After a nice lunch with a friend at Cafe Lafayette in Brooklyn this afternoon, I felt like taking a walk. Though it was chilly, the sun was bright, and the insane winds had died down. I wanted to walk without too much over-determination (otherwise, a stroll becomes too much work) and just drift. I wanted to see new streets and sidewalks, Really, all I require in a New York walk is knowing the location of a subway station that I know can take me home.
As a resident of Manhattan, I often guilt-trip myself about Brooklyn, thinking I should be more familiar with places like Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, or Carroll Gardens. I'm vague about the neighborhood of Williamsburg, the home of most everyone I meet under the age of 29. I know the borough's facts - that Brooklyn is New York's most populous borough with two and a half million residents and that it is pretty, with trees, and very literary and full of famous and talented people, and if counted by itself, it would be the fourth largest city in the United States. I know this, but my knowledge of the borough is admittedly shallow, built upon familiarity with Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo, some streets in Park Slope and several sections of Prospect Park. On every trip to Brooklyn, when I step out of the subway, I am shocked to see the presence of so much sky.
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I'm trying to walk off my guilty unfamiliarity with Brooklyn one step at a time, and so following last week's excursion to Myrtle Avenue and Fort Greene, today I explored blocks of Atlantic Avenue, Cobble Hill, and Carroll Gardens. I mainly wanted to see Carroll Gardens at the end of my walk, because I'm attracted by the idea of these beautiful brownstones set back far from the street. The spaces in front allow for gardens. Along the way, as I passed by a couple of urban gardening shops, I remembered that the average last frost date is still six weeks off but that I couldn't wait for spring.
Look at these pictures. Isn't Brooklyn fabulous?
See how youthful Brooklyn brings us fabulous food in the article "Brooklyn's New Culinary Movement" from The New York Times, 2/24/09. Includes another interactive map.
Images by Walking Off the Big Apple from February 24, 2009.