Brooklyn attracts, Brooklyn is chic or fashionable, so attractive to trendy youth because it is still slightly decadent. The borough, whose name comes from the Dutch town of Breukelen, is an integral part of New York City, but it is a world apart, so diverse that it is difficult to magnify the line. Chance of geography and necessity of history, Brooklyn was attached to New York City in 1898. If it wasn't, it would be the fourth largest city in the United States! First established in Brooklyn Heights across from Manhattan and accessible by the South Street Seaport ferry, the borough flourished thanks to the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, which drained an abundant immigrant labour force to the wide open spaces. Today, Brooklyn has its own accent, its own way of life, its own identity, marked by great diversity: what do East New York, one of the most threatening ghettos in New York City, and the rows of private and posh homes in Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope have in common? A shared love of the borough perhaps. Brooklynites never forget their origins, are proud to belong to this neighborhood, and for many would not want to live anywhere else. And one thing seems certain: Brooklynites are not suburbanites in the French sense of the word, in the sense that Brooklyn is an integral part of New York. But it is also self-sufficient, with its own shops, restaurants and places to go out. In fact, it is Brooklyn that attracts Manhattan rather than the other way around!
Manhattan residents go out at night to alternative or trendy places, they come to brunches on weekends or go shopping in its flea markets, among the liveliest in New York. They're also moving there to get away from the stress of Manhattan. Rents are sometimes cheaper there, even if the gentrification phenomenon has also reached the borough (Williamsburg is now as expensive as Manhattan). If Brooklyn is sometimes neglected by tourists, without Brooklyn, New York is nothing. It's a Brooklyn state of mind!
Among the must-sees, don't miss Brooklyn Heights. A nice way to reach this emblematic bank is to cross the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan to reach it just before sunset... Also not to be missed is a visit to the Brooklyn Museum of Art, a leading museum with one of the finest collections of Egyptology in the world.
Visit it in the morning, before exploring the adjoining botanical gardens and strolling through Prospect Park. Nearby, Park Slope, the favourite neighbourhood of Paul Auster and young hipster families, awaits you. Organic food, small cafés and fripe shops are on the programme. At the end of the day, a shopping break in Smith Street and its adjoining streets of Carroll Garden is a must, before heading out into the corner or towards Williamsburg and Dumbo, the very essence of trendy neighbourhoods. Another option: Fort Greene and its little brownstones with its restored stucco steps and its false West Village atmosphere. Or Ditmas Park with its colorful Victorian houses. Not forgetting the extreme south, which is very offbeat and deserves a day there. At Coney Island or Brighton Beach (lines B, D, F or N), the beaches of the Atlantic await you. Exoticism and change of scenery guaranteed. Brighton Beach, known as "Little Odessa" (lines D and Q), is home to the Ukrainian and Russian communities. With its grocery stores, its typical restaurants, its Cyrillic inscriptions, its parades of chapkas in winter and its Slavic-influenced je ne sais quoi, this district exudes a unique atmosphere... Coney Island, prized for its amusement park from another time and its long beach, is a short distance away and looks like an old movie set. The New York of the 1980s-1990s can be found in the architecture and ambiance. The subway ride is long (about an hour from Downtown Manhattan), but these extraordinary places are worth an afternoon (in good weather!).
Be careful if you go to Brooklyn on weekends, the subways sometimes operate erratically: the express train becomes local, another train runs on the same trains, some are under construction and the schedules also vary at night. Look in the station, these changes are usually indicated. Brooklyn is very easily accessible by subway, especially lines Q, F, 2 and 3, and the neighborhood is huge, so this is a great way to get around. Note: usually, the L line connects Williamsburg and Bushwick to Manhattan, but from April 2019, the connection between the two boroughs will be interrupted for about 18 months, as major works are planned in the tunnel.