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Downtown Brooklyn

THE VIBE: This district feels more commercial than most, dominated as it is by the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower – an architectural icon from the Twenties and one of the tallest four-sided clock towers in the world – and legions of high street shops, including Target (, which New Yorkers are fond of pronouncing “Tarjay” in much the same way a Londoner might refer to Primark as “Primarni”. Expect a better bargain here than at Bloomingdales.

DON’T MISS: There are two crucial stops to make in this ‘hood. One is Junior’s (, famous for baking the best cheesecake in Brooklyn (or, as they insist, “the world’s most fabulous cheesecake”) since 1950 – one story even has it that the diner caught fire in 1981 and attracted a crowd of people chanting “save the cheesecake!”.

The other is the Brooklyn Academy of Music, better known as BAM ( The multi-arts centre, at 150 years old, is America’s oldest and has a great programme of film, theatre, dance and music. A recent run of Faust: A Love Story – an aerial circus reimagining of Goethe’s Faust set to music by Nick Cave – is typical of BAM’s edgy offerings and tickets to most shows start at just £15, making it a far more affordable option than Broadway.

Park Slope

THE VIBE: This neighbourhood in western Brooklyn is the picture of middle class suburbia, NYC-style; far from coming off as dull, the clichéd effects of increased affluence (farmers’ markets, community food co-ops, yummy mummies) are offset by a creative culinary scene and lots of green spaces. It’s also a great spot for seeing historic Brooklyn brownstones – the streets are lined with the borough’s distinctive terraced housing, built from brown sandstone.

DON’T MISS: An entrenched New York tradition is going out for brunch at the weekend – always paired with a bloody mary or a mimosa – and Park Slope offers some of the city’s best.

Try hot new opening Talde (, the brainchild of Asian-American Top Chef contestant Dale Talde, which offers a breakfasty riff on classic Asian dishes. Sure, breakfast ramen (buttered toast broth, honey-glazed bacon, six-minute egg) and spicy Korean chicken wings with waffles drenched in coconut brown butter syrup might sound weird, but boy, do they work.

Then walk it off at Prospect Park (, designed by the guys behind Central Park. It’s a more manageable space than its big brother (585 acres to Central’s 843), perfect for a mellow stroll or a game of Frisbee, or stopping by the baseball fields to spectate in the sunshine. Bliss.


Big Trip: Forget Manhattan - Mosey over to Brooklyn for a real New York experience
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