Insider’s look at Red Hook, Brooklyn.
I have long been the poster child for traveling around Brooklyn without a car, but two places are particularly conducive to car trips in my adopted borough. With an extensive subway and bus system, most of NYC is readily accessible. But parts of Brooklyn are much more easily reached by car.
The least accessible place is Red Hook, which is a 15-minute walk to a subway. There are buses, but I once waited for a bus for so long that within seconds of the first one showing up, 35 minutes past schedule, four other buses pulled up right behind.
The first place to head to is the soccer fields on Bay Street where food trucks serve up Central and South American food. This isn’t hipster food truck territory, but authentic trucks and carts made by immigrants to serve the mostly immigrant soccer playing crowd. Pupusas, ceviche, fresh juices – it’s all here.
There is usually street parking on Lorraine Street, one block over.
Red Hook also sports NYC’s only IKEA, and just waking through the store is fun – finding napkin rings for a quarter or a box of wine glasses for $2, scoring a $3 lunch. But the real treat here is the long pedestrian and biking path along the water; beautifully landscaped and peaceful, despite its industrial surrounding. And the free parking lot is gigantic.
Tip: you can actually walk the few blocks over to the soccer field vendors from here.
Then drive over to Fairway, the giant supermarket with its own pier and waterfront cafe. You can park the car (again, a huge free lot!) and walk over the the Waterfront Barge Museum, for spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty and the Verrazano Bridge. The barge is actually currently in dry dock for repairs, but it will return soon. From here you can walk or drive over to Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies. I’m not a huge Key Lime pie fan, but the addictive frozen Key Lime pops dipped in chocolate are lovely.
Stay in Brooklyn!
Many visitors to New York City think they have to stay in a hotel in midtown Manhattan, but there is a great choice here in Brooklyn, the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge. This hotel, the largest in the borough (and with a large garage if you drive to NYC), just debuted its new lobby with The Bar, a restaurant that emphasizes artisinal Brooklyn food and drinks.