When you live in New York City, you’ll quickly learn that people love to say things like “Brooklyn is the new Manhattan,” or “Bushwick is so up-and-coming.” For out-of-towners, or even for New Yorkers, the truth is, you’re probably just confused. You’re coming to a city famous for its skyscrapers and massive tourist attractions and people are already yelling at you to get out of Manhattan. You’ve heard of Brooklyn (probably for all the wrong reasons), and everyone tells you to go to Brooklyn, but you’re still not sure what you should even be doing once you cross the river. Brooklyn is the center of a lot of sh#t going on in New York these days. Like how they just opened a new Whole Foods in Gowanus and how Bushwick is the next trendiest neighborhood (don’t worry, this changes every month). Locals and visitors tend to fall for Brooklyn for it’s creative, bohemian vibe, cheaper prices, and quirky things to do; and they should, because Brooklyn really does have it goin’ on, but if and only if you are aware of the cool things to do in Brooklyn before you make the trip.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT SKATE
When I moved to New York City, I was sure that in a city of eight million people, someone would own a skating rink. WRONG. Renting a space large enough for a decent-sized roller rink would cost mega bucks in New York City, hence why this “roller rink” is not actually a roller rink, but in a Salvation Army gymnasium. And I loved it. A quick turnoff of the lights, a shimmering disco ball, and “Blow” by Beyoncé blaring from the stereo system by DJ Big Bob, and they’ll have you feeling like you’re Lil’ Bow Wow in Roll Bounce.
If only that were the case…
Open skate happens every Wednesday from 6PM-12AM and the entrance fee is a hefty $10, and $5 for skates (I know, I know), but this is unfortunately the only “roller rink” to get your groove on all night long in New York City limits.
LINK: Crazy Legs Skate Club
THE REAL MEANING OF VINTAGE
Where else are you going to find an overpriced pair of denim overalls, buttons for $1, or a decorative wooden picture frame? Nowhere but The Brooklyn Flea Market.
Kidding aside, they’ve got a ton of quirky knick-knacks for your apartment and one-of-a kind gifts if you’re ever looking for a unique gift for someone’s birthday. It’s New York City’s version of the garage sale; you never know what you’ll find!
The Brooklyn Flea is held every weekend throughout the year. In winter, the main flea market is located on the third floor of a grungy Brooklyn warehouse (seriously, you’d have no idea it’s there) whereas in summer, you have the option of many locations in Brooklyn, like one next to the Brooklyn waterfront and others in school parking lots in charming Brooklyn neighborhoods like Fort Greene and Park Slope.
LINK: Brooklyn Flea
CUZ IT WAS 99 CENTS
There’s a reason everyone in Brooklyn looks like they’re straight from a Boy Meets World episode: Brooklyn has a crapload of thrift stores.
Just off the first L train stop (Bedford Avenue), you’ve got MONK, Junk, and Buffalo Exchange all on the same block and just a few streets away, you’ve got Beacon’s Closet. That’s already four, and you’ll only have walked about five minutes. There’s also the coolest whatever-goes thrift-vintage-junk store on Driggs Ave and North 8th-ish, and I’d tell you the name…if the place even had a name. Off the third L train stop (Graham Avenue), you have Atlantis, which is my personal favorite for $8 military jackets.
LINK: Atlantis Attic
I’M ON A BOAT…TO IKEA
Though technically not “in” Brooklyn, you can take the IKEA Red Hook water ferry for free on weekends, and you already know how we feel about free things. The ferry leaves from South Street Seaport in Manhattan, cruises you along the East River, giving you amazing views of Lower Manhattan, and then drops you off in industrial, seaside community, Red Hook. Once you’ve debarked, there isn’t much to do besides roam around the grungy streets, or stop in IKEA for design inspiration or for some free coffee (you can get an IKEA FAMILY card upon your first visit).
LINK: IKEA Water Taxi
PUTTING THE BIZARRE IN THE BROOKLYN NIGHT BAZAAR
Think Brooklyn Flea Market, but at night.
If you’re ever feeling like having a laidback Brooklyn night, go to Banker St. in Williamsburg on Friday or Saturday night. Inside this warehouse (yes, another warehouse), you have a vendors selling hand-made necklaces, paintings of nude women, and rings with celebrities’ faces on them – typical avant-garde Brooklyn stuff. You also have a section for food, where you can find silly items like a fried chicken waffle, feta olive pastries, and buffalo rice balls. On top of this, you’ve got a bar in one corner, a glow-in-the-dark put-put course in another, an arcade decked out with old school arcade games, ping pong in another, and even live music set up in the back. Entrance? Free. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
LINK: Brooklyn Night Bazaar
MOVIE THEATERS THAT WON’T ROB YOUR BANK ACCOUNT
Could it be that you can go to the movies for less than $10? Only in Brooklyn, duh! When you’re sick of Netflix and want that movie-theater feel, you’ll often find that seeing a movie in Manhattan will cost you anywhere from $12 to $15. And that’s exactly why I’ve only gone to the movies twice in Manhattan – once for Harry Potter, and the second for The Hunger Games – both worthwhile investments. At the Williamsburg Cinema, you can watch the latest blockbusters for $8 any day before 5pm or for $8 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I went on a Tuesday night for a showing of a new movie, I paid my $8, and I even managed to sneak in my own snacks. Go me.
LINK: Williamsburg Cinemas
FOR THE ARTSY-FARTSY BROOKLYNITE INSIDE OF YOU
If you’re the Brooklyn type and the museum type, then you’re most definitely the Brooklyn Museum type. If you’d like to do without the crowds of the Manhattan museums, visit this art museum, which is actually the second largest museum in size in New York City. It’s Pay-What-You-Wish every day, so you can donate $1, $5, or $25 and still get the same access to nearly 1.5 million works of art. What’s even better is that the first Saturday or every month, the museum stays open till 11pm. You know how those museum types get late at night!
LINK: Brooklyn Museum