Friday, April 21, 2017

5+ Artsy & Cool Things To Do in Brooklyn, New York

By Jacquelin Carnegie
Brooklyn Bridge (photo: DUMBO BID)

Since Brooklyn has become the "hip" NYC borough, gentrification has set in with trendy boutiques and pricey restaurants now the norm. But, somehow, that doesn't take away from Brooklyn's charm. The old neighborhoods are still worth exploring and the new additions just add to the cool factor.

1) Go on a House Tour
A great way to explore Brooklyn's neighborhoods is on an annual, self-guided house tour. You get a peek into beautifully-decorated, private, brownstone homes, and the chance to discover lovely local churches and interesting businesses. The nominal fee is usually used to benefit the neighborhood preservation society and/or a good, local cause:
(photo: Fort Green Association)


Fort Greene (May 2018) historicfortgreene.org
Park Slope (May) parkslopeciviccouncil.org
Prospect-Lefferts Gardens (May) www.leffertsmanor.org
Boerum Hill (June) boerumhillassociation.org
Victorian Flatbush (June) www.fdconline.org
Crown Heights North (Oct) www.crownheightsnorth.org
Bedford-Stuyvesant (Oct) brownstonersofbedstuy.org

2) Visit Artists Open Studios & Galleries
Another great way to explore different Brooklyn neighborhoods is on regularly scheduled Art Walks, when local galleries stay open late, and during annual Open Studio visits:
Drift, Leonard Ursachi, DUMBO
DUMBO Gallery Walk - 1st Thursday, 6-8pm (www.dumbonyc.org) - Whether you're already an art lover or just want to see what's what, 1st Thursday gives you the chance to visit several galleries in one evening while strolling around Brooklyn's way-cool DUMBO section. The galleries often have special exhibitions and receptions; sometimes there's live music or an artist talk. Local bars offer drink specials throughout the night.
Williamsburg - Every 2nd Friday (http://bit.ly/2mqUOVC) - Each month, every 2nd Friday, galleries in Williamsburg stay open late, usually until 9pm or 10pm. Check out the exhibitions and enjoy gallery parties, special events, and performances. Also, dine at cool, local restaurants.
Bushwick Open Studios (Sept) artsinbushwick.org
Greenpoint Open Studios greenpointopenstudios.com
Gowanus Open Studios (Oct) artsgowanus.org

3) Raise a Glass at Breweries, Wineries & Distilleries 

(photo: Urban Adventures)
You'll be amazed at how many artisanal beer, wine, and spirits producers have set up shop in Brooklyn. These craft breweries and distilleries are producing terrific libations. Check out Threes Brewing, Van Brunt Stillhouse, and Rooftop Reds. Or, go on a "Tastings Tour" to sample the goods and learn how the local producers work their magic. Also, enjoy a tasty meal in a trendy local eatery. 
(Urban Adventures: www.newyorkcityurbanadventures.com

4) Chow Down in Brooklyn's Chinatown
While Chinatown--in Manhattan and Flushing, Queens--is well known, you may be surprised to discover that Brooklyn also has a Chinatown in Sunset Park. Chef Chris Cheung, who's worked at such hot restaurants as Vong, Nobu & Ruby Foo’s, recommends: East Harbor (714 65th St, Brooklyn; Tel: 718-765-0098) and Pacificana (813 55th St, Brooklyn; pacificanabrooklyn.com) for dim sum; 8th Avenue Seafood Restaurant (4418 8th Ave, Brooklyn; Tel: 718-633-6366) for fung sah guy (fried spring chicken in garlic sauce).
Chef Cheung (photo: J Carnegie)
For a special treat, head to Chef Cheung's own restaurant in Prospect Park: East Wind Snack Shop (471 16th St, Brooklyn; www.eastwindsnackshop.com) - It's more like a tasty-food boutique than a Chinese restaurant with everything on the menu--bao, dumplings, ribs, spring rolls, etc.--handmade from scratch every day and cooked to order, often by Chef Cheung himself!

5) Celebrate Brooklyn's Cultural Diversity
This melting pot of cultures provides many ways to experience the music, dance, art, and cuisine of different countries without leaving the borough! Partake in activities where you can meet international people and encounter all this marvelous cultural diversity:
Haiti Cultural Exchange (haiticulturalx.org) - Get your Haitian groove on at one of HCX's innovative programs of performances, art exhibits, films, and public forums promoting cross-cultural connections and celebrating Haitian heritage.
Cumbe: Center for African & Diaspora Dance (cumbedance.com) - Experience the joys and rhythms of West African, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Haitian, and Afro-Brazilian dance and music at Cumbe's classes and cultural programs for adults and kids.
(photo: Cumbe)

West Indian-American Day Parade (Labor Day) wiadcacarnival.org - Brooklyn's largest parade with the atmosphere of Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago. There's music, food, and dance. The parade begins at the corner of Rochester & Eastern Parkway and ends near Grand Army Plaza.
Atlantic Antic (Sept) atlanticave.org - This huge street festival spans four neighborhoods (Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill & Downtown Brooklyn) from Hicks Street to Fourth Avenue along Atlantic Avenue. It's a celebration of all the diverse cultures that coexist in Brooklyn with food, art, live music, shopping, and fun festivities!

Extra! Extra!: Hilton Brooklyn New York (http://bit.ly/2mdnqFM) - The hotel, located in Boerum Hill, offers a Brooklyn Knowledge Package that includes: two tickets to the Brooklyn Museum & the Brooklyn Historical Society.

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