Brooklyn! Where to go?
January 31, 2007 5:23 PM   Subscribe

Brooklyn, where to stay what to see that's not obvious?

Going to visit cousin John whose over from Ireland for 2 weeks and staying in Brooklyn, near the corner of Washington & Lafayette Aves (NE of Prospect Park).

First, I need a place to stay and Brooklyn seems to have a shortage of Hotels! WTF, everyone wants to stay in Manhattan? ;)

About the best, closest place I can find is the Brooklyn Marriott at about $230 a night with taxes ($199 + $30), which for 2 nights is a wee bit steep. Do you know anywhere else that's a bit cheaper and that you'd recommend? I found a bunch of places with decent reviews on some other sites, but then some Googling turned up some interesting Police reports about hourly customers for a few places .... even somewhere the other

Secondly, what to see and do, eat & drink, avoid & run, that tourists wouldn't normally see of Brooklyn?

Before the cousin said he was going to Brooklyn I had the, incorrect, impression that Brooklyn was a bit unsafe. But, after a wee bit of research I've released that it's a vast city within NYC that has it's own character & charm that's unlike Manhattan. So, you the Brooklynite reading this, where should we (me the Paddy in Boston, and the cousin from the wilds of Ireland and his German gf) go to see the joys and experiences of Brooklyn? Always looking for suggestions for good places to eat & drink too!
posted by zaphod to Travel & Transportation around Brooklyn, NY (21 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
There's a Holiday Inn Express that recently opened in Park Slope (sort of shading toward Gowanus). I have no firsthand experience of it, but the location is convenient to Park Slope, Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens, and the subway.
posted by staggernation at 5:42 PM on January 31, 2007

try to find someone on craigslist who is leaving town for two weeks and see if you can stay in their apartment. you should be able to get a decent deal.
posted by krautland at 6:15 PM on January 31, 2007

Response by poster: I forgot to say I'll probably be heading to NYC this Friday if I can get outta work early!
posted by zaphod at 6:43 PM on January 31, 2007

Definitely try to sublet an apartment in the area from someone on Craigslist; it'll be way cheaper than $230/night and probably nicer, too. You'd be looking for Fort Greene or Clinton Hill (closest to where your cousin is), but Park Slope might work as well (a tiny bit farther but nice neighborhood). There aren't really any hotels right around here (except a couple here and there where you pay by the hour). In spite of that, the neighborhood is very safe, so nothing to worry about on that front (insert all the usual cautions about big-city life), but remember that Brooklyn is very very big so you get a little bit of everything. Fort Greene/Clinton Hill has a fair number of nice bars and restaurants, but just because you're staying in Brooklyn doesn't mean you should restrict yourself to this borough. When are you coming? If it coincides with when Pratt students are on spring break, it'll be easy to sublet a place.
posted by agent99 at 6:57 PM on January 31, 2007

Response by poster: I hope to be there early evening Friday 2nd Feb, and back in Boston on Sunday. So, methinks getting an apartment w/ such short notice could be tough. The cousin is renting a flat he got offa Craigslist, but it's not really big enough for the 3 of us, nor do I feel like sleeping on the floor, I must be getting soft as I get old or maybe less drunk? ;)

Agent99: I've been to Manhattan enough times that I don't have to go to Manhattan, so hanging out in Brooklyn could be cool and relaxing.
posted by zaphod at 8:00 PM on January 31, 2007

Walk a few blocks up Washtington Avenue and go to Tom's Diner. It's a great place--get an egg cream.
posted by mattbucher at 8:08 PM on January 31, 2007

Response by poster: Hmmm, Tom's sounds good for breakfast, and maybe lunch & dinner too!

Is Happy Hour at the Brooklyn Brewery/ on Friday evening's worth going to? I tried some of their beers at a beer festival here in Boston and they have some interesting brews.
posted by zaphod at 8:13 PM on January 31, 2007

Brooklyn Brewery is a little far for you guys, and not that cool. Go to Soda Bar or Freddy's. Those are in Prospect Heights, but there are some fun places in Ft. Greene as well (walk around Lafayette and Fulton and you'll find them). It's nice to be able to walk to the places you're going out to if you're going to feel "Brooklyn", and Prospect Heights and Ft. Greene are the most lively places near where your friend is staying.

Other must-not-miss attractions:
Brooklyn Botanic Gardens (within walking distance)
Coney Island (you'll have to take the train)
The Promenade (fabulous views of lower manhattan, in Brooklyn Heights, you'll have to take a train or bus, or walk a while)

Fun people-watching:
Seventh Avenue in Park Slope
Walking around the inside loop of Prospect Park

I hope you have a wonderful time in Brooklyn.
posted by tk at 8:31 PM on January 31, 2007

Go to Lodge for the burgers and onion rings!

On Saturday night you could check out a club in the Polish neighborhood of Greenpoint called Studio B - a hip-hop/rock mashup DJ by the name of Z-Trip is playing. Check the flyer here.

There is also a techno party Saturday at trendy Galapagos Art Space in Williamsburg - flyer front and back.
posted by infinityjinx at 9:02 PM on January 31, 2007

Go to the Chinatown in Sunset Park. Great Dim Sum, and a different vibe than Manhattan-- much more family and less touristy-selling knockoffs. If you can, go to one of the Russian Baths in Brooklyn, they're fabulous. Go to Red Hook and watch a neighborhood be freakishly transformed before your very eyes...
posted by miss tea at 4:44 AM on February 1, 2007

Maybe a bed and breakfast? For example, this B&B list has some cheaper rates.
posted by jjj606 at 4:46 AM on February 1, 2007

This is a second for Freddy's in Prospect Heights. The video art there is amazing. Second, try out the New York Transit Museum in downtown Brooklyn. For five dollars it is the best museum deal in New York City.
posted by josher71 at 6:30 AM on February 1, 2007

I'll second the Transit Museum: superfun. And while tk is right that the Brooklyn Brewery is eh, I would suggest going to Williamsburg: it is unlike South Brooklyn (which isn't that far south, but that's what it's called), and interesting in its own right. Brunch at Enid's (Nassau stop on the G--there is a G on Lafayette & Washington) is well worth it, though I would suggest getting there before noon or after one to avoid the crush. Right near there is an old WPA pool that you can break into, though it has been cleaned up and used for concerts, so it is a little less awesome than it used to be: just walk around the fence till you see a hole.

Coney Island won't be very exciting this time of year--everything will be closed except the Most Depressing Aquarium Known to Humanity.
posted by dame at 6:42 AM on February 1, 2007

We just went in December and stayed in a B&B. I would not recommend the actual B&B, it was nice but the owner was weirdly passive-aggressive. I would STRONGLY recommend the B&B experience in Brooklyn as a whole. It's WAY cheaper and more like how people actually live there. Check out tripadvisor and make your choice. We actually got some great advice about where to go/what to see from this post.
posted by pomegranate at 6:54 AM on February 1, 2007

since you're in town this saturday, you might try checking out first saturday at the brooklyn museum
posted by ames at 7:24 AM on February 1, 2007

Best answer: Instead of Brooklyn Brewery, head out to the Six Points Brewery in Red Hook. You can check out Red Hook--wandering around there is one of my favorite What Should We Do Today solutions--and the tour is pretty cool. The Good Fork is a nice Red Hook restaurant, there's lots of good bars around there, and Baked is a nice bakery (free wifi!) If it's a weekend, you can check out all the little food stands at the Red Hook ballfields, some of which are amazing. Wandering around certain parts of that area feels like you've fallen off the end of the earth. I live in Fort Greene (near where you'll be staying, maybe, it sounds like) and though it's a long-ish walk, you can definitely walk there.

Smith Street in Cobble Hill has lots of good restaurants and bars, and Rocketship Comics is, in my opinion, the best in the city. If you are in Fort Greene, check out the park if you like parks. Good food to be had at Smoke Joint (BBQ) and Bonita (Mexican.) Park Slope is cool though more sort of shopping-y and cozy. Brighton Beach is really neat in the winter--I went out there after a snow a few years ago and it was so desolate and beautiful, plus you can explore Russian Brooklyn. Williamsburg/Greenpoint is easy to get to on the G train and choked with good bars, good restaurants, and (possibly too) cute shops.

To me, and I'm not a native Brooklynite or anything but I've lived there a few years anyway, the best way to see Brooklyn is to pick a spot, wander around until your feet get tired, stumble into a likely-looking bar/restaurant, and eat/drink/be merry. Sorry this is so long. If you've got questions or anything, though, feel free to email (
posted by audrey the bug at 10:39 AM on February 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

Eat at Alma on the roof with a great view of lower Manhattan!

There might be snow this weekend, and I don't know if the Botanical Gardens are open right now, but it might look really cool.

The Brooklyn Museum usually has something interesting to look at

And maybe there's something neat playing at BAM

The breweries are a great idea.

This pie rocks.
posted by zackola at 5:50 PM on February 1, 2007

Response by poster: Great, great tips. I hope I get the chance to even see a fraction of all your suggestions.

But, hmmm, the NYC subway map hurts my eyes! Which subway line would I catch to Downtown Brooklyn?

From either the Port Authority (yuk) or the Hilton Hotel near W 54th & 6th? This will be around 8pm, or would a cab be quicker (want to ditch my swag at the Marriott and head out). I think it's downtown Brooklyn, it's a few blocks from the Brooklyn bridge, I don't mind walking over the bridge at night either! I think it looks like the A, C, 2 or 3 goes there?? Duh, I hate being a subway newbie!
posted by zaphod at 10:37 PM on February 1, 2007

Here's a better NYC subway map:
posted by turaho at 10:06 AM on February 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Good map, thanks turaho.
posted by zaphod at 11:57 AM on February 2, 2007

Response by poster: Just back, had a good weekend. Boy was it cold walking the streets of Booklyn!
posted by zaphod at 2:39 PM on February 4, 2007

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