Listopedia: The Design Files Brooklyn Bucket List
If you’re Australian and you find yourself in New York, chances are at some point during your trip you’ll end up in Brooklyn. That’s because at heart, most Australian travellers are hipsters (even if we won’t admit it), and the mecca of all things hipster is Brooklyn.
Hipsters open awesome cafes and shops, and if they’re not opening these awesome venues themselves, they’re keeping indie operators in business by patronising such establishments. Hipsters make seedy, scungy areas cool and habitable again. It’s annoying to admit, but hipsters are actually freakishly accurate trend forecasters, which is perhaps what makes them so generally infuriating. It also makes them impossible to ignore. We need to pay attention to the hipsters – they know what’s up.
Brooklyn is well known for its hipster-dom. It is an awesome place to stay when in New York, because it’s generally a little cheaper (and, arguably, a little ‘cooler’) than Manhattan and is only a short subway ride away from the big city. During our recent trip we stayed at NU Hotel in the Boerum Hill area, which was brilliantly located. This area of Brooklyn feels a little more real and ‘local’ than some of the more touristy pockets, with no shortage of great food and shopping spots.
Here are some of the favourite spots we found on our recent stay in Brooklyn!
Atlantic Avenue, Boerum Hill
We stumbled upon this end of town because our hotel happened to be located here, but we were pleasantly surprised by the restaurant and retail offerings in this lively local neighbourhood. In particular, there’s a great concentration of vintage design/furniture stores on Atlantic Avenue near Hoyt St, as well as a smattering of lovely smaller retailers including Steven Alan and Steven Alan Home. For a cheap, easy meal we loved the bagels and breakfasts at Mile End deli – a modern take on traditional Jewish comfort food (97A Hoyt Street, Boerum Hill).
OH so touristy but definitely un-missable, Smorgasburg is Williamsburg’s weekly foodie extravaganza and self-titled “Flea Food Market”. Situated on Saturdays at East River State Park (Kent Ave. and N. 7 St.) on the Williamsburg waterfront; and Sundays at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5, on a nice day this is the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat. Find a spot to perch and admire the Manhattan skyline. The food is a diverse cross section of cuisines, from the ubiquitous Mexican offerings to less familiar Boliivian, Colombian and Jamaican flavours. In general, all the food is INSANELY good (and cheap), it’s quite remarkable that such deliciousness can be created in tents and trailers. Smorgasbord showcases more than 100 local and regional food vendors every weekend from April to November.
Brooklyn Flea is a HUGE flea market founded in 2008. Brooklyn Flea was the birthplace of Smorgasburg – a perfect pairing, because market fossicking always works up an appetite! The markets take place outdoors every weekend from April to November – Saturdays in Fort Greene and Sundays in Williamsburg. These days the Flea’s offerings are pretty diverse – probably a few less antiques and collectibles than the early days, and a few more crafty/artsy/handmade stalls, but always a treasure to be found.
Marlow & Sons
LOOK there’s no shortage of amazing food to be munched in Brooklyn BUT Marlow & Sons is the one spot everyone tells you to go to, and with good reason. Situated on Broadway in Williamsburg, Marlow & Sons is an offshoot of the super popular Marlow & Daughters butcher and grocery shop, established in Williamsburg in 2008.
With a delicious, seasonal menu of farm fresh/organic/house made/artisanal everything, Marlow & Sons is all about robust sourdough loaves, cheese and pickles, perfectly soft boiled eggs, smoked salmon or perhaps a charred sardine or kipper, the most delicious chicken liver pate and of course, kale. Like so many of Brooklyn’s most popular little hospitality venues, inside this place it’s all timber paneling, ‘ye olde’ signage, dim lighting and slightly nautical vibes, with a sweet service counter at the front of the restaurant for take-home treats and baked goods. It’s Brooklyn all over and damn, it’s GOOD. 81 Broadway Brooklyn (between Berry and Wythe)
For a big city, New York sure is GREEN, and nowhere more so than Brooklyn. Sprout Home is a much-loved local plant/garden/flower store in Grand St, overflowing with gorgeous greenery, pretty green gifts, books and tools to keep your stoop looking lush. Though other retailers have come and gone in recent years, Sprout Home has been in this location since way back in 2007, which makes this modest little store a Williamsburg veteran, and a firm favourite with the locals. Aside from offering a gorgeous array of plants and flowers, Sprout also runs regular workshops and classes, where eager city-dwellers can learn creative gardening techniques such as ‘Kokedama’ (the Japanese gardening art of enclosing a plant’s roots in moss) or terrarium making. 44 Grand st, Brooklyn
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