Saturday, September 8, 2012

Day 2 NYC - Brooklyn on Foot

Home Made Catering/Wine Bar and hidden on the
far right is the door we go in to access our 3rd story flat.
When I rolled out of bed at 10 a.m., the rain was pouring down, but you could see the clouds were thinning and sure enough, the sun was soon shining.  We are situated in a beautiful 1 bedroom apartment on the 3rd floor of an old building in Brooklyn booked through AirBandB.  The owners live on the 2nd floor and run the Home Made Catering and Wine Bar on the first floor.  Our first night we spent on their back patio drinking wine and eating fabulous crispy flat-bread pizza.

Day 2 found us lazing in the morning, so the 3 of us didn't get out until about 12:30.  First destination?  Trader Joe's, the destination grocery store for those wanting healthy options. It was about a 1.5K walk through the neighborhood which gave us a chance to get a feel for the area.  It was busy when we entered, but within 30 minutes it was packed.  You would hardly get up and down the aisles and the 30 checkouts - yes 30 - were all full.  The line snacked around the store, but with 30 friendly cashiers working at top speed, we were out in no time.  However, there was no way we could walk home. Each of us had filled 4 bags with healthy eating options, so a cab ride back to the apartment was a sheer necessity.


After a bit of down time, some lunch and a beer, I was feeling antsy to get out with my camera and explore.  I plotted the course to the nearest subway station (1.4K away - so just under 3K round trip) and decided I would use the walk to take some interesting pics of what I saw as well as pick up my Metro Pass so I could hit the road early in the morning.  The walk to the station was fabulous and I snapped a lot of photos of the rundown part of the area as well as some of the different housing I saw.

A row of rundown buildings near
where we are staying.
How weird - Red Hook is a Bait & Tackle Shop -
Bar - Fishing Club!




I love the way the old road surface shows here
Abandoned Dock Building

This may look run-down to you, but the wall
looks like art to me. :)
First was the older section where many parts had not been renovated. Then I slowly moved into nicer and nicer neighborhoods as I continued on.  While the doors of businesses that were closed continued to have metal pull down security bars, there were interesting shops and I saw 2 surprising city gardens.  My favourite was the Summit Street Garden.

A beautiful example of a renovated building
Beautifully fixed up - notice the metal
security gate over the entry way.
Entry way to Summit Garden
Row housing is the norm in this area, but there is a definite mix from the traditional brick to more smooth facades that when touched feel like a fine sand stucco.  I love looking up a tree-lined street and seeing the rows of stairs and occasionally residents with no air conditioner sitting out on the steps.  Most of these buildings do not have air conditioning, so portable units appear in at least half of the windows.  We have 2 units where we are staying, but the one in the living room is so loud I keep turning it off.







Note the window A/C units and fire escape.
Only house like this I saw - really
stood out
Now to a few shops caught my eye.  I loved the Jersey Pork Store below with the giant pink pig statue out front.  The By Brooklyn Fine Goods store is here because of their crazy window display.  I have no idea what those fabric puffs are supposed to represent, but as far as I can tell they have no relation to anything inside.  Mongo Boutique (Vintage, Recycled, Art, Fair Trade, Handmade) on Smith Street was the most interesting store I saw today, but at the point I passed it, it was pouring rain and I was soaked. I am headed back another day to explore inside.  I also love the store that left up the original sign - Frank's Department Store - with a new sign underneath, Brooklyn General.  Looking through the window you see it is actually a very modern yarn, fabric and dry goods store.




Storefront with old sign on left - looking through the window you see a modern yarn/quilt store.
Things took a turn for the worse eventually. What was supposed to be a 2.5 K round trip to the subway station and back went terribly wrong when I reached the first station.  It was closed on the weekends.  Same for the 2nd.  The 3rd was open, but the machine had just broken so I couldn't purchase the pass anyway.  By this point I had gone about 2.5 K away from the apartment.  Giving up in defeat, I came out of the subway and walked about a block when the skies opened and it poured rain.  This storm was unexpected as it was beautiful when I started out.  With a white t-shirt and bra, I was quickly looking very sexy cowering under the overhang of a building.  Fortunately the storm passed quickly and I made it back with very tired feet and a lot of nice photos.

Love the mix here.

Bagel shop with ATM, Heineken and
a Satellite TV antenna!


Love the metal security door painted green.

Mural adverstising Red Hook which is the
name of the area we are staying in.






















Loved this auto repair/gas station with graffiti
murals on all the bay doors.
Hard to tell what I'll feel like in the morning after walking about 6.5 K today, but tomorrow is my first tourist day and I am determined.  I have MOMA on my mind!

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