Venturing into neighborhoods new to me is a personal love—I’d much rather see how the locals live than the tourist traps. My hike into Williamsburg, Brooklyn certainly gave me some Facebook fodder—and its own blog post, natch.
I started off with a walk across the Williamsburg Bridge from Chinatown—not terribly picturesque but a good walk and popular with runners. It’s 1.38 miles, but you can train it over, which makes sense if you plan to walk in Brooklyn a lot.
Once I’d stepped off the bridge I decided to forego GPS and just walk—which was a bit of a mistake, as I ended up in a very Hassidic area instead of the trendy Williamsburg I was hoping for. It was a fascinating walk with adorable families and an area staying true to its roots, but I was catcalled a few times‚ which is apparently a thing I wasn’t aware of! Below, some graffiti on my walk:
I was glad to happen upon Hope Garage (163 Hope St, Brooklyn, NY 11211) nearby, a cute, industrial chic restaurant and bar with a great menu.
As these things often happen (but not to me…) the waitress dropped some buffalo sauce from another table, and it went everywhere… on me. She was sweet and helped clean me up and offered a free drink, but as I wasn’t even eating anything buffalo, it wasn’t really an auspicious start to the day. And, yes, I smelled like buffalo sauce all day long. Needless to say, I’m not having wings anytime soon.
The BLT I ordered with pork belly was tasty, though a little fatty and the potatoes well seasoned. I have to say the free muffins they offered also as recompense for the flying hot sauce were the highlight, with bacon jam and marmalade in the basket. This place may well be a true gem at brunch or perhaps dinner.
From here I wanderered—which usually is a fun thing, if you know where you’re going and there are interesting spots on the way. This wasn’t really the case. I did get a taste of what Brooklyn is like outside of the well-worn tourist paths, until I got near to the south side of Williamsburg, most notably along Grand St. Dotted with cool restaurants and twee boutiques (many for men too), it wasn’t a tourist trap but very walking-friendly with unique merchandise.
I wish I could say many places stood out—but really, it was just one: Fuego 718 (249 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211). Its friendly staff and overwhelming Peruvian, Mexican and Latin American home decor and jewelry. It was adorable and amazing and a must-stop for its distinctive wares.
Manhattan is amazing, but make a trip cross the bridge for a cute, boutique-y experience and some great food. Maybe, bring a bib.