Brooklyn is more Manhattan than Manhattan. At least that’s how the old-timers think, when staring across the water at the stacks of skyscrapers crowding the south end of the island. Somewhere in there, a few surviving brownstones stew in envy for the polish and pride of its cousins in Brooklyn, where the old rows still breathe free. Add in Brooklyn’s distinctive style, a new NBA team, and hopping urban soundtrack, and there’s more than enough reason to fire up the Jay-Z and join Galavante for a bounce in the borough.
Ferry to Brooklyn
One of the best places to clear Manhattan from your nose is at Pier 11, at the end of Wall Street. Hop on the East River Ferry and set sail (well, propeller) for Brooklyn. Disembark at Brooklyn Bridge Park and discover why it might be the borough’s favorite, whether for the restored 1922 carousel, picnic-friendly lawns, impressive bridge views, or gaggles of models and photographers clicking down adjacent cobbled streets.
Jacques Torres Chocolate
If the gusty winds of Dumbo begin to stiffen the joints, warm up over chocolate at Jacques Torres. Park yourself at one of the marble-topped tables and scope the autumn-colored stock of confectionaries. The fresh-from-the-oven cookies taste great with Illy espresso, but it’s the hot chocolate, made from pure powder (not cacao), that’ll make you melt.
66 Water St., Brooklyn, 718-875-1269, mrchocolate.com
If you’ve got the moxie (and an extra hour), the walk to Carroll Gardens from Dumbo offers lots of old Brooklyn to see, plus a calorie-hungry stomach by the time you reach Prime Meats. The reclaimed leather banquettes and wood-heavy interior suit the classic brunch menu well, especially the signature steak and eggs and Farmer’s Breakfast of two poached eggs, Faicco’s thick-cut bacon, and potato rösti.
465 Court St., Brooklyn, 718-254-0327, frankspm.com
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Just because the leaves have fallen doesn’t mean the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is out of business. On the contrary, the Light in Winter program celebrates “beauty in darkness” with weekly activities of music, cooking, seminars, and nature walks. Or simply stroll the 52 acres solo, making sure to linger at the Japanese Hill and Pond garden, tropical pavilion, and Steinhardt Conservatory Gallery.
1000 Washington Ave., Brooklyn, 718-623-7200, bbg.org