll at least get a good Instagram out of it.
Whether you have been to New York 10 times or never, Brooklyn has loads going on, is a little more bank balance friendly, and above all gives you access to a slightly more authentic experience of the city. Visit Brooklyn!