Elena Bowes

New York-London travel & design writer of a certain vintage looking for meaning and wholeness in life

No FOMO in Sizzling Brooklyn

October 30th, 2014
Wanderings: US

Brooklyn may only be a bridge away, but for years it was a bridge too far, a no-go zone for Manhattan loyalist moi. But what would be the 4th largest city in America is now so cool that I decided the time had come to cross that bridge. One neighbourhood, Flatbush, has just been voted  the 7th out of 15 coolest neighbourhoods in the world by Vogue Magazine. Forte Greene is also hot, as is griffitti-clad Bushwick and artist studio-filled Red Hook. Time Out magazine just published its Top Ten walking tours in New York and half of them are in Brooklyn.

Oh my goodness! Where to begin?

I immediately called my friend Natalie who, like me, seriously struggles with Fear Of Missing Out and, unlike me, is an ace researcher/organiser. Natalie decided gastro-hub Williamsburg was a good starter for us newbies. So we packed our passports descended the subway at 59th and Lex and off to Brooklyn we went. Here’s Natalie a few hours post-subway, looking a bit smug  at how well her planning has gone. She’s seated at the counter in the uber-cool Reynard restaurant at the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg.


But I’m jumping. More on Wythe later. Destination 1: Brooklyn Museum near Park Slope. There we saw a fun show called “Killer Heels”. Don’t miss the somewhat raunchy videos- heels never looked so sexy.


I strongly recommend hailing  a cab from outside the museum to Williamsburg going via Bedford Stuyvesant’s Hasidic neighbourhood that seems otherworldly and at odds with happening Brooklyn. In Williamsburg we wandered on and around Grand Street taking in the cool buildings.



And the cool people where vintage hats, thigh-high boots, colourful sandals and hot pants are in, in, in.


We lunched at the Wythe, once a factory now a buzzy hangout. The line for the Ides Bar stretched around the block, but for the Reynard restaurant we just walked straight in.


Autumn Rose anyone?


Next on Natalie’s list was foodie central Smorgasburg, the ‘Brooklyn Flea Food Market’ where the hipsters descend every weekend until November 22nd/23rd and stuff their faces from a slew of tempting stalls.


It’s a big party where every hunger/thirst pang can be satisfied. Fancy some Ethiopian tea? Or perhaps a glass of  Vermont Maple Lemonade? Oaxaca Tacos, Burma Noodle Bar, Biteme Cheesecake, Jack’s Chedbread and Elvio’s Chimichurri, it’s all here. Long lines are always a helpful clue to what’s worth eating. The lines were impressive at this pork joint.


And this sweet spot…


And for those who like truffles…


Get there early because things sell out…


Finish off with a tasty Vendome macaron…


October, 2014