We made our way down Flatbush Ave. The day, now completely sunny, was also warmer than I had expected. The traffic in New York is crazy. People are aggressive and always in a hurry.
We passed the Greenmarket at Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Park Zoo, and the very many shops and restaurants found along Flatbush Ave. A wrong turn took us over the Brooklyn Bridge again, which was not our plan, so we decided to park and walk back. We found parking only a block from City Hall which was super convenient as the entrance to the bridge’s promenade is located on Park Row, across from it.
With the boys in the double stroller, we started making our way across the bridge. There was a nice breeze blowing and tons of people walking. The boys loved watching the traffic as it moved on each side of them. But we really liked looking at the water and the boats, as well as the helicopters from the nearby heliport flying by. My husband and I loved taking in the views from the bridge of the city.
After reaching the other side I was impressed with all the new stores and businesses that I found. Places that weren’t there since my last visit. There used to be nothing on this side of the Brooklyn Bridge. Old factories and abandoned spaces previously considered to be the sanctuary for artists seeking inexpensive studio spaces and homes have been transformed into condos, promenades, and parks, and the neighborhood Down Under the Manhattan Bride Overpass, DUMBO, established in the late 1970s, quickly became popular with the more affluent New Yorkers in search of more space. Everything here represents the “new” Brooklyn, though if you look hard enough you can still see signs of its old self.
We hung out at the newly established Brooklyn Bridge playground, named one of New York Magazine’s Best Playground 2009 for a long while, with us parents actually sitting and resting on one of the many benches as the boys jumped, crawled, dug, and ran through the nautical-themed playground and its sand box. I was approached by a few moms (it’s always a conversation started with, “Wow, your sons’ hair is so amazing!”) and enjoyed some small talk as we watched our children play.
We decided to start heading towards the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge, towards the area of Brooklyn Heights where “old” and “new” meet. We grabbed a snack and made our way back to the city before the boys got tired and cranky.
Had it been a weekday, we might have settled for pizza at Grimaldi’s, (Est. 1905) and though it is has great pizza, the lines are often ridiculously long and we weren’t in the mood. We walked past The River Cafe (Est. 1977), where I am still waiting to have a romantic dinner date with my husband. The boys got to see the water taxi as it departed the pier and we sat taking in the last rays of sun before it set, eating the delicious ice cream by the dock.
The walk back across the bridge seemed shorter, despite how tired everyone was at this point. We talked about our day, as the 2-year-old, caressed by the cool soft breeze, fell asleep in the stroller and the 3.5 year old silently sat, exhaustion written all over his face.
It was great to revisit Brooklyn, to be reminded of how great it is, to have encountered such great people along the way and to return to some favorite local spots and discover some new ones.