Fort Greene walking tour
August 6, 2010 6:58 AM   Subscribe

A day in Fort Greene, Brooklyn: where to go, what to see?

Hello all! I've been a Brooklyn resident for almost a year now, but have spent most of my time in the Greenpoint/Williamsburg/Bushwick area. I have been exploring in lots of other neighborhoods in Brooklyn, but I have somehow managed to never step foot in Fort Greene. That's all going to change tomorrow!

I'm planning on spending a good part of the day in Fort Greene tomorrow. The first stop is the flea market, but after that I have no direction. Where should I go? I like boutiques, coffee shops/cafès, bookstores, pretty streets with trees and brownstones, etc, etc. I just want some suggestions for a nice afternoon of wondering around to give a me a feel for the neighborhood.

Yes I saw this question, but there's not much info there and thought you all could add some more.

posted by greta simone to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I really love the Jamaican Grapenut ice cream at Bittersweet, 180 DeKalb.
posted by thejoshu at 7:09 AM on August 6, 2010

Response by poster: Also feel free to touch on Clinton Hill things too as I might also meander east if I'm so inclined.
posted by greta simone at 7:17 AM on August 6, 2010

I went to high school in Fort Greene in the late 90s, although I've heard it's very different now, so my suggestions come with a grain of salt. Anyhow, the park is nice, albeit somewhat empty. Dekalb Ave, with all the shops and outdoor stuff is also a blast. The walk down Joralemon St., turns into a very nice little residential neighborhood and leads down to the waterside.
posted by griphus at 7:20 AM on August 6, 2010

Check out Greenlight Book Store on Fulton.
posted by Falconetti at 7:43 AM on August 6, 2010

Anyhow, the park is nice, albeit somewhat empty.

On a nice Saturday, that small park gets much use. Sundays, however, the whole neighborhood is a whole magnitude quieter. The park is small, but there's the refurbished Prison Ship Memorial, Monument and Crypt (no access though), and a park ranger station with some historical context. I still think it's odd seeing rangers in their greens and hats walking around from time to time.

Pratt campus is really nice and in the summer very quiet.. The engine room might be open, as seen on the Blue. If not, you can peak at it through a window or see the Pratt cats.

I live in there and really strolling around the streets is fun and relaxing. Not too many specific "sights" stand out.
posted by yeti at 8:05 AM on August 6, 2010

griphus, did you go to Tech also?

I was also going to recommend the park. The naval yard might be an interesting place to check out too.
posted by cazoo at 8:55 AM on August 6, 2010

I just moved away from Fort Greene/Clinton Hill.

There are a lot of fabulous restaurants in that neck of the woods. The "fulton triangle" area and Dekalb Ave. are the hotspots for that. My favorites are General Greene (dekalb) and Ici (also dekalb), but that's mainly because they're both really close to my old apartment so I didn't feel the need to venture all the way out to Fulton Street very often. There is a good Ethiopian place on Fulton, but it's meh compared to the awesomeness of the places I already mentioned.

Havana Outpost on Fulton and S. Oxford is an awesome spot for a snack and a beer or margarita, though it's often crowded on weekend evenings. Der Schwartze Kolner is a beer garden katty-corner from there, also a fun place to grab a drink.

Seconding Greenlight, which is also right around there. Aside from that and the Flea, there's not a whole lot of shopping in Fort Greene proper. I think the Flea and the economy has killed a lot of the non-food retail potential of the area. There are, however, a few boutiques around the fulton triangle area, as well as Bespoke Bikes (which is really just a bike shop).

The park, obviously, and if it's Saturday, the greenmarket.
posted by Sara C. at 8:57 AM on August 6, 2010

griphus, did you go to Tech also?

Yep. Class of '02. You?
posted by griphus at 8:58 AM on August 6, 2010

Isn't Joralemon more downtown brooklyn or brooklyn heights? I lived in Fort Greene for years and don't recall ever seeing Joralemon street or having any neighborhoodish associations with it.
posted by Sara C. at 8:59 AM on August 6, 2010

Pequena is a snazzy little restaurant that serves excellent soft-shell tacos.
posted by twirlip at 9:45 AM on August 6, 2010

Oooh, I forgot about Pequena - though considering it's summer I'd go for Habana Outpost, which is outdoors, only open seasonally, and has a lot more space (Pequena is a very apt name for that restaurant). The wait for a table can be long at Pequena, I don't think it's air conditioned, and there are a million equally good or better restaurants in the surrounding area.

Another food suggestion, if you're ravenous after the Flea and don't want to walk to either Fulton or Dekalb - Olea, which is a lovely mediterranean restaurant on Lafayette just south of the Flea.
posted by Sara C. at 9:51 AM on August 6, 2010

And of course, by south I really mean east. durrrrr...
posted by Sara C. at 9:54 AM on August 6, 2010

Yeah, you're right, Sara. Fulton (which is what I meant by "Dekalb" in my original comment) turns into Joralemon where Ft Greene turns into downtown.
posted by griphus at 10:04 AM on August 6, 2010

I live in Fort Greene, and nth the Greenlight Bookstore. There are a lot of excellent restaurants nearby, so it depends on what food you like. If you're a devoted carnivore, check out Habana Outpost (best with friends in nice weather so you can all sit out on the patio) and Smoke Joint. Chez Lola is a lovely, New Orleans-inspired nouveau place with all-you-can-eat oysters on Thursdays. My secret favorite restaurant, more for ambiance than food, is Cafe Lafeyette, which is confusingly located on Fulton and South Portland Sts., not on Lafayette Ave. It's extremely French: cramped, intimate, amazing French onion soup, and has half-off bottles of wine with a dinner entree on Wednesdays.

Tilly's is the main coffee shop in that area, though super crowded with freelancers and families on weekends. Bittersweet is quieter but has a lot less seating. Their coffee drinks generally fare better than Tilly's, however.

The Greene Grape is a good specialty grocery store, in case you need something bougie and expensive in your cupboard like roasted fig jam.

Bars are pretty grown up around here, which I generally appreciate (though sometimes I miss the obnoxiously loud joints in Williamsburg by comparison). Olivino is right up the street from the flea market, on Fulton between Vanderbilt and Clinton. It's small but almost always has seats, and the bartender sets up a great playlist - The Smiths, Michael Jackson, Annie Lennox, Tallest Man on Earth, Beach House, Nancy Sinatra, Simon & Garfunkle - that the patrons sing along to after midnight. Stone Home is upscale and classy enough to make me feel a little too young at 27 to really make it my own haunt. Der Schwarze Kölner on Fulton is a fun, unpretentious beer hall that focuses on German wheats. A little north of Fort Greene, on the tip of Prospect Heights, is one of my absolute favorite bars called Weatherup. Outstanding cocktails served in a beautiful interior that sort of calls to mind a speakeasy without looking overly gimmicky and contrived.

Repop is a fun vintage store on Washington Ave between Park and Flushing, definitely don't miss it.

Most importantly, just wander along main streets like Dekalb, Lafeytte and Fulton. I love our neighborhood because it's one of the few places with a pretty mixed populace, though it's trending towards the gentrifiers every year. Fort Greene has been a historically middle class Black neighborhood for many decades, and lots of those families have lived in those brownstones for generations.
posted by zoomorphic at 8:22 PM on August 6, 2010

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