New York City is like a book with many chapters and hundreds of pages. The list of characters is endless. Those who skip out on visiting Brooklyn and Queens are missing a big piece of the story of the city, these two most important chapters are often overlooked. The story changes every day. For the tourist, it can be difficult to navigate a city with so many things going on and many people stick to the comfortable places, never leaving the island of Manhattan. At least to the outsider, Brooklyn and Queens are intimidating. This is my love letter to experiences on the other side of the East River; Brooklyn, Queens, and a baseball game.
For those willing to take a chance, there is plenty to be rewarded by. This is where the beating heart of the city that can be found here. Maybe start with easy-to-find places like the Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Waterfront and branch outward, explore a little bit further. One thing I’ve always enjoyed doing is to set my sights on some out-of-the-way craft brewery and then wandered elsewhere. Brooklyn and Queens are two magical places, both made up of a patchwork of hundreds of smaller communities where the boundaries are blurred.
It’s a shame that more visitors don’t make the trip across the East River. In some ways, it’s understandable due to the fact that there are so many incredible attractions in Manhattan. This is where you can find iconic landmarks like the Empire State Building, Grand Central Station, or Times Square. This is a post about taking a chance. Next time you cross the Brooklyn Bridge, take a chance and walk a little bit further. Leave the tourists behind and come see where the New Yorkers live.
What makes Brooklyn & Queens so amazing?
Even after several trips to New York, I’m still very much a newbie. I consider myself lucky to have made friends that made the choice to live in New York. This has made visiting the city significantly more affordable and absolutely a lot more fun. Especially once my friends moved to cool neighbourhoods in Brooklyn and Queens (with amazing rooftop views for sunset pictures). Having friends with views is always a good idea.
New York is a city filled with off-the-beaten-track places known only to the locals. Because I often travel to New York to visit friends, I was shown more places outside of Manhattan sooner than I might have discovered on my own. There are wacky and weird bars and cafes and movie theatres like Nighthawk Cinema with full-service restaurants serving meals.
The first time I visited New York City I did not step foot in Brooklyn, despite walking across the East River via the Brooklyn Bridge. It wasn’t until my second trip, that I even visited Brooklyn. This was 3 am and we were on our way to a bar that was also an arcade; the aptly named Barcade. From what I remember, it was one of the best bars I’ve ever been to. We were out until 6 in the morning and our hangovers would soon be a problem for the sunlight versions of ourselves.
Since then, I’ve made a point of visiting Brooklyn and leaving my comfort zone as often as possible. It’s easy to find an adventure in New York.
Old Yankee Stadium
One of the things that New Yorkers are spoiled with is sports. Within reasonable distance, there are several major league sports teams, including 2 NFL, 3 NHL, 2 NBA, 2 MLB, and 2 MLS teams. While each of these teams has a unique history connected to the city, few can compare with the legacy of the New York Yankees.
Yankee Stadium was one of the great stadiums in America. It was home to the New York Yankees from 1923 until 2009 and hosted over 6500 Yankees games during its history. It was known as the House that Babe Ruth built, due to the fact that the famous slugger was at its peak during the grand opening of the stadium. While the Yankees still play nearby, the stadium is no more. In 2009, it was replaced with a 2.3 billion dollar stadium next to this original site and was demolished two years later.
I was lucky to visit this famous stadium during a trip to New York in 2008. This was the night after we visited Barcade (the bar/arcade in Williamsburg) so by the time we arrived at the stadium for the afternoon matinee, our hangovers had fully set in and the first 3 innings had already passed. We still got to see a grand slam and a stunning finish in which the Royals beat the Yankees 9-8.
On the plus side, he had been given really incredible seats by a collogue at work, and we were pretty amazed as we walked down towards these incredible seats. The view of the game was priceless. Sitting on the third baseline was a big deal and likely a once and a lifetime experience, even more so now that the stadium has officially been demolished.
Where are Brooklyn & Queens and how do you get there?
Brooklyn and Queens are off the beaten track for most visitors to NYC and those who make the trip across the East River will be rewarded for their efforts. This is where the real New York is. New York City has five major Burroughs, and each of these contains countless different neighbourhoods side by side. You could spend a year in New York and still not be able to cover everything.
A good place to start is to find a museum or a craft brewery you want to visit and then figure out how to get there. We’re probably only one more trip away from showcasing a Craft Beer travel guide for Brooklyn and Queens, and there are many great museums to check out.
Whatever you do, find a reason to cross the river to Brooklyn. Maybe you’ve walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and you’re ready to just keep going a little further. We’ve enjoyed several incredible meals and gone for some long and interesting walks through Brooklyn and Queens. If you ever get lost or need a change of scenery, there is often a subway station a few steps away and you can whisk yourself to somewhere new and exciting.