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Brooklyn/Downtown

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New York City : Brooklyn : Downtown
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Downtown Brooklyn is in Brooklyn. In addition to the downtown area proper, it includes Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and the Navy Yard.

Understand

  • Downtown Brooklyn, which is the central shopping and business area, anchored by Fulton St. west of Flatbush Avenue, looks similar to the downtown of almost any other major American city, with department stores, clothing and electronic shops, a Borough Hall, two universities, a major railroad station, the Brooklyn Academy of Music concert hall, many office buildings, and municipal, state and federal buildings and courthouses. Many subway and bus lines go to or through Downtown Brooklyn.
  • Brooklyn Heights is a residential neighborhood with elegant buildings and historic churches. It is an expensive neighborhood to live in, partly because of its great views of the Lower Manhattan skyline. The area's brownstone buildings and shopping district give it a quaint yet thriving feel. This is the richest neighborhood in Brooklyn, and more expensive than parts of Manhattan.
  • Cobble Hill is a quiet neighborhood of bookstores, shops, and restaurants. Old time Italian neighborhood with great pizza and Italian ices. Great restaurants and quite a number of bars along Court St. and Smith St.
  • DUMBO is an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. Once popular with artists for loft space, it has now become popular with a richer, trendier crowd. Walk along the riverfront park for a unique and unforgettable view of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges and the Manhattan skyline.
  • Fort Greene has some great restaurants and the Brooklyn Academy of Music which features an art-house cinema, theater, and concerts.

Get in

By subway

Almost every line that runs in Brooklyn runs through here. The major station here is Atlantic Avenue (sometimes called Pacific Street), the biggest station outside Manhattan and a major transfer point. The B (weekdays only), D, M (rush hours only), N, Q, R, 2, 3, 4, and 5 (weekdays only) all stop here. There's little to see around it, but if you need to change trains this is the place to do it.

Another major station is Borough Hall, served by the 2, 3, 4, 5 (weekdays only), and R. This station will put you near most of the attractions. Clark Street, served by the 2 and 3 is the station closest to the Brooklyn Bridge.

The A, C, F, and G also ply parts of this neighborhood, but transferring to or from them can be a pain (although transferring between them can be done more easily). The closest points to transfer between these and the lines stopping at Atlantic Avenue are at Fulton Street in Manhattan (which is a very difficult station to navigate), Jay Street/Metrotech (a new transfer has been built between the R and the A, C, and F), and the Franklin Avenue Shuttle in Bed-Stuy.

By bus

Many buses connect Downtown Brooklyn with other neighborhoods of Brooklyn (see a PDF map here [1], and note the separate inset for Downtown Brooklyn at the upper right corner), but the B51 bus that used to traverse the Manhattan Bridge and connect Downtown Brooklyn with Manhattan was discontinued in the recent round of transit cuts.

By bicycle or on foot

Both the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges can be crossed by bicycle and on foot. Wire mesh limits the view from the Manhattan Bridge, and you will be repeatedly rattled by crossing subways, so the Brooklyn Bridge is much more recommended for pedestrians.

See

  • Brooklyn Bridge, (Pedestrian access at Tillary and Adams, or via staircase on Prospect Street between Cadman Plaza East and West; Subway: A/C trains to High Street-Brooklyn Bridge, 2/3/4/5 trains to Borough Hall, M/R trains to Court Street-Borough Hall, or F trains to York Street), [2]. Work started in 1870 on the first bridge crossing of the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn, finally completing in 1883 - a 1,595 ft suspension bridge and, as a plaque on it says, a "structure of beauty."
  • Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont Street (at Clinton; Subway: 2/3/4/5 trains to Borough Hall, A/C/F trains to Jay Street-Borough Hall, or M/R trains to Court Street-Borough Hall), +1 718 222-4111 (fax: +1 718 222-3794), [3]. W-F Noon-5PM, Sa 10AM-5PM, Su Noon-5PM (Library open W-F 1PM-5PM, appointments recommended). A museum and library dedicated to the history of Brooklyn. $6 adults, $4 seniors/students/teachers, free for children under 12.
  • Micro Museum, 123 Smith Street (between Pacific and Dean; Subway: F/G trains to Bergen Street or A/C trains to Hoyt-Schermerhorn Streets), +1 718 797-3116, [4]. Su-F 9AM-9PM, Sa Noon-7PM.
  • Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), 80 Hanson Place (at Portland; Subway: C train to Lafayette Avenue, G train to Fulton Street, 2/3/4/5/B/Q trains to Atlantic Avenue, or D/M/N/R trains to Pacific Street; LIRR: Flatbush Avenue), +1 718 230-0492 (, fax: +1 718-230-0246), [5]. W-Su 11AM-6PM. Suggested donation $4 adults, $3 students (16 and under), free for children 12 and under.
  • New York Transit Museum, corner of Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street (entrance is on the northwest corner through a stairwell going down into the former subway station; Subway: 2/3/4/5 trains to Borough Hall, M/R trains to Court Street-Borough Hall, A/C/G trains to Hoyt-Schermerhorn Streets, or A/C/F trains to Jay Street-Borough Hall), +1 718 694-1600, [6]. Tu–F 10AM-4PM, Sa-Su Noon-5PM, closed Mondays and major holidays. A self supporting arm of the MTA, it is housed in the Subway's former Court Street Station, on a spur line from the current A and C lines. Closed to passengers in 1946, it was reopened in 1976 as the New York Transit Exhibit and was popular enough to be made permanent. The museum is made up of two underground levels: the Mezzanine, which hosts exhibits on the construction of the subway, surface transportation in New York, fare collection and rotating exhibits on various transit-related subjects; and the station platform, which houses about 20 retired subway cars dating as far back as 1903 and a working signal tower. The museum sponsors events throughout the year, including simple art projects, walking tours on the subway, and rides on the museums' fleet of retired trains. There is also an annex of the museum in Grand Central Station in Midtown Manhattan. $5 adults, $3 children (3–17) and seniors (62+). Seniors free on Wednesdays.

Do

Concerts

  • Bargemusic, at the Fulton Ferry Landing (Subway: A/C trains to High Street-Brooklyn Bridge or F train to York Street), (), [7]. A truly hidden gem. This barge, moored permanently just under the Brooklyn Bridge, has chamber music fare every week with cheese, wine, plush seating, a fireplace, and gentle rocking to assist in your peaceful slumber. It also has a dynamite view of the lower Manhattan skyline.
  • Brooklyn Academy of Music, (Subway: G train to Fulton Street, C train to Lafayette Avenue, 2/3/4/5 trains to Nevins Street, 2/3/4/5/B/Q trains to Atlantic Avenue, or D/M/N/R trains to Pacific Street; LIRR: Flatbush Avenue), [8].

Film

  • BAM Rose Cinemas, 30 Lafayette Avenue (between Ashland and St Felix; Subway: G train to Fulton Street, C train to Lafayette Avenue, 2/3/4/5 trains to Nevins Street, 2/3/4/5/B/Q trains to Atlantic Avenue, or D/M/N/R trains to Pacific Street; LIRR: Flatbush Avenue), [9]. A good cinema in an old opera hall. Films shown are in between arthouse and mainstream.

Theater

  • St. Ann's Warehouse, 38 Water Street (between Dock and Main; Subway: A/C trains to High Street-Brooklyn Bridge or F train to York Street), +1 718 254-8779, [10]. A nondescript building on the corner of Water and Dock Streets, St. Ann's Warehouse delivers consistently impressive avant garde theater. $140 for five shows $119 for four, etc.

Buy

  • Halcyon, 57 Pearl Street (at Water; Subway: F train to York Street or A/C trains to High Street-Brooklyn Bridge), +1 718 260-9299, [11]. Tu Noon-9PM, W Noon-8PM, Th-F Noon-9PM, Sa Noon-8PM, Su Noon-6PM, M by appointment. Record store.
  • Sahadi's, 187 Atlantic Avenue (between Court and Clinton; Subway: 2/3/4/5 trains to Borough Hall, M/R trains to Court Street-Borough Hall, or F/G trains to Bergen Street), +1 718 624-4550, [12]. M-Sa 9AM-7PM. The most famous purveyor of Middle Eastern foodstuffs in New York City. Across the street, there is another store which is open later. If you like Arab food, don't miss a trip to Atlantic Avenue.

Eat

Grimaldi's
  • Grimaldi's, 19 Old Fulton Street (between Water and Front; Subway: A/C trains to High Street-Brooklyn Bridge, F train to York Street, or 2/3 trains to Clark Street), +1 718 858-4300, [13]. Su-Th 11:30AM-11PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-Midnight. Located near Fulton Ferry Landing and DUMBO, only serves its delicious brick oven pizza by the pie, not the slice, and does not accept credit cards. It's still worth it. For best results, line up before their noon opening time, when their coal oven is at its hottest.
  • Junior's Restaurant and Bakery, 386 Flatbush Avenue Extension (at Dekalb Avenue; Subway: B/Q/R and late night D/N trains to Dekalb Avenue, 2/3/4/5 trains to Nevins Street, or A/C/G trains to Hoyt-Schermerhorn Streets), +1 718 852-5257, [14]. Su-Th 6:30AM-Midnight, F-Sa 6:30AM-2AM. Sure, you can eat their famous cheesecake in Grand Central, but why not try the original? With an ad announcing loud and clear that this is it, it's one of the first places you'll see coming off the Manhattan bridge. Home to what is known as "the most fabulous cheesecake," and also featuring New York deli items like tongue sandwiches, this restaurant has been a Brooklyn favorite for decades. The gracious waiters, dressed immaculately in suits and ties, are part of the atmosphere.
  • Madiba, 195 DeKalb Avenue (between Carlton and Adelphi; Subway: G train to Clinton-Washington Avenues or C train to Lafayette Avenue), +1 718 855-9190 (, fax: +1 718 855-8610), [15]. South African food in a township chic setting. Enjoy such dishes as Biltong and Droewors, Samosas South African style, Bobotie, and of course, Peri Peri. Accompany dinner with South African wine and finish it off with a milk tart. Splurge.
  • Scopello, 63 Lafayette Avenue (at Fulton Street; Subway: G trains to Fulton Street, C trains to Lafayette Avenue, 2/3/4/5/B/Q trains to Atlantic Avenue, or D/M/N/R trains to Pacific Street; LIRR: Flatbush Avenue), +1 718 852-1100, [16]. Su-Th 5PM-11PM, F-Sa 5PM-11:30PM. Delicious Sicilian/Italian food, also influenced by Greek, Spanish, and Arabic cuisines. Warm atmosphere. Dinner is usually under $20. The sardine appetizer is incredible.
  • Yemen Cafe, 176 Atlantic Avenue (between Court and Clinton Streets; Subway: F/G trains to Bergen Street, 2/3/4/5 trains to Borough Hall), +1 718 834-9533. M-Sa 9AM-11PM. Serves as an informal community center for the local Yemeni community, but don't be put off by the social club atmosphere; the staff are very friendly and welcoming, and the food (especially the lamb) is very tasty and inexpensive (two people can pig out for about $40). Note: This is a halal establishment that serves no alcohol and would not be an appropriate place to bring your own. Have the spiced tea, instead.
  • Bien Cuit (the Smith St Bakery), 120 Smith Street (b/t Pacific and Dean) (F or G to Bergen St), 718 852 0200, [17]. Sun-Thur 7am-8pm Fri & Sat 7am-9pm. Bien Cuit offers a variety of house-baked breads and pastries served in a central Smith Street location with wifi and Crop to Cup coffee and espresso drinks.


Drink

  • Jacques Torres, 66 Water St (between Dock and Main; Subway: A/C trains to High Street-Brooklyn Bridge or F trains to York Street), [18]. M-Sa 9AM-8PM, Su 10AM-6PM. A small chocolatier located on a sparse street in DUMBO near some of Brooklyn's best views of the Manhattan skyline. Go for the goodies, but stay for the "Wicked Hot Chocolate."

Sleep

  • New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, 333 Adams St (at Fulton; Subway: 2/3/4/5 trains to Borough Hall, M/R trains to Court Street-Borough Hall or Lawrence Street-MetroTech, or A/C/F trains to Jay Street-Borough Hall), +1 718 246-7000 or toll-free +1 800 228-9290 (fax: +1 718 246-0563), [19]. checkin: 4PM; checkout: 11AM. The hotel’s luxurious accommodations boast a relaxed but modern atmosphere with state-of-the-art amenities.
  • NU Hotel, 85 Smith Street (at Atlantic; Subway: A/C/G trains to Hoyt-Schermerhorn Streets, F trains to Bergen Street or Jay Street-Borough Hall, or 2/3 trains to Hoyt Street), +1 718 852-8585 (fax: +1 718 852-8558), [20]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: Noon. $199+.

Contact

  • Brooklyn Public Library (Business Library), 280 Cadman Plaza West (at Tillary; Subway: 2/3/4/5 trains to Borough Hall, M/R trains to Court Street-Borough Hall, or A/C/F trains to Jay Street-Borough Hall), +1 718 623-7000, [21]. M 10AM-6PM, Tu 1PM-8PM, W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
  • Brooklyn Public Library (Clinton Hill branch), 380 Washington Avenue (at Lafayette; Subway: C train to Clinton-Washington Avenues or G train to Clinton-Washington Avenues), +1 718 398-8713, [22]. M 1PM-8PM, Tu-W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
  • Brooklyn Public Library (Pacific branch), 25 4th Avenue (at Pacific; Subway: 2/3/4/5/B/Q trains to Atlantic Avenue or D/M/N/R trains to Pacific Street; LIRR: Flatbush Avenue), +1 718 638-1531, [23]. M-Tu 10AM-6PM, W 1PM-8PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
  • Brooklyn Public Library (Walt Whitman branch), 93 Saint Edwards Street (bewteen Myrtle and Park; Subway: 2/3/4/5 trains to Nevins Street or B/M/Q/R trains to DeKalb Avenue), +1 718 935-0244, [24]. M-Tu 10AM-6PM, W 1PM-8PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
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