A few days in New York is never enough, in fact I don’t think a lifetime is enough to appreciate this amazing city. On my bucket-list for my last trip to the big apple was spending time across the river in Dumbo & venturing into Brooklyn, an area I’d never explored before. As luck had it, or didn’t have it in this case, my 4 day Brooklyn sejour was cut short to only a day but that didn’t mean that I couldn’t try and make the most of the 12 hours I did have!

Our first stop, fresh off the subway was Dumbo (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). Wandering down the streets checking out the hip families that have relocated to this neighbourhood it is easy to understand why it’s so popular; beautiful buildings, great cafes, lots of art galleries and community space… oh, and friendly people all around.

We headed towards the Brooklyn Bridge park to sit in the grass, take in the view and watch the early morning joggers run by. On entering the park there is only one thing I’m looking for – that iconic landscape of the city that never sleeps!

Having resisted the urge to Pony Up on the carousel (we would have been the oldest people on it by a good 25 years), we leave the park and head towards the Brooklyn Flea. It’s a nice day so we decide to walk rather than jump on the subway. We stop off at a cool new market built from discarded shipping containers called the Dekalb Market (138 Willoughby Street at Flatbush Ave) to pick up iced coffee. It’s a community initiative with lots of surprises ranging from an onsite radio station and a great urban farming project as well as a few great eateries, shops and cafes.

It’s a Saturday, meaning that the flea market is being held at Fort Greene (176 Lafayette Ave. btw. Clermont + Vanderbilt) – on a Sunday the market is in Williamsburg (East River Waterfront btw. North 6 + 7 St.) We get there early and wander quietly through the rows of sellers before the crowds arrive later in the afternoon. You can read lots more about the market here.

Having bought up too many vintage dresses and drooled over all the 50’s and 60’s kitchenware which sadly wouldn’t fit in my backpack, we decide to hop on the subway and head over to Williamsburg. On the way we spot lots of great community gardens – waste land that has been claimed back and turned into vegetable patches or just perfect places to hide away and read a book for a couple of hours.

Before I’d even bought my ticket to New York I knew where one of my major stop-off’s was going to be; none other than Beacons Closet. Their Williamsburg store is the biggest of their 3 in NY (situated at 88 n 11th street) and was the cavern of vintage treasures that I’d always imagined it to be. 2 hours of my life whizzed by in what seemed like 10 minutes and I was finally dragged away with a huge bundle of vintage (and newer designer pieces) for next to nothing. They also buy clothes too so if you’re short of a bit of cash on your travels why not think of selling some of your own clothes etc. before continuing on your adventures?

Wandering down Bedford avenue there were plenty of great shops, cafes and bars to duck in and out of – it was just great to walk and take in the atmosphere pretending that this is where I actually lived (one day I tell myself…) As the sun disappeared over the tops of the buildings we headed to The Rabbithole (352 Bedford Avenue) for dinner, beer and cocktails; they serve killer burgers and have a great terrace out back.

Photos via Bethany.K & me

At the end of the most perfect lazy day there was no better way to head back to Manhattan than to hop on the East River Ferry and sail back up to mid town.

Next time I’m in New York I’d love to have more time to spend in Brooklyn, a day was not nearly enough to get a feel for the place – have you got any tips to share with us?


lorna stokes

This post was written by Lorna Stokes, part of the travelettes team from 2009 to 2013.

Originally from the UK but currently based in Brussels after stints in Canada, Peru, Italy and a job for the French military, she’s always had an unquenchable thirst for exploring new places! She’s still travelling the world with her family so catch up with her adventures on Instagram & Twitter.