Relaxing and learning more about the outer boroughs
January 27, 2010 3:07 PM   Subscribe

Best cafes for reading / internet stuff w/ wifi in the outer boroughs of NYC, and activities that can put people in touch with unique cultural experiences (both foreign and NYC-native) in each outer borough.

I'm looking to do a four-borough tour (Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx). The idea is to take a day with some friends and spend time driving around each of the outer boroughs, checking out a sight or two, and then another hour or so reading and relaxing in a cafe before moving on to another borough.

So, I'm looking for one or two cafes in each area that are chill, relatively uncrowded and not too noisy, where four people can set up their computers or read for an hour or two in the middle of a Saturday or Sunday. I'd love places that have a good connection to the area they're in. For example, a chill cafe in Flushing, Queens that plays relaxing Korean music and that is near a Korean cultural center, church, restaurant, or Korean stores.

In addition to the cafes, I'd love suggestions for things to see or do near the cafes, or of places we should definitely drive through for a nice cultural experience that might not be obvious to someone who doesn't normally spend time in that borough.
posted by lorrer to Society & Culture (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: On my last trip home, I discovered that the Bronx is still a wi-fi desert for the most part. The best option I found was the Barnes and Noble in Co-Op City. I would LOVE to see if anyone suggests a better option.
posted by deadmessenger at 3:57 PM on January 27, 2010

I used to live near a spot called Southside Coffee just a bit below Park Slope. Great coffee, nice little area in the back with a couple of small couches, good music, free wifi.

For a quick bite to eat in the area, try Sariwa.
posted by ben242 at 4:04 PM on January 27, 2010

In Fort Greene: BAM has a cafe. Plus -- it's BAM.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:51 PM on January 27, 2010

Greenpoint in Brooklyn can offer you a pretty Polish experience. All the way up Manhattan Ave are tons of Polish restaurants, businesses, and people. Cafe Grumpy is a coffee shop with free wifi a few blocks from Manhattan Ave that's big enough for a group of people to sit on computers, but it's pretty much exclusively full of young hipster types and doesn't offer much of a cultural experience.
posted by greta simone at 6:51 PM on January 27, 2010

Best answer: The Brooklyn Museum's first Saturday events are fun.

Go on a noshwalk and tour some of the outerboroughs' best ethnic neighborhoods.
posted by brookeb at 8:38 PM on January 27, 2010

For Greenpoint:
Ashbox - Japanese tea/coffee shop with tasty onigiri and miso lunch specials.
Greenpoint Coffee House - Pretty straightforward, well prepared diner fare.
Peter Pan - does not have wifi and is most definitely packed every day of the week, but French crullers are better than internet or friends and I'm pretty sure being served donuts at a counter by waitresses in teal jumpers qualifies as a cultural experience.
posted by clockwork at 4:48 AM on January 28, 2010

Best answer: Don't know if it has a cafe, but the Queens Museum of Art is one of my favorite places in Queens. One of the rooms there has a scale model of the entire city.
posted by albrecht at 6:50 AM on January 28, 2010

Response by poster: Note: I'll be filing away the Greenpoint and Park Slope ideas for later.

For this question though, I'm looking more for non-hipster, non-mainstream USA experiences in the outer boroughs. So basically anywhere in Staten Island, anywhere past Astoria or LIC in Queens, anywhere in the Bronx, and anything *way out* in Brooklyn - like past Prospect Park, I'm talking Canarsie, maybe Brighton Beach, Bay Ridge, and especially anywhere out to around the Van Wick Expressway. We have a car, so the idea is to get out of the areas we know (i.e. anywhere someone from Manhattan would dare to venture, and anywhere college kids studying in Manhattan might live).
posted by lorrer at 7:18 AM on January 28, 2010

Best answer: For Staten Island, there's a great bakery on Victory Blvd called Alfonso's Pastry Shoppe, which has the best cannoli in the city, IMHO. If you're interested in eating more, it's also close to one of my favorite pizza places in the city, Joe and Pat's.
posted by albrecht at 7:33 AM on January 28, 2010

FYI, Greenpoint Coffee House closes for good on March 21st, so plan accordingly.
posted by greta simone at 9:10 AM on January 28, 2010

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