31 Reasons to LOVE Brooklyn
31 Reasons to LOVE Brooklyn
Before I begin, I feel like I should shed some light on where I’ve come from. I grew up in Saratoga Springs — a quaint, slow, beautiful town in upstate New York.
You may have heard of Saratoga for it’s popular horse racing. I had become accustomed to a certain standard of living. With a vegan/gluten free diet, I just accepted that I would almost permanently only eat salads or rice and beans when I went out to dinner. I also didn’t want to stand out too much in Saratoga by wearing brightly colored clothing or other fun accouterments out of fear of not fitting in. Brooklyn is different 🙂
I went to school in Burlington, Vermont and never thought I’d be able to have the best of Saratoga’s beauty, the calmness and hipness of Burlington, lots of millennials and loads of maple syrup in one location.
Enter… Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Depending on what you know of Williamsburg, (or when you lived here) you either think of walking over inebriated or dead bodies on your way to school, dodging gangs, or seeing tiny dudes in suspenders with waxed-curly mustaches, vintage rags and fixie bikes.
Williamsburg has changed so much over the last 10 years, that it’s neither. Once it was a slum… then the hipster mecca… and now it’s the place where young professionals come to chill and relax on rooftop bars, or “fresh-out-of-college” kids come to have their parents co-sign $4,000/month apartments.
From my view, it’s a younger version of the Upper West Side with food trucks, thrift shops (with amazing finds I might add!) and loads of friendly New Yorkers.
Side Note: From what I can gather, the hipsters have since migrated out deeper into Bushwick and carry on their exclusivity at random coffeehouses off the L-train. (psssst. if you’re going to Bushwick, your best bet is the Jefferson stop on the train 😉 )
These are my Brooklyn observations that I’ve come to love and appreciate, and think you might too.
30 Reasons why You’ll LOVE Williamsburg, Bklyn.
Dig it. Imagine a place where…
#1 There’s Vegan/Gluten Free Mac + Cheese, +Pizza
This is the world where my stomach and intestinal track are thrilled that I’m not putting it through crazy pain by eating comfort food. I’ve missed these two foods for so long! And I’m pumped that I can get a gluten free/vegan pizza at Vinnie’s on Bedford, and Mac+Cheese at Brooklyn Mac.
#2 Fresh Juices + Smoothies are Easy to Come By
When I was a kid, my favorite food was always smoothies. Raspberry smoothies hit the spot every morning for breakfast, and for snacks after school. Fast forward to my adulthood, and for a while smoothies were a little more difficult to come by.
Thanks to this health movement around the US, juice stands are popping up all over the place. Alas, I love going to the bodegas and getting super cheap green juices. They make me smile. Plus there’s a Juice Generation everywhere.
#3 Young Coconuts are EVERYWHERE and… YUM!
The first time I had a young coconut was in Brooklyn. They are the most delicious (IMHO) fruits (or whatever they are) that I’ve seriously ever had. They’re creamy, flavorful and full of loads of vital nutrients — how could I resist!? You can find these succulent balls of awesome at the SmorgesburgMarket or in bodegas. Yum!
Plus Organic Planet on Bedford makes a mean coconut smoothie from the juice and the coconut meat that makes me feel like I’m in heaven for $5. Who knew, the way to my heart would be through young coconuts!?
#4 The Best Thai Cooks Live in Brooklyn
I didn’t know this before I came to Brooklyn, but it seriously feels like Thailand’s best culinary students came here. The Thai food is nothing short of AMAZING with stunning flavor and fresh ingredients. I recommend Chai Thai on North 6th.
#5 Fresh Flowers are Abundant
Almost every corner has a fresh flower stand. Even if you’re not looking to impress your lady, they’re nice to look at and they pick up the vibe of the streets. Sometimes it’s just nice to see a variety of natural color.
#6 Beautiful Mural Art Can Be Found on Every Block
Williamsburg (and Bushwick) have no shortage of beautifully done murals. Yes, many of them are corporate advertisements. But, they rotate weekly and are still vibrant and beautiful. There’s a sweet Ninja Turtle ad in North Williamsburg. Very often I even see the people painting them. They manage to create these building-sized billboards in just a couple days. Now, that’s productive.
#7 The Views, Oh the Views!
You can see almost the entire island of Manhattan from “Billyburg.” Bushwick Inlet Park boasts tremendous, breathtaking views of the city. Plus there’s a mini-beach and a beautiful park, pier and trees. It’s a great picnic spot.
Need a night-scene and still want the view? There’s at least 2 rooftop bars… probably more with killer views (if you can deal with the condescending looks and attitude). The Wythe has a well-frequented club scene, while the McCarren Park Hotel has a more calm, date-night version of the rooftop bar.
#8 The Homeless Men have a Sense of Humor
No joke, I was sitting in the park with my boyfriend, Austin and a homeless man came up to us. That’s not the joke. The funny part, was that he went into a full comedic act and impression of Richard Pryor. His goal (aside from asking for loose change) was to make us laugh, and that he did!
#9 The Bathrooms look like they belong at Expensive Hotels
I don’t know what it is here, but almost every bathroom I’ve encountered looks like it belongs at a beautifully modern hotel. There’s penny tiled floors, beautiful wall tilings, big mirrors, tin-ceilings, modern toilets, cascading waterfall-like faucets and big hand-crafted sink bowls.
Oh! And the soap! Most everybody has natural, essential oil soap that just smells incredible and makes me drink more water just to use the bathroom, lol.
#10 Everywhere (worth going) is Well Designed
Williamsburg (and Manhattan too) have so many restaurants and social places that are incredibly well designed. There isn’t a wood beam or concrete-cast out of place.
I would describe it as, creative and modern, with those little flares to make you feel at home (like a rotary phone on a shelf or a wall of succulents). There’s also loads of hand-made designed furniture! Look no further, that unique, one-of-a-kind look is here.
Yes, there’s this thing called brunch, and apparently it’s a NYC “thing.” Previously, I thought brunch was just a later breakfast. Nope! Here, brunch is something you do after a crazy night out on the town.
You wake up after 12pm, and brunch is usually around 2pm. This delicacy consists of bottomless mimosas, and farm-fresh eggs, french toast and the like! (Now, I don’t eat the eggs, but Austin does and says they’re delish 😉 ) I get the tofu scramble.
#12 Every Coffee Shop has a Choice of Almond or Soy Milk
You may think this is “hipster” of me, but my belly can’t do the dairy thang.
I’ve been so excited to see that every coffee shop has not just soy milk, but also almond. Score on the lattes!
#13 Coffee Shops have Maple Syrup!
Living in upstate New York, I didn’t know of a single coffee shop that would offer a Maple Syrup latte. It’s been in my blood, because it just felt natural for me to mix two things I love: maple syrup and coffee.
Even in Burlington, VT there was only one or maybe two coffee shops that offered this delicacy. Well not here! Billy-burg has over a half-dozen shops that will make you the coveted maple latte… and they’re amazingly delicious for the upstaters and vermonters looking for a taste of “home.”
#14 There’s such thing as a Lavender Latte
Now, I’m a huge fan of lavender. It makes me feel calm and relaxed. I had never seen it available as a latte though! So, I tried it. I’d say it was nice, but I’ll stick to the maple version. Either way, it’s not a “one-shop” thing. Lavender lattes abound to elevate your palette.
#15 Every Country is Represented
I know this is actually a “New York City Thing” but, I’ve experienced it in Brooklyn. I love hearing all the different languages spoken around me: Dutch, French, Italian, German, Hebrew, Brittish-English, Spanish, Japanese and Mandarin among a few. I’ve already met several people from Paris. I get to learn so much from them! Like how they don’t know what peanut butter is!
Staying at different Air-bnbs has allowed us to meet so many new people from countries all over the world. We’ve become friends with a group from Denmark, France and Belgium. I know this is very 1990’s to say but… how cool!?
#16 David Karp and Howard Schultz Can Be Found Here
Get to the local Starbucks early enough and you may be lucky enough to sight David Karp, founder of tumblr. The multi-millionaire, legacy lives in Williamsburg. Who knew!? Howard Schultz is also occasionally seen at the Billy-burg ‘bucks. Apparently it’s one of the flagship stores, and a well-loved and coveted Starbucks commodity. Who wouldn’t want to meet these two epic celebrities!?
#17 Thrift Shops Have Killer Finds
These aren’t your traditional thrift shops. These are the kind of thrift shops where you can get a Coach bag for $20 and a Lily Pulitzer dress for $5. Yep, I found a Lily Pulitzer dress (in perfect condition) for $5. I’ll count my blessings now.
#18 The L-Train is Nearby
If you’re needing a trip into Manhattan, the L-train is only a few blocks away and can take you to the metropolis in less than 10 minutes… as long as it’s working for the weekend! Looking to ride back in late at night… you’d better look at the G-train. The best part though, is that the city is only a couple stops away via rail.
#19 The Aussies have Infiltrated Brooklyn
The Aussies are here, and there’s lots of them. What did they bring to this once-hipster-mecca? Flat whites and “avo” or smashed avocado on toast.
It’s not just any avocado! They mix in things like fresh mint, parsley and chili pepper. In my humble opinion, it’s an incredible concoction. And no, the flat whites are not like the ones from Starbucks. They’re creamy, delicate and delicious. Only made right by an Aussie. Check out Sweatshop on Metropolitan Ave for a killer flat white.
Not only that, but the Australians brought their super chill attitudes and amiable nature with them to the Big Apple. They’re accent makes you feel like you just made a new best friend.
#20 Alternative Forms of Coffee-Brewing are Appreciated
Want to try a coffee french-pressed? How about reverse-french-pressed? Are ristretto shots your thing? Or maybe it’s the drip-style or Chemex coffee. Whatever your coffee-brewing method, you can find your perfect had-crafted bevy in this city. And almost all the coffee is roasted in Brooklyn. They even have cupping days. They take coffee seriously here… so you know it’s good!
#21 Craft Brews Abound!
I don’t drink beer (being gluten-free), but if I did, this would be a place to go. Well, other than all the micro-brews that popped up throughout Vermont. This is the home to Brooklyn Brewery, and Dirck the Norsman. At Dirck, you can even find yourself a full stein of beer, and awesome nightly jazz music. *Not for the lightweights*
#22 There’s a Full Music Scene + Club Scene
Local music is all over. Visit the rooftop bars, normal bars, breweries, or clubs. Walk all around Bedford Ave and the side-streets and you’ll find your club of choice or music venue.
#23 The People are AWESOME
You can be sure to find lots of entrepreneurs here. There are tons of friendly freelancers, start-ups, entrepreneurs, musicians and artists floating around the coffee shops. They are incredibly friendly and I’ve found that it’s easy to make friends here. Most people that I’ve met are hustling, and many are doing what they love.
#24 Cheap Food!
Normally, $1.50 wouldn’t get you much anywhere. In Brooklyn? You can get 4 fried dumplings for $1.50 at Vanessa’s, or a donut, a bagel with cream cheese, or a slice of pizza. Looking to splurge? $2 can get you an authentic taco from a food truck, $3 for an egg and cheese sandwich, $5 for a fresh juice or smoothie, $6 for a hero or $4 will get you a stellar-falafel fromOasis. I know many people that are a fan of the cheap food!
#25 Express Yourself! Every bit!
I’ve noticed since being in Brooklyn that it’s not abnormal to express yourself to whatever degree you see fit. And people don’t judge. You can wear whatever you think fits under the sun, colors, prints, patterns, crazy shoes, wigs and whatever works for you. I’ve seen it all. It’s terrific-ly refreshing to know that if I choose to sport a pair of fluorescent orange, spiked Keds that I won’t be judged, and I’ll feel fly.
I used to care more about what people thought about me and what I wore. Now I don’t. Really, there is every type of expression here. It’s nice to know that I won’t stand out TOO MUCH by expressing myself to the fullest and that I can just enjoy being me, for me without judgment.
Cheers to that!
#26 Hand Lettering and Chalkboard Walls Exist
Go into any plethora of the coffee shops available and you’ll find beautifully designed and painted or drawn hand-lettering and chalkboard walls. I love the artwork that shows up in so many of Brooklyn’s shops and establishments. It brings life and authenticity into my day, one hand-lettered-word at a time.
#27 Walk or Bike Over the Williamsburg Bridge
The bridge is a short walk away. Get to it, climb up the stairs and begin your journey across the Williamsburg bridge. On the walk you may see some performers, videographers or photographers doing their art.
You can see both sides of Brooklyn and Manhattan from the bridge, and I would say it’s quite a view! It’d probably be helpful to bring a selfie-stick with you. #justsaying
#28 A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way
New Yorkers aren’t accustomed to people paying attention to them — unless something is wrong. I’ve found that a kind hello, and asking how their day is goes much farther than you would think. Being kind and polite in upstate, New York is nice, but often overlooked.
In Brooklyn, that kindness and polite nature makes people stop and look a you. I asked a grumpy barista how their day was going. They said, meh, okay. And then I asked if there was anything I could to to make their day better? They stopped, and stared at me, and then said — I think you just did!
Being nice is actually surprisingly appreciated here, as it should be. People are just looking to connect with each other and have positive interactions, to be seen and be heard. Everyone’s looking for attention.
A little attention goes a long way in Brooklyn. Be nice. It’ll get you everywhere.
#29 Cocktails are Authentic and Delicious
Looking for a 1920s style gin-martini? How about a hot toddy?You’ve got it! That or any other style of delicious, historic adult beverage. The bartenders here are actual mixologists. I didn’t know what that term truly meant until I had a couple of these amazing delicacies.
#30 Live Networking Opportunities are Happening Constantly
A short train ride into Manhattan opens up the world of networking. You can find almost 2+ young-professional mixers or networking events every night of the week. Sounds like a great place to jump start a business.
#31 Opportunities to Meet Celebrities like Gary Vaynerchuck
Again, this is not specific to Brooklyn. But that short train ride brought Austin and I to Park Ave South to meet the infamous Gary Vaynerchuck. And he was so authentic and genuine! What a pleasure!
That’s the list! I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know what you think, and if you have anything perhaps to add? (well, if you’ve been to Williamsburg). Please share + thanks! ❤ -Emelina
See all the travel photos on my Instagram: @ecspinelli
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