Brooklyn Travel Guide
Neighborhoods to Know and Go / Food Travel / Drinking Travel / Art Travel / Brooklyn Travel / New York Travel / Travel Tips / → All Tags
Someone told us the other day that the word 'Brooklyn' has entered the French lexicon—as an adjective, used to describe something that's super trendy. While we think that's going overboard, nobody can deny how fashionable the borough has become over the past 10 years, and that popularity isn't likely to dwindle anytime soon.
Most tourists tend to migrate towards northern Brooklyn when they visit, and while we love us some Williamsburg and Bushwick, there's another new 'hood that's emerging as a ground zero for art, culture and lip-smackin' good eats: Gowanus.
For better or worse, the neighborhood is best known as the home of the Gowanus Canal—a.k.a. one of the most toxic bodies of water in the country—though that's all about to change, as city officials recently announced a multi-million dollar project to clean up the gunky waterway and make Gowanus a little easier on the eyes (and the nose).
This is all great news for visitors, though locals have been tuned into this spot—with its growing artillery of cool performance venues, cozy coffeeshops, and (yes) clam shacks—for quite some time.
A similar event in Austin, TX
Remember that episode of The Simpsons where Homer has to coat his mouth with wax in order to withstand some really hot chili peppers? That should help you prep for New York City's first-ever Hot Sauce Expo, which will go down at East River Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on April 20.
Events during the two-day festival include a hot-sauced-laced-brownie-eating contest and a chicken cookoff. If you just want to wander around looking for trouble, there are plenty of places to buy and sample hot sauces and other spicy snacks from brands like Volcanic Peppers and Deception Salsa. The expo is also focusing on NYC-area brands like A & B American Style and Long Island's High River Sauces.
Pack your sunscreen...and a few gallons of water.
Are you secretly obsessed with online cat videos? Can't get enough of Grumpy Cat? Well, now there is a the fest just for you!
The Internet Cat Video Festival is headed to Brooklyn this fall.
Travel Contests / New York City / Subways / Brooklyn Travel / Sweden Travel / Music Travel / → All Tags
In his novel Motherless Brooklyn, Jonathan Lethem takes pity on the G train, New York's most maligned subway route. He says that the train's legendary terribleness is because the G, like the runty kid in school, gets picked on for being the only train line that doesn't touch Manhattan.
Like it or loathe it, the G is in major need of a PR boost. So local hopmasters Brooklyn Brewery are sponsoring a contest. They're asking songwriters and musicians to compose original songs about the G train and post them on YouTube. After that, they'll chose a few favorites and ask readers to vote. The winner scores a free trip to Sweden for the Debaser Music Festival in August.
Might we suggest "The Waiting 40 Minutes at 4 AM Blues" as a possible title?
After years of decline it looks like Coney Island has finally found its place in the 21st century, and things seem to be moving full speed ahead into the future. Last year Luna Park joined the theme park offerings, and this summer looks to welcome a pair of brand new roller coasters. Sure they aren’t the extreme offerings at some of the country’s bigger parks, but these are the first new coasters to hit the boardwalk in more than 80 years.
Scream Zone is one of the area’s newest amusement park spots, and recently they introduced the new rides. Soarin' Eagle and Steeplechase were welcomed by coaster fans—including Mayor Bloomberg—last week.
Airports / Airport News / EWR / LGA / JFK / New York City / → All Tags
Everyone knows that the New York City area could use another airport—or at least a major revamp of the existing facilities—but the problem is that there’s just no darned space to construct what's required. Well apparently there’s some underutilized property in Brooklyn that could be the area’s third airport—or fourth if you’re cool counting Newark. Floyd Bennett Field was once home to famous aviators like Amelia Earhart and Howard Hughes, and now some want it to reopen as a hub for the modern traveler.
The old airfield sits on Jamaica Bay with JFK Airport not too far off in the distance, so it’s in a pretty decent location to help out all those airplane traffic jams. With the new advances in air traffic control technology, the thinking is that this spot could be used without interfering with all the comings and goings at JFK. The only issue is that the airport is hardly ready to go, as runways would need to be lengthened, terminals would need to be built, and Uncle Sam would need to hand it over to someone like the Port Authority.
A few days ago, The Brooklyn Paper published a most intriguing article that enlightened us to the fact that Brooklyn is attempting to get its Gowanus Canal and the surrounding neighborhood listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Sure, it's been around forever, and mills began operating on the Canal as early as 1645, but that doesn't change the fact that anyone who know a little bit about Brooklyn knows that, these days, it's one of the most polluted bodies of water in the country.
Still, local preservationists are all about getting the Gowanus neighborhood designated as a city historic district, which could possibly attract tourists to the area for its rusting, industrial, native Brooklyn grit. Because that's what the tourists to NYC want, right? Gritty, but pretty.
Tragedies / Accidents / United / TWA / Vintage Travel / Airplanes / Brooklyn Travel / → All Tags
Although it's never nice to talk about past air incidents when they have the possibility of freaking you out before flying, but it's important to note that today marks the 50th Anniversary of one of the most tragic airplane accidents in history. At the time, in 1960, it was the deadliest, killing 128 people in the sky and 6 on the ground. Here's what happened:
In the morning of December 16, 1960, a TWA Constellation carrying 44 was heading to land at LaGuardia Airport while a United DC-8 Jet with 84 on board was on its way to land at Idlewild Airport (now JFK). Because of lower-tech air traffic control systems of the time, and because the United jet wasn't in the spot it thought it was, the two planes collided over Staten Island. The TWA prop plane was sliced into three pieces and fell straight down onto a military field in SI, while the United Jet managed to continue as far as Brooklyn, where it eventually fell into a church and intersection in the Park Slope neighborhood, killing 6 on the ground and setting buildings on fire.
Reality TV Travel / TV Travel / Television Travel / Brooklyn / Jersey Shore / Brighton Beach / → All Tags
Are you tired of MTV's Jersey Shore yet? Your response to that doesn't really matter because either way, another show very similar to it is due to hit the TV, and it'll focus on an area not very far at all from Jersey Shore's Seaside Heights: Brooklyn's Brighton Beach. Auditions for the proposed Russian-American reality show wrapped in March, and now it's been confirmed that the series is coming to Lifetime next year.
Originally, the producers wanted "the Russian Snooki" and someone who attends "birthday parties at Russian restaurants every weekend," but now, with Lifetime's backing, they're recasting for families in order to tell a "multigenerational women’s story about life in the community." Hmm, that sounds like every other Lifetime movie they already have, except that this one will be a 12-episode series.
Technology / WiFi / Cruise Travel / At-Sea WiFi / Queen Mary 2 / Cunard / Ships / → All Tags
In the world of travel WiFi, there are three big players: hotel wifi, in-flight wifi and airport WiFi. Actually, now that Amtrak and many European have installed the internet, we could even add "on-track WiFi" to the list too. But let's take a step further than these. Let's go to the frontier of travel connectivity. Let's talk about at-sea WiFI.
On our recent tour of Cunard Line's massive Queen Mary 2 liner while she was docked in Brooklyn, we started wondering if we could ever settle in for a 9-day transatlantic crossing as the passengers boarding were doing. Our hearts told us yes, but our minds know the reality of the situation, and that is how we'd probably develop a tick if we had to go more than two days without the internet, especially out in the middle of the open ocean.
Ships / Queen Mary 2 / Cunard / Cruise Travel / Space Travel / → All Tags
Last week, Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2 arrived to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal after a transatlantic voyage to from England, bringing with it many ash-trapped travelers who threw their worthless airline tickets out the window in favor of sailing back in style. Before the ship headed back across the pond, Cunard invited us aboard for a quick peek and some canapes with chef Todd English.
Looking at the QM2, she seems every bit a classic ocean liner; there's no multi-deck-high water slides or putting greens on this baby, but then she's got have something special for modern cruisers. And what she hasaside from that classic appealis the world's only planetarium at sea.
Ships / Food Travel / Cunard / Queen Mary 2 / Boats / Todd English / → All Tags
What's he saying? 'All ahead flambe!' or possibly 'Release the gravy boats!'
Get down from there, chef Todd English! While onboard Cunard's Queen Mary 2 yesterday, English took first position on the bridge and determinedly surveyed New York harbor. Luckily, it was only for a second, as the QM2 was safely tied up at dock at Brooklyn's Cruise Terminal, taking on new passengers for a transatlantic crossing to Southampton and Hamburg, where she'd drop off some long-stranded European travelers affected by the volcano ash and unwilling to deal with the airlines any longer.
Cunard invited us onboard for a quick tour of the behemoth boat, which is longer than the Chrysler building is tall and more packed with passengers than a whole line of A380 superjumbo airplanes. Needless to say, we were impressed, and the heady combination of the world's only at-sea planetarium, lemongrass-infused champagne and Todd English's bedroom eyes made us want to stowaway in a closet onboard and never return to dry land.
Food porn for sure, after the jump