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Guidebook for Brooklyn

Courtney

Guidebook for Brooklyn

Food Scene
First off - the space - formerly an awesome hardware store also called Sisters -is amazing and soothing and different than the tired steam-punk aesthetic of too many Brooklyn eateries. Food served at tables in front and back (very deep) AND at the curving cement bar - which is also a good place to eat/drink solo or people watch. Live music/DJ some nights. Also open for breakfast but you'll have the place to yourself practically - and there's wi-fi.
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Sisters
900 Fulton Street
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First off - the space - formerly an awesome hardware store also called Sisters -is amazing and soothing and different than the tired steam-punk aesthetic of too many Brooklyn eateries. Food served at tables in front and back (very deep) AND at the curving cement bar - which is also a good place to eat/drink solo or people watch. Live music/DJ some nights. Also open for breakfast but you'll have the place to yourself practically - and there's wi-fi.
Cuban and Mexican food in an open courtyard during the summer, inside across the street when its not. Kid-friendly, large groups drinking friendly, Order inside (coloring pages+crayons for kids) and collect order outside from red trailer. Til midnight.
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Habana Outpost
757 Fulton Street
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Cuban and Mexican food in an open courtyard during the summer, inside across the street when its not. Kid-friendly, large groups drinking friendly, Order inside (coloring pages+crayons for kids) and collect order outside from red trailer. Til midnight.
Feels like a secret, gathering spot for outlier foodie hipsters. Cozy-incarnate in the winter, excellent bar too.
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Vinegar Hill House
72 Hudson Avenue
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Feels like a secret, gathering spot for outlier foodie hipsters. Cozy-incarnate in the winter, excellent bar too.
DOUGH Donuts. All you need to know really, plus the line on weekend mornings. Open 6am-9pm, doughnuts made fresh by hand THROUGHOUT the day, filling orders from fans in Tokyo and Dubai, flavors like passionfruit, nutella and dulce de leche - make it your morning treat, often.
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Dough
448 Lafayette Avenue
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DOUGH Donuts. All you need to know really, plus the line on weekend mornings. Open 6am-9pm, doughnuts made fresh by hand THROUGHOUT the day, filling orders from fans in Tokyo and Dubai, flavors like passionfruit, nutella and dulce de leche - make it your morning treat, often.
Extraordinary pizza made by very nice and fancily-trained people in real-deal wood ovens. Genuinely family-friendly and menu goes way beyond pizza to excellent salads, housemade mozzarella, burgers and desserts. Most days open 12-4pm, then 5-11pm and weekends brunch.
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Speedy Romeo - Brooklyn
376 Classon Ave
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Extraordinary pizza made by very nice and fancily-trained people in real-deal wood ovens. Genuinely family-friendly and menu goes way beyond pizza to excellent salads, housemade mozzarella, burgers and desserts. Most days open 12-4pm, then 5-11pm and weekends brunch.
Northern Italian awesomeness located in a former pharmacy - its sign still says "Lewis Drug Store' (not the restaurant's name), and with vestiges of its former trade within, this is a true neighborhood favorite. Very nice to kids. No brunch, lunch - open daily 5:30 - 11pm.
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Locanda Vini & Olii
129 Gates Avenue
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Northern Italian awesomeness located in a former pharmacy - its sign still says "Lewis Drug Store' (not the restaurant's name), and with vestiges of its former trade within, this is a true neighborhood favorite. Very nice to kids. No brunch, lunch - open daily 5:30 - 11pm.
Possibly a little too popular as brunch destination, being at epicenter intersection of Fort Greene Park Dekalb entrance and Farmer's Market (Saturdays). Try to hit it early on weekend mornings and order Walter's Chicken + Waffles - not included on dinner menu. Somewhat scene-y, and crowded, but location location, vibe/vibe, very nice wait-people and so many Walters! Who knew. 9-12am Weekends, 12-12 or so, rest of week.
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Walter's
166 Dekalb Ave
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Possibly a little too popular as brunch destination, being at epicenter intersection of Fort Greene Park Dekalb entrance and Farmer's Market (Saturdays). Try to hit it early on weekend mornings and order Walter's Chicken + Waffles - not included on dinner menu. Somewhat scene-y, and crowded, but location location, vibe/vibe, very nice wait-people and so many Walters! Who knew. 9-12am Weekends, 12-12 or so, rest of week.
Your ramen source. Well edited menu of excellent ramen option - caters to the adventurous carnivore AND mild-paletted vegetarian AND kids too with a basically plain noodle option. Hopping most nights - skip the crowd and order in! Open daily 12-3pm and 5:30-10pm
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Chuko
565 Vanderbilt Avenue
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Your ramen source. Well edited menu of excellent ramen option - caters to the adventurous carnivore AND mild-paletted vegetarian AND kids too with a basically plain noodle option. Hopping most nights - skip the crowd and order in! Open daily 12-3pm and 5:30-10pm
6:30am-8pm. Start your day early with fierce coffee and baked goods (excellent toasted bagels btw) then wind it down with beer + wine whenever it suits. Free wi-fi extends to their outdoor seating, outlets about and fine bathroom (for patrons). Music rarely dull, people watching too.
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Daily Press Coffee
505 Franklin Avenue
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6:30am-8pm. Start your day early with fierce coffee and baked goods (excellent toasted bagels btw) then wind it down with beer + wine whenever it suits. Free wi-fi extends to their outdoor seating, outlets about and fine bathroom (for patrons). Music rarely dull, people watching too.
Sort of a restaurant/cafe but also and maybe mostly (depending on season) a neighborhood standby for take-out. Vast variety on the sandwich/panini/wrap//burger/prepared salad + sides front - vegan to totally not, even Rotisserie chickens and all manner of tarts and cookies to round it out. Eating is at communal tables or, when warm, benches outside. Excellent breakfast too. 6am-9pm. No wine + no wi-fi = more turnover : )
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Choice Market
318 Lafayette Avenue
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Sort of a restaurant/cafe but also and maybe mostly (depending on season) a neighborhood standby for take-out. Vast variety on the sandwich/panini/wrap//burger/prepared salad + sides front - vegan to totally not, even Rotisserie chickens and all manner of tarts and cookies to round it out. Eating is at communal tables or, when warm, benches outside. Excellent breakfast too. 6am-9pm. No wine + no wi-fi = more turnover : )
So secret, it's actually hidden. Tucked in behind the excellent restaurant Walters (reviewed below), is a Japanese restaurant-cum-speakeasy. Kitchen open daily 5:30-11 or so, bar open much later.
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Karasu
166 Dekalb Ave
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So secret, it's actually hidden. Tucked in behind the excellent restaurant Walters (reviewed below), is a Japanese restaurant-cum-speakeasy. Kitchen open daily 5:30-11 or so, bar open much later.
Fresh baked goods (and Layer Cakes), coffee, wifi and a full frontal view on Fulton Street. Plus, it's around the corner. Opens at 8am.
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The Good Batch
936 Fulton Street
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Fresh baked goods (and Layer Cakes), coffee, wifi and a full frontal view on Fulton Street. Plus, it's around the corner. Opens at 8am.
Because we have perfection on our corner, why - unless it's Tuesday (Otway closed) would you go anywhere else? Now with an in-house pastry chef, in-house bread, finest locally sourced ingredients, and the nicest, hardest working, unflaggingly smiling, owner/chef Samatha fronting the whole operation. Open most of the day for breakfast and lunch, weekends for brunch and most night for dinner/drinks. Go for a solo drink, bite at the bar, gather friends, nap a pastry and celebrate a real local treasure.
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Otway
930 Fulton St
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Because we have perfection on our corner, why - unless it's Tuesday (Otway closed) would you go anywhere else? Now with an in-house pastry chef, in-house bread, finest locally sourced ingredients, and the nicest, hardest working, unflaggingly smiling, owner/chef Samatha fronting the whole operation. Open most of the day for breakfast and lunch, weekends for brunch and most night for dinner/drinks. Go for a solo drink, bite at the bar, gather friends, nap a pastry and celebrate a real local treasure.
It does bagels - all types with all spreads, plus a vast round up of sandwiches and readymade salads. Its eating bar runs length of the Fulton Street window and is a fine perch to wait for bus (and wait) or watch world go by. Also delivers.
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Bergen Bagels
949 Fulton Street
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It does bagels - all types with all spreads, plus a vast round up of sandwiches and readymade salads. Its eating bar runs length of the Fulton Street window and is a fine perch to wait for bus (and wait) or watch world go by. Also delivers.
Essentials
Organic and natural food store run by very cool Bhutanese family. Best ALL organic smoothies in neighborhood - there's a line during morning rush-hour. Also excellent bins of dry goods in the back and big selection of herbal supplements.
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Green Planet
969 Fulton St
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Organic and natural food store run by very cool Bhutanese family. Best ALL organic smoothies in neighborhood - there's a line during morning rush-hour. Also excellent bins of dry goods in the back and big selection of herbal supplements.
Pharmacy - old school. Nicest staff, strong AC, and fair prices on all beauty basics that go for many more $$ at the chains. Over-the-counter advice given. Also stock sundries like envelopes, reams of paper, cards, and sewing supplies.
Fine Care Pharmacy
981 Fulton Street
Pharmacy - old school. Nicest staff, strong AC, and fair prices on all beauty basics that go for many more $$ at the chains. Over-the-counter advice given. Also stock sundries like envelopes, reams of paper, cards, and sewing supplies.
It's New York/Brooklyn and the competition for your nails (other bits too) is fierce. I'm sure there are salons in the neighborhood that are fancier, finer, or cheaper, but Butterfly Nail Plaza (love that) is the one I choose for consistently excellent service, wide open space, exceptional waxing and enough sit-back from the street that your neighbors won't gawk. Open 10am-8pm, 7:30pm Sundays.
Butterfly Nail Plaza Inc
725 Fulton Street
It's New York/Brooklyn and the competition for your nails (other bits too) is fierce. I'm sure there are salons in the neighborhood that are fancier, finer, or cheaper, but Butterfly Nail Plaza (love that) is the one I choose for consistently excellent service, wide open space, exceptional waxing and enough sit-back from the street that your neighbors won't gawk. Open 10am-8pm, 7:30pm Sundays.
Our dear library, beautifully sandwiched between 2 of our better playgrounds (Underwood and Greene) - a treasure. Not the hugest selection - for that walk the other way towards the Central Library - but nice big rug for the little ones to spread themselves on, AC in the summer, lots of activities year-round, wi-fi and big tables for working, bathrooms, helpful people and always a spot-on selection of books on display. Also, thanks to some proper funding, open 6 days a week (closed Sunday).
Brooklyn Public Library Clinton Hill Branch
380 Washington Avenue
Our dear library, beautifully sandwiched between 2 of our better playgrounds (Underwood and Greene) - a treasure. Not the hugest selection - for that walk the other way towards the Central Library - but nice big rug for the little ones to spread themselves on, AC in the summer, lots of activities year-round, wi-fi and big tables for working, bathrooms, helpful people and always a spot-on selection of books on display. Also, thanks to some proper funding, open 6 days a week (closed Sunday).
This is the nearest, largest, and most-ever-open grocery store a neighborhood could ask for - have yet to encounter it closed. Staff always very friendly and helpful. Constantly adding to the already crowded aisles and so stock everything from fresh meats/veggies/fruits, cheese selection, beers + chips, household supplies, ice cream...
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Key Food Supermarkets
991 Fulton Street
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This is the nearest, largest, and most-ever-open grocery store a neighborhood could ask for - have yet to encounter it closed. Staff always very friendly and helpful. Constantly adding to the already crowded aisles and so stock everything from fresh meats/veggies/fruits, cheese selection, beers + chips, household supplies, ice cream...
Exactly what you'd conjure for a neighborhood liquor store - location beside grocery store, well-edited/not overwhelming selection, employees well-versed and - in my small sampling - bottles remarkably well-priced (for the rent they must be paying). Their recommendations - single malts to red wines - have been spot on for us and they don't up-sell.
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Leon & Son Wine and Spirits
995 Fulton Street
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Exactly what you'd conjure for a neighborhood liquor store - location beside grocery store, well-edited/not overwhelming selection, employees well-versed and - in my small sampling - bottles remarkably well-priced (for the rent they must be paying). Their recommendations - single malts to red wines - have been spot on for us and they don't up-sell.
It's Target, it's close by, open early-late, has a pharmacy (CVS) and overflows with items as you'd expect - electronics, clothing for all age/size, homeware, stationery, some groceries/staples...Do NOT go, if you can avoid, on weekends - try for off-peak. 7am-midnight most day, pharmacy 10-6 most days.
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Target
139 Flatbush Avenue
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It's Target, it's close by, open early-late, has a pharmacy (CVS) and overflows with items as you'd expect - electronics, clothing for all age/size, homeware, stationery, some groceries/staples...Do NOT go, if you can avoid, on weekends - try for off-peak. 7am-midnight most day, pharmacy 10-6 most days.
Drinks & Nightlife
Very chill bar - cozy in winter and lots of outdoor seating in warm months. Big and good beer selection, also whiskey. And open LATE - like 3-4am late.
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Fulton Grand
1011 Fulton Street
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Very chill bar - cozy in winter and lots of outdoor seating in warm months. Big and good beer selection, also whiskey. And open LATE - like 3-4am late.
Tucked behind a nice food provisions store is this super-popular, young-skewing (but all welcome) bar with limited menu, lots of personality al inclusive bar games for all. Open till 1am.
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Mekelburg's
293 Grand Avenue
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Tucked behind a nice food provisions store is this super-popular, young-skewing (but all welcome) bar with limited menu, lots of personality al inclusive bar games for all. Open till 1am.
It doesn't quite seem a possible or a viable business - drinks inexpensive, vibe beyond laid-back (you can smoke!), staff so gentle you can nurse a sangria while the world hustles by. - but lo, it survives and thrives. Outdoor and indoor seating, food menu - I've only sampled the empenadas. Also art gallery + collective, schedule TONS of cool music (DJ Francis, Brooklyn Raga Massive), show movies and stay open an amazing portion of the day and night - 8am-1am, till 2am on Fri + Sat.
Art Cafe + Bar
884 Pacific St
It doesn't quite seem a possible or a viable business - drinks inexpensive, vibe beyond laid-back (you can smoke!), staff so gentle you can nurse a sangria while the world hustles by. - but lo, it survives and thrives. Outdoor and indoor seating, food menu - I've only sampled the empenadas. Also art gallery + collective, schedule TONS of cool music (DJ Francis, Brooklyn Raga Massive), show movies and stay open an amazing portion of the day and night - 8am-1am, till 2am on Fri + Sat.
And food too including soda bread + butter! Coziness incarnate, doesn't get sweeter. SUPER nice staff/owners with much knowledge but no affect. 4pm - 4am
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Hartley's
14 Putnam Ave
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And food too including soda bread + butter! Coziness incarnate, doesn't get sweeter. SUPER nice staff/owners with much knowledge but no affect. 4pm - 4am
Because its hours are 4pm-4am might be enough for most folks, but the pinball, beer and vibe are your icing. A little past the overpass entrance to the Franklin C stop, if you reach Magic Joe Shoes you've gone too far. Has TV too.
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Glorietta Baldy
502 Franklin Avenue
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Because its hours are 4pm-4am might be enough for most folks, but the pinball, beer and vibe are your icing. A little past the overpass entrance to the Franklin C stop, if you reach Magic Joe Shoes you've gone too far. Has TV too.
Parks & Nature
A little gem on a hill. Another Olmstead winner. Small but enough space and different areas/zones to accommodate most. Quiet and less-visited, well-shaded, field is on the north side (towards Myrtle) while the heavily trafficked south side stays busy with 4 tennis courts, playground, "dust-bowl" soccer fields and dogs off leashes before 9am. The Visitors Center (with bathrooms!) sits atop the hill (by the monument) and has guides to the park, including a "tree Walk" as well as slideshow of park's past. Don't miss Green Market along its Washington Avenue side on Saturday mornings - fine people watching with your cider.
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Fort Greene Park
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A little gem on a hill. Another Olmstead winner. Small but enough space and different areas/zones to accommodate most. Quiet and less-visited, well-shaded, field is on the north side (towards Myrtle) while the heavily trafficked south side stays busy with 4 tennis courts, playground, "dust-bowl" soccer fields and dogs off leashes before 9am. The Visitors Center (with bathrooms!) sits atop the hill (by the monument) and has guides to the park, including a "tree Walk" as well as slideshow of park's past. Don't miss Green Market along its Washington Avenue side on Saturday mornings - fine people watching with your cider.
Our own Botanic Garden - uniquely Brooklyn-scale. (Not to be confused with the also wondrous but FAR and LARGE New York Botanical Garden.) Our own Botanic Garden is an easy stroll up Washington Ave, or a skip on the S (Shuttle train from Franklin stop). If you enter via its main entrance - behind Brooklyn Museum and through their swoopy new Visitors Center - the Koi Pond will be a first encounter on your right as you descend the first tiny hill. Enormous koi, stoic turtles and a setting zooms you elsewhere. Just one of the garden's gajillion hilights - don't miss the bonsais, the newish/very cool Children's area. Also, the cafe has good, healthy, not-crap food items on its menu, and beer.
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Botanic Garden
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Our own Botanic Garden - uniquely Brooklyn-scale. (Not to be confused with the also wondrous but FAR and LARGE New York Botanical Garden.) Our own Botanic Garden is an easy stroll up Washington Ave, or a skip on the S (Shuttle train from Franklin stop). If you enter via its main entrance - behind Brooklyn Museum and through their swoopy new Visitors Center - the Koi Pond will be a first encounter on your right as you descend the first tiny hill. Enormous koi, stoic turtles and a setting zooms you elsewhere. Just one of the garden's gajillion hilights - don't miss the bonsais, the newish/very cool Children's area. Also, the cafe has good, healthy, not-crap food items on its menu, and beer.
Arts & Culture
A handsome building with the cool light effects on its facade and grand lobby within. Wonderful theaters usually showing the indies/foreigns/critic picks as well as rotating film festivals. Upstairs is BAM Cafe, open till 11 on Fridays and Saturdays with food, drinks and music.
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Brooklyn Academy of Music
30 Lafayette Avenue
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A handsome building with the cool light effects on its facade and grand lobby within. Wonderful theaters usually showing the indies/foreigns/critic picks as well as rotating film festivals. Upstairs is BAM Cafe, open till 11 on Fridays and Saturdays with food, drinks and music.
Yet another Brooklyn treasure that rivals its larger/fuller Manhattan rivals with its approachable and Brooklyn-relevant shows, its NOT-over-crowdedness, kid friendly weekend activities and good food options.
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Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Pkwy
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Yet another Brooklyn treasure that rivals its larger/fuller Manhattan rivals with its approachable and Brooklyn-relevant shows, its NOT-over-crowdedness, kid friendly weekend activities and good food options.
More than a gallery, located in a 25,000-square-foot manufacturing warehouse with garden and a shape-shifting calendar of events, programs, artists and exhibits. In their own words: "Pioneer Works is a center for research and experimentation in contemporary culture. Through a broad range of educational programs, performances, arts and science residencies, and exhibitions, Pioneer Works seeks to transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries, foster community, and provide a space where alternative modes of thought are supported and activated in tangible ways." Open daily 12-8pm, closed Monday and Tuesday.
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Pioneer Works
159 Pioneer St
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More than a gallery, located in a 25,000-square-foot manufacturing warehouse with garden and a shape-shifting calendar of events, programs, artists and exhibits. In their own words: "Pioneer Works is a center for research and experimentation in contemporary culture. Through a broad range of educational programs, performances, arts and science residencies, and exhibitions, Pioneer Works seeks to transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries, foster community, and provide a space where alternative modes of thought are supported and activated in tangible ways." Open daily 12-8pm, closed Monday and Tuesday.
Overseen by Philip Grausman’s magnificent sculpture of Leucantha, the garden is a gem with 50+ sculptures dotting the campus lawns. You (and your kids) are free to roam, lie amongst, contemplate from vantage of a bench or sketch - just DO NOT TOUCH THE SCULPTURES, or face a finger wagging. Other than that, couldn't be quieter and highly recommend. From their literature: "Pratt' s entire Brooklyn campus is home to the Pratt Sculpture Park, the largest in New York City, and has featured sculptures by such artists as Richard Serra, Donald Lipski, and Mark di Suvero. The Pratt Sculpture Park is curated by Professor David Weinrib and was recognized as one of the 10 best college and university campus art collections in the country."
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Pratt Institute
200 Willoughby Ave
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Overseen by Philip Grausman’s magnificent sculpture of Leucantha, the garden is a gem with 50+ sculptures dotting the campus lawns. You (and your kids) are free to roam, lie amongst, contemplate from vantage of a bench or sketch - just DO NOT TOUCH THE SCULPTURES, or face a finger wagging. Other than that, couldn't be quieter and highly recommend. From their literature: "Pratt' s entire Brooklyn campus is home to the Pratt Sculpture Park, the largest in New York City, and has featured sculptures by such artists as Richard Serra, Donald Lipski, and Mark di Suvero. The Pratt Sculpture Park is curated by Professor David Weinrib and was recognized as one of the 10 best college and university campus art collections in the country."
Shopping
Extremely healthy independent bookseller popular with all ages. All the inventory you'd hope for including lots on Brooklyn/New York guidebooks and maps, cards, moleskin everything and little Mr. Men books at the front.
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Greenlight Bookstore (Fulton Street)
686 Fulton St
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Extremely healthy independent bookseller popular with all ages. All the inventory you'd hope for including lots on Brooklyn/New York guidebooks and maps, cards, moleskin everything and little Mr. Men books at the front.
Tiny, easy to miss women's clothing store. Well curated basics, stocks some European brands, also good for accessories and bags. And very nice/no push people work there.
Cloth
138 Fort Greene Place
Tiny, easy to miss women's clothing store. Well curated basics, stocks some European brands, also good for accessories and bags. And very nice/no push people work there.
Super well-edited: Ulla Johnson, number 6 clogs, a detacher et al. A Brooklyn institution in its newest outpost of the original Williamsburg store. Mostly women's but also some men's and accessories.
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Bird Brooklyn - Fort Greene
85 Lafayette Ave
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Super well-edited: Ulla Johnson, number 6 clogs, a detacher et al. A Brooklyn institution in its newest outpost of the original Williamsburg store. Mostly women's but also some men's and accessories.
Getting Around
C Train - entrance for Manhattan-bound trains on north side of street, towards Coney Island/JFK etc. on south side. Entrance closer to our house is at corner of Washington and Fulton.
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Clinton - Washington Av.
Fulton Street
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C Train - entrance for Manhattan-bound trains on north side of street, towards Coney Island/JFK etc. on south side. Entrance closer to our house is at corner of Washington and Fulton.