Brooklyn Buzz

Here is a view of the Brooklyn Bridge and downtown Brooklyn (taken from atop of from Manhattan’s Empire State Building.) Photo by Michael Reiss

It’s no secret that Brooklyn has arrived. No stepchild to Manhattan, its got its own vib, its own jive, and its own loyal denizens who choose this borough as their home.

If this is your first time, jump start your visit to Brooklyn with tour guide Matt of Levys’ Unique New York Tours. He will show you the ropes, regale you with history, lore and more, as you taste your way through some of the best bites in the borough.

Matt starts or ends his Brooklyn tour in an upcoming part of town called Sunset Gardens. This is a working class neighborhood in transition with authentic, down home charm and a bit of grit thrown in for good measure. You’ll climb to the top of Sunset Park for a panoramic view of Manhattan and New Jersey, and you’ll taste some of the best bocadillos this side of Mexico.

Then you’ll continue the tour, and you’ll hop on the local subway and head to downtown Brooklyn where you’ll get your fill of those famous brownstones and a look at the river front and the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. All along, your guide will share tons of information and plenty of local tastes that will make you feel right at home in this fascinating city.

Walking Across the Brooklyn Bridge to Brooklyn from Manhattan is on many visitors’ “must do” lists. Photo by Michael Reiss

While in Brooklyn you might consider a stay at the Wyndham Garden Brooklyn Sunset Park. Located right in the center of the Sunset Park neighborhood, you’ll feel like a hip, in-the-know resident rather than a tourist. This is where the new generation of artistic types live under the radar among the international mix of folks all striving to make the American dream their reality.

The Wyndham Garden Brooklyn Sunset Park has a cool, contemporary look and a comfortable, casual vib. The rooms are streamlined with built in shelves that make for an efficient use of space. All the amenities–including robes, coffee makers, comfy beds and a restaurant/bar–are on offer, with plenty of the local atmosphere that may be missing from some of the more gentrified parts of town.

For good measure, take an Urban Adventures culinary tour to deliciously immerse yourself into the diversity of tastes that Brooklyn makes. Your gourmet guide, in this case, Verena, will meet and greet you at Stinky Brooklyn, one of the many successful entrepreneurial ventures that make the city so culinarily unique. The owners opened a wine shop, then decided they needed cheese (stinky), then added mostly locally made products and beverages to enhance the basics. Now it is a showcase for homemade goodies that the borough produces.

That’s just one of the many stops that brings the Brooklyn borough to life with the stories of the place, the people, and the products–all expertly narrated by seasoned guides who know their beat. This three  hour walking tour traverses many neighborhoods to find some of the oldest, newest, and most unique examples of what makes Brooklyn buzz.

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To put “the frosting on the cake,” for your Brooklyn tour take in the “Dinner Party,” a thoughtful sculptural work of art by Judy Chicago, which is on permanent exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum and stroll over to the Botanic Garden, right next door, to cap off your visit with some locally produced fare at the Yellow Magnolia Cafe.

For more suggestions check out the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and Explore Brooklyn.

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