So you are on your way to the Big Apple, New York City, my hometown. There are virtually endless options to do in Manhattan, and though that borough is the main attraction for visitors and tourists coming to New York City, there are many other things to do and see in the other boroughs of this great city.
Here is my list of the top 9 sights to see in Brooklyn, NY, as it would apply for daytime, sightseeing, snapping-pictures-with-the-kids sort of situations:
- Coney Island – Coney Island was once the vacation spot for wealthy people in the northern part of the Eastern Seaboard. It is remembered in mid-20th century history as the sin capital, before Vegas took over, offering sideshows, circuses, and all sorts of entertainment which was borderline taboo in its heyday. Now, Coney Island is reemerging to be a great destination once again: with a nod to its past, but with reinvention of certain aspects. The beach is a nice one, and the boardwalk is great for people watching and some great Russian food as you get closer to the Brighton Beach end. Along the boardwalk, you can find an entrance to the New York Aquarium. Stroll on over to Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park to see the famous Wonder Wheel, and then continue to the next lot to ride the rickety Cyclone coaster, located adjacent to the Astroland Amusement Park. Read more about Coney Island in this article.
Brooklyn Bridge Park– This park is brand new, and in fact, as of the date of this article, it is still somewhat under construction. The first phase is complete, and the park boasts one of the most beautiful views in the city of the Manhattan skyline. Located near the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, it is always crowded with couples and tourists snapping that quintessential photo of the NYC skyline beyond. Jane’s Carousel is a special little wonder worth the visit itself.
- Brooklyn Museum – This museum holds New York City’s second-largest art collection, with over 1.5 million works inside. The building itself is quite beautiful for its architecture, but the priceless work inside blows the exterior away. Check out the specialized areas of the Museum, namely the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art and the collections of Pacific Islands art.
- Brooklyn Heights Promenade – As romantic a spot to stroll as the best in Manhattan, Paris, or London, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade offers benches to sit on or a stone path to walk, all with the Manhattan skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty right across the East River.
- Prospect Park – The largest park in the Borough of BK, Prospect Park has more to do inside than most other parks. Designed by the same guys as Manhattan’s Central Park, Prospect Park has many similar wooded areas, ball courts, and Brooklyn’s only lake, similar to its big sister across the East River. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Prospect Park Zoo, and the first urban Audubon Center are all located within its boundaries.
- Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) – BAM is the most famous performing arts venue in Brooklyn, as well as America’s oldest performing arts center. BAM is renowned worldwide for its numerous cultural and educational programs.
- Flatbush Avenue – If you want to immerse yourself in West Indian and Caribbean life and culture, come to Flatbush Avenue, from around Prospect Park to Kings Highway. If you only want a taste, don’t bother, because this is the real experience. From Jamaican vendors peddling their wares on the sidewalks to Haitian drivers in the 15-seat, $2 vans that drive recklessly up and down the avenue every 10 seconds, this is a feel for the true Caribbean culture. There is some great food on this street, and many shops dedicated to specialties from the region, such as voodoo.
- MTA Transit Museum– The NY Transit Museum, located in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, is actually the decommissioned space of an old subway station. The platform of the former Court St. station is now used as its main aisle, with history and artifacts of the MTA and the subway’s history on the walls.
- Belt Parkway Promenade – This is a long piece of prime waterfront walkway paths, located on the southwestern tip of Brooklyn. The centerpiece is the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the majestic giant spanning the water between Brooklyn and Staten Island. The Belt Parkway Promenade is great for strolling, jogging, and biking, as it stretches for over 4 miles in length. Many benches are set up along the path, where you can watch cruise ships and barges drift slowly in and out under the bridge. There is also a bit of information about some of the marine life in the water, scattered throughout on different pieces of the guardrail; fisherman are often seen throwing their rods into the water for sport.