You know Brooklyn is cool because rappers are always giving it a shout-out. What is it that makes this spot so cool, though (besides the fact that Dan Humphrey in Gossip Girl used to live here)? We asked a Brooklyn local to tell us the best things to do when you’re broke, where to go to get your nature fix and more in the bustling area of Brooklyn, New York:
What do you wish more people knew about your city?
Most people know way too much about NYC, actually. I think it’s probably a bit cheaper to live in (apart from the hideously expensive rents) compared to other major European cities, and there are a lot of amazing foods to taste from all over the world that you don’t have to be a millionaire to pay for.
What can you do when you’re broke?
Because most iconic New York things are free to do, it’s actually a great city to hang out in as a broke person. Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, taking the Staten Island Ferry, going to The Met or to The Natural History Museum are all free to do and so lovely. If you are well and truly broke and can’t afford a subway fare (transport can really add up!), my favourite thing to do is to just take a long walk in my neighbourhood. Because it’s such a walkable city, just puttering around and looking at old buildings and cute shops is a lovely way to pass the time. Basically, any NYC neighbourhood will have interesting shops and street life to explore and keep you entertained.
Where can you go if you’re in need of some nature?
Prospect Park is my favourite place to hang because it actually feels like you’ve managed to escape the city (unlike Central Park where you can still see skyscrapers all around you). The huge lawns, the lake, the small and densely wooded parts are just magical to wander around in when you feel like the concrete is closing in on you. Another really good spot is the beach at Coney Island (more appropriate in summer, obviously). It’s actually really easy to get to if you live in Brooklyn and while it’s not the most natural beach, it’s amazing to be at the wide open sea while still in the city limits.
What is the most underrated spot in your city?
I feel like nothing in New York is underrated (there’s a Yelp rating for everything!). There is this Mexican restaurant in Sunset Park, Brooklyn called Tacos el Bronco. They have the best Chiles Rellenos I’ve ever had and are very reasonably priced.
Where can you go to work on your laptop?
I love the city’s public libraries and there are a bunch of great ones you can hang around in all day without having to pretend to nurse a cup of coffee for far too long. The main public library at Herald Square is great, but my favourite is the Park Slope branch in Brooklyn. It’s small enough to not get noisy, has spots to plug in your laptop and is only a few blocks from Prospect Park where you can clear your head when you’re taking a work break.
What’s the best spot for a night out?
Habana Outpost in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Lovely cheap spot to eat and get some margaritas – on Sundays in summer they show movies (and it’s all solar powered!). Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg is also a great spot, with good live music most nights of the week and a bowling alley (!) inside the venue so you can blame your bad bowling skills on the loud music.
What’s the most Instagram-worthy spot in your city?
Brooklyn Bridge Park – the park right on the water, just underneath the bridge on the Brooklyn side. Hands down my favourite place in the city. It has a beautiful view across to the Manhattan skyline, a charming antique carousel, beautiful lush grass and spectacular views up to the Brooklyn Bridge.
Read more about travel