Why Stay in Brooklyn? Too Many Reasons to Write
So back in November we decided to burn some vacation days and go to Brooklyn, NY for a few days. Upon returning, one person remarked, “Brooklyn? Why would you go there?”
I suppose it was a mistake to think most people understand NYC is no longer the television crime drama portrayed by Kojak or Serpico.
Our first trip to New York we stayed in Times Square. This time around we wanted to check out the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge. We’d taken a tour bus through there last time, and we realized it might be a great base of operations.
First thing better about Brooklyn, is the hotel rooms are bigger than the notoriously small Manhattan variety. Unless your Kevin McCallister, living off your parent’s credit card in the Plaza Hotel, you literally trip over your luggage in most relatively affordable rooms.
Brooklyn, as it is in the housing market, is slightly better. We found a Hampton Inn centrally located in the downtown area, and immediately had access to a tremendous amount of cool stuff.
First, the DUMBO area, yes, readers, perfect for me, I know, turns out is pretty darn perfect. DUMBO stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass and is an architecturally beautiful area. It also is home to many great restaurants. And so this is where we had our first Brooklyn dinner.
Juliana’s is a relatively recent pizza joint. It was started by NYC pizza legend Patsy Grimaldi. There is a Grimaldi’s restaurant next door. It’s one of those very New York things, where they sell the restaurants and then disagreements happen and the next thing you know, the originator is opening up a competing shop next door!
It was very good.
After dinner we took a walk around the pier area near the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s a fantastically great spot for pictures! You’ve got the Manhattan skyline behind you. It’s a super safe area. With a park and playgrounds nearby.
There is only one hotel in this area, 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge. It’s quite luxurious. And they have an amazing rooftop bar. You get yet another beautiful view of Manhattan from Harriet’s. You can also get pretty good food there as well, but we were still stuffed from pizza and really, just looking to soak up the scenery post dinner.
Williamsburg is another great spot in Brooklyn. It used to be an artist’s haven, but lately it’s upscaled to a much less gritty, and much more trendy neighborhood. If you ever see a show where someone is scouring thrift shops to come up with the perfect outfit, it’s more than likely in this neighborhood.
We had two great meals here.
Bamonte’s in Williamsburg looks like it was plucked right out of a scene from the Soprano’s. And guess what? It was. It’s been around since 1900, when the Bamonte family moved over from Italy.
Not only had they filmed the Soprano’s there, but also scenes from Kojak, Person of Interest, Homeland and Blue Bloods.
The food wasn’t super fantastic, but the atmosphere was the absolute best. Everyone working there had an accent. And everyone was very nice! It’s still family owned and they only take cash!
If we’re grading out our best dining experience of the trip, for ne it was a tossup between the next Williamsburg restaurant and a French restaurant in Manhattan.
Brooklyn’s The Four Horseman, is simply superb. It’s a wine restaurant, where they pare a specific wine, with a specific dish. And I’m not saying they recommend their house dry cab, with a filet.
No, the wine you have with your appetizer is a variety of grape, from a particular vineyard, from a particular year and it’s picked by the sommelier and the chef. Then for the main course, it’s something just as specific. Then for your dessert it is again something just that specific.
It’s not horribly cheap, but it was a unique and delicious dining experience. I highly recommend.
Finally, getting out of Brooklyn and heading to Lower Manhattan for shopping and exploring, we came upon Balthazar’s a well-reviewed French Restaurant. It was after 6pm, and we had no reservations. But somehow, someway, they just happened to have a table for two available.
The seating there is bench style, so you are in close proximity with other diners, which turned out to be fantastic. To my right were two fellas in their forties. They were very friendly and made food recommendations.
To my left, were another couple of fellas, in their 70’s, along with their dates, who were definitely not in their 70’s. They too were very friendly and offered recommendations on food, romance and life choices!
Uniquely New York, Google Balthazar’s and you’ll fall in love with the place. Stay in Brooklyn, and you’ll fall for it as well.