Beyond the Village: Brooklyn Heights

Brooklynites know the polite complaints from friends unwilling to take a subway ride longer than ten minutes: “I’m sorry, but it’s just more convenient if you come here.” “Want to meet in between, like somewhere in the East Village?” or simply “Where the hell is Eastern Parkway?”

But while a trip to Williamsburg, Bushwick or even Dumbo might be genuinely inconvenient at times, there’s not much reason to miss out on Brooklyn Heights, the first stop over the Brooklyn Bridge — A, C, F, R, 2, 3, 4 and 5 trains all stop in the area. Yes, “America’s first suburb” is not exactly the hot-spot for keggers or clubbing, but it’s easily one of the more comfortable neighborhoods in this city. If you’ve been a New Yorker long enough, you’ll appreciate how valuable that word “comfort” can be.

What To Do:

Brooklyn Heights Promenade (Take the R to Court St. or the 2, 3 to Clark St. and walk west) – Once during your NYU career, please take a walk or run on the Promenade, undoubtedly the Heights’ most prized possession. The Promenade is a walkway stretched on the East River, where just walk down Montague Street, you have probably the best panoramic view of Downtown Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, the Bridge, the Empire State Building, and everything else Jay-Z raps about. The best part is the fact that there’s little to no tourist population here, which means you’re not constantly walking in front of family photos.

Brooklyn Heights Cinema (70 Henry St.) – This tiny, two-theater joint is what you would imagine theaters looked like when your grandparents were your age. Also, student tickets are $8.50. If you never learned mathematics, that’s $4 cheaper than most theaters in Manhattan.

Housing Works (122 Montague St.) — Unlike most of the other Housing Works in Manhattan, this location sells second-hand items for genuinely second-hand prices. Seriously, you could purchase a vintage couch, an encyclopedia, and a winter coat in one trip here without spending more than $25.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6 Playground (Atlantic Ave. & Furman St.) — As I mentioned in an NYC Tip last summer, Brooklyn Bridge Park only opened this year with Piers 1 and 6. Although Pier 1 in Dumbo might be my favorite park in the city, Pier 6 is what you would imagine a Chuck E’ Cheese play area would look like if it was furnished by Ikea. But the age limit isn’t quite enforced on the mini-water park, huge slides, and other things you can get potentially injured on. Just be wary of suspicious glances from parents. Creeper.

Where To EatL

River Deli (32 Joralemon St.) – After opening a few months ago in an abandoned deli joint snuggled in the middle of the Heights (and just across the street from me!), River Deli has become a favorite among locals. And if you’ve had anything off their Italian menu, you wouldn’t blame them. The intimate atmosphere, both inside and outside the restaurant, make it an ideal date spot, too.

Iris Cafe (20 Columbia Pl.) – This local favorite has also developed a cult following after NY Mag rated it the best cafe in New York last year. The entire place feels like your neighbor’s living room, but only if your neighbors were awesome at making incredible artisan sandwiches — the Genovese Salami might be my favorite sandwich in the city. Bring a book, too. You might want to cozy up here for a while.

Siggy’s Good Food (76 Henry St.) – If every New Yorker has his or her go-to brunch spot, Siggy’s is mine. Even though I’m not necessarily the type to make sure my food is organic and locally grown, this restaurants finds a way to perfectly combine taste and health.

Armando’s (143 Montague St.) — This longtime Italian fixture in the neighborhood, which just reopened after management shut it down for a few years, is frequented by the typical BK Heights crowd: classy, wealthy and old.

Five Guys Burger (138 Montague St.) – Do I really need to give you a reason?

Andy’s (128 Montague St.) – There’s a few cheap Chinese restaurants on Montague Street, but Andy’s just might be the best for the sole reason it’s named “Andy’s.” Still, the $6 lunch specials that will actually fill you up don’t hurt.

Connecticut Muffin (115 Montague St.) – This small Brooklyn chain is the type of cafe where the baristas know your name and your order.

Where to Drink:

Floyd (131 Atlantic Ave.) — Although there’s not ten bars on every block in the Heights, Floyd is probably the best of the few. A slow, retro hang-out vibe is successfully complemented by the huge bocce ball set, where anyone can play a game at anytime.

Montero’s Bar & Grill (73 Atlantic Ave.) – Just down the street from Floyd, Montero’s is the type of bar you go to with your friends if you’re all bored at 3 a.m. Karaoke, cheap beers, and an eclectic crowd always keep this place interesting.

Henry Street Ale House (62 Henry St.) – Another cozy pub with local beers and great bar food. Just remember to stay sober enough for the train ride home, you Manhattanite.

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  1. Surekha Ratnatunga says

    BK Heights was the first neighborhood “beyond the village” that I explored freshman year. The promenade is where I chose to be at midnight on my 20th birthday.

    Also, screw the subway and walk across the BK bridge to get there.

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