BROOKLYN – THE COLORFUL AND DIVERSE SIDE OF NEW YORK
When you think of New York City today, the first thing that comes to mind is Manhattan. It almost seems as if this city district is perceived from the outside as identical to the metropolis on the Hudson. But that was not always the case, and most importantly: the emphasis has now shifted again. The big winner in this process is Brooklyn.
Not even 30 years ago Brooklyn was a “no-go area” – too dangerous, too rough, too dark and too poor for tourists or rich New Yorkers. No taxi driver in Manhattan was willing to take a passenger over the Brooklyn Bridge at the time and anyone who wanted to try it on their own was seriously warned. Today it’s all yesterday’s news. According to acronymmonster, Brooklyn has become one of the most exciting boroughs in New York. It is no longer just the alternative life that rages here, but investments are also made here without end. Meanwhile, rents and land prices are rising, prominent artists live here and there are city tours in buses that depart from Manhattan. But despite all that, Brooklyn is still a piece of New York that is very original, very modest, colorful and diverse. Brooklyn is New York City, but different.
From Breukelen to Brooklyn
It was the Dutch who were the first Europeans to settle the area around Long Island in the mid-17th century. One part they called Nieuw-Amsterdam, the part on the other side of the river was named Breukelen, named after their hometown near Utrecht. The Dutch did not enjoy the promising start-ups for very long. They soon lost the area to the English, who claimed ever larger parts of the New World for themselves.
After the Dutch lost their colony, New Amsterdam was renamed New York in honor of the former capital of the English Kingdom. The new masters cared less about Breukelen. So the name stayed and only changed to Brockland, then Brocklin, Brookline and finally to today’s Brooklyn. As a result, big money was made in Manhattan and hard work was done in Brooklyn. This is where the huge slaughterhouses, breweries, shipyards and many other industrial facilities were built that were needed in Manhattan but did not want on their own territory. Brooklyn remained an independent city until 1898, when it was finally incorporated at the turn of the century.
For many expats looking for a future in America, Brooklyn became a new home. There was a lot of work here, there was cheap living space. Whether Italians or Germans, whether Scandinavians, Afro-American or Jews; in Brooklyn there was space for everyone and for peaceful coexistence in which each other’s peculiarities were respected. To this day, many parts of the city have been shaped by this tolerance, the uniqueness of the population groups and this time of change.
In between, however, there were really dark times. Brooklyn’s decline began with the end of World War II. Suddenly the entire world political and economic situation changed and much of what had been produced in Brooklyn was now cheaper, sometimes better, elsewhere. Factories became fallow, much fell into disrepair and overgrown. It took several decades for the change for the better to begin in the 1990s. It still hasn’t reached all of Brooklyn. So far, the satellite towns in East New York, which still have high unemployment and great poverty, have benefited the least.
Hotels, apartments and holiday homes
Hotels, apartments and vacation rentals in Brooklyn can be found on the booking portal www.booking.com.
Through different worlds by bus
You can get an uncomplicated first impression of Brooklyn during a city tour. The book online and can then sit comfortably on the bus. There you can also choose where you want to start your tour. Alternatively, you can take the subway to Brooklyn and start a tour there. The advantage of driving from Manhattan, however, is that you drive over the legendary Brooklyn Bridge, which everyone has probably seen in a movie before. The tour takes you through the traditional Jewish neighborhoods and the chic new areas, from which you can enjoy great views of the New York skyline.
Brooklyn is an explorer’s paradise. There are plenty of independent shops and workshops here, and great little cafés and restaurants are lined up here. Just like in Manhattan, all the kitchens in the world are at home in Brooklyn – but often (still) much cheaper than on the opposite bank of the river. Good food and drink, young designers and fashion designers get to know all that is possible in a cozy and personal atmosphere. This also applies to art. In the AIR Gallery (www.airgallery.org) snootiness is a foreign word, visitors are really welcome guests there. It is not uncommon for the artists who are currently exhibiting there to be actually present and not to be detrimental for a little chat.
The Brooklyn Museum is a bit more established (www.brooklynmuseum.org) to. This house is after all the second largest museum in New York City and it presents its own collections from ancient Egypt and Asia. Paintings and sculptures from the 19th and 20th centuries will also be shown on an equal footing; including works by such big names as Georgia O’Keeffe and Robert Rauschenberg. A visit is definitely worth it; not least because of the constantly changing, very demanding special exhibitions.
A final word
Times have changed, but one thing has stayed the same: to this day, yellow New York taxis are reluctant to drive to and around Brooklyn. But that is no longer a problem. Brooklyn taxis have been around for some time. They are green and you can stop them on the street just like their yellow counterparts on the other side of the East River.
Brooklyn in a nutshell
- City tours through Brooklyn also start from Mahattan, they lead over the legendary Brooklyn Bridge
- Contemporary artists exhibit in the AIR Gallery (11 Front Street)
- The Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway) displays art from the 19th and 20th centuries and is New York City’s second largest museum
The Brooklyn Bridge for tourists
The Brooklyn Bridge is at least as famous as the Empire State Building and is one of the absolute landmarks and sights in New York City and the USA. Crossing the bridge and looking out over the area are just a part of a visit to New York. The bridge is accessible at any time of the day or night and offers countless opportunities to take great selfies or panoramic shots with the Manhattan skyline in the background. In addition, Brooklyn is always worth a visit. And if you long for a little relaxation, then why not pay a visit to Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Guided tours and tours
To enter the bridge with its impressive pylons and enjoy the view of the East River and the surrounding area, no entrance fee has to be paid. If you want, you can also explore the Brooklyn Bridge as part of a city tour on foot and by bike or take part in a GPS-activated audio tour. Not only can you enjoy the view, but you also have the opportunity to learn more about the history of the bridge.
Starting in Brooklyn or Manhattan?
To explore the Brooklyn Bridge, which stretches over the East River, on foot or while cycling, you can start to cross in either the Brooklyn or Manhattan boroughs. Which route over the landmark on the East River is better for pedestrians is a matter of taste. People who cross what is probably the most famous bridge in the city towards Manhattan have the advantage that they can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Manhattan skyline during their stay. The impressive view from the building is simply a dream. The evening is the best time to take a walk when the sun’s light slowly fades and sunset begins.
Tip : Be sure to take a jacket with you when crossing. It gets chilly quickly on the bridge.
Start in Brooklyn
The Brooklyn Bridge Promenade pedestrian walk begins at the intersection of Tillary Street and Adams Street or Boerum Street. However, pedestrians can also use a shortcut to the footpath. If you are coming from the A or C line, simply take the High Street exit. Access to the footpath is around 400 meters north of the station. You will immediately see in which direction to run.
And don’t forget to check out Dumbo when you’re around. Dumbo is certainly one of the most interesting parts of the district. And also the Brooklyn Heights are always worth a visit. Here from the Heights you have an excellent view of Lower Manhattan. Do you love ice cream? Then indulge yourself in the indulgence Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory definitely not to be missed! The building is inconspicuously located in close proximity to the bridge. Excellent pizza near the bridge is available at Grimaldi’s pizza.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
The Brooklyn Bridge Park is a beautiful park on the water with rolling hills, beautiful waterfront promenades, fantastic gardens and a spectacular view of the city that never sleeps.
In spring, people can enjoy a sea of flowers while walking or taking a ride on the bike path from Pier 1 to Pier 6. From June to September there are free outdoor fitness classes. You can imagine the New York Classical Theater visit or take part in one of the guided tours through the beautiful park.
How to get to the Brooklyn Bridge
- By subway: The best way to get to the attraction is by taking the city subway. Take subway 4, 5 or 6 to Brooklyn Bridge / City Hall Station, N or R to City Hall, or subway 2 or 3 to Park Place.
- By Bus: The hop-on hop-off bus tours that are available around town all serve the attraction.
- By rental car: You can reach the Brooklyn Bridge by car or rental car. However, before you start driving, remember that there is usually a lot of traffic there and numerous vehicles are moving from A to B.
- By Taxi: Take a taxi to the Old City Hall Plaza, City Hall Park or Center Street at Spruce. Warning: Brooklyn Bridge is often not understood by drivers as the desired destination.
Further information: Access to the pedestrian bridge in the middle via the associated staircase is on the east side of the Old City Hall Plaza in Lower Manhattan. Access to the walkway from Brooklyn is available at the intersection of Tillary Street and Adams Street or Tillary Street and Boerum Place.