To many, New York equals to Manhattan, they say. Despite the fact that Manhattan is only one of the five boroughs of New York City, most tourists only stick to this one little island. And to be honest, that makes totally sense, Manhattan is, after all home of the many famous attractions that make New York what it is – a world famous city.
But even though after visiting the city several times, I still can’t say I’m fully familiar with Manhattan, I’ve slowly developed an interest to explore the city deeper, get to know different areas – to see if the bustling city and the lively atmosphere spreads out to all the boroughs, to see if there are more interesting sides of the city still waiting for me to be discovered. To see, if other boroughs would be just as enchanting, as interesting as Manhattan. So, this time, we headed deep into Brooklyn and spent almost an entire day exploring this huge, highly populated borough.
In order to understand what type of an area we are talking here, let’s mention a few interesting facts about Brooklyn. If the borough was its own city, would the area of 2,5 million residents make up the fourth largest city in the US, leaving even Manhattan behind. Brooklyn is also three times bigger in area than Manhattan. So, needless to say, this is not any tiny borough we are talking about.
As I was trying to figure out what to do in Brooklyn, it quickly became clear that one day would not be anywhere near of being enough. The area is so vast, that it would be only possible to just scratch the surface in that time. When browsing through different top10-lists, so many things popped out. One praised the area for its museums, another the lively restaurants, the third highlighted the beautiful parks… So in one day, it would be an impossible task to even dream of getting to know the different sides of the borough. So, I decided it was best just to wander around, see, feel and sense the different sides as much as possible without having too many plans.
As Brooklyn is most of all a residential area and not home to as many landmarks as Manhattan, the area naturally is more low-key. The buildings are low-rise, there is less traffic and less people on the streets. Thus, there is also less noise and atmosphere is less hectic. After the bustling streets of Manhattan, Brooklyn really felt more cozy, but also less exciting. Somehow it felt more modest, less exciting.
I had really hoped I’d find even more interesting sides of New York in Brooklyn. I would love to say I found the streets interesting and enchanting. But I just did not feel it. Had I hoped for too much? Was one of the reasons for vague experience the bad weather we had that day? Would a few interesting sights more made the area feel more interesting? Maybe, who knows. We found beautiful streets, nice cafes, and a pretty tasty lunch place too, but still, the streets mostly left me cold. Maybe the whole setup was a bit unfair – Having Manhattan a stones throw away with its fascinating sights, streets and places, there really is no way more low-key Brooklyn can compete with it in many ways. Despite that, one day in Brooklyn passed by in a glimpse of an eye.
We visited Coney Island and the Luna Park – an amusement park featured in so many movies over many years. A park I actually thought was already closed for good, for some reason. On a cloudy Thursday, the park itself was still closed, but there were still people around, many of the restaurants were open and the music played. The area was very much alive even if the park was closed. But still, the area felt almost dead after walking on the bustling streets of Manhattan.
I actually felt a bit sad we did not end up visiting Coney Island during weekend, when the park was open. I could easily imagine how the beach boulevard and the park would be full of life when the park is open – how music would play louder, kids would laugh and the several different rides would make their own, personal sounds. On a cloudy, silent day, the park and the boulevard just felt grey, but somehow the atmosphere felt slightly nostalgic – it almost felt like having been taken back in time a few decades. Now that I know Luna Park is still alive and open (on selected days), I’m pretty sure I will go back another time to see if the area really lights up like I imagined, if it really feels like back in the old days.
On the other end of Brooklyn, I got to the area I still, after this day, like best in Broklyn – Brooklyn Heights. No matter how lame, how common it sounds, this area with Brooklyn Heights Promenade, Brooklyn Bridge Park and all the way to Brooklyn Bridge simply gives you the best views of Manhattan there is, when looking from the ground. This is the area that most people who make it to Brooklyn visit, and to me, this is the best area I’ve seen so far in Brooklyn. That is, despite the fact that I had already been to Brooklyn heights on my previous trips to New York, and really, really wanted to find more interesting areas from Brooklyn this time. But I failed. Maybe next time when visiting New York and having a chance to explore even deeper in Brooklyn, I manage to find what I was looking for.
One day in Brooklyn surely was not even close to being enough this time and somehow it left me slightly dissappointed. Maybe I would have needed more time, maybe I should’ve gone and seen more of the commonly listed attractions, instead of just wandering around. Who knows. This time, I did not fall for Brooklyn. But maybe next time. Next time I might even end up staying in Brooklyn in order to get more familiar with the area, like I did with Harlem this time.