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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?
Restaurant Week / Food Travel / Events / Boston Travel / Seattle Travel / Brooklyn Travel / → All Tags
Can you smell that? It's the sweet and warm aroma of a three-course meal being brought out to you for the cost of just one course. That's right; it's Restaurant Week season again, and we've rounded up the best five in the coming March weeks. Most are already open to booking, so text your friends to see when they're free and then get on it:
· Boston, MA: March 6-11 & 13-18. Yo, Bostoneers! No need to hop a Chinatown bus for the two-hour trip to NYC for Restaurant Week anymore, as it's finally your turn for discounted menus. One season, we traveled to and hung out in Boston with friends for several days for the express purpose of chowing down during Boston Restaurant Week, and let us tell you it was worth it.
The extensive list of participating restaurants is already open for booking, and meal pricing is thus: 2-course lunches for $15.11; 3-course lunches for $20.11; and 3-course dinners for $33.11. Weird prices, but maybe it's special for 2011? Anyways, find out more information and book your tables at the official OpenTable site.
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.
Spring Travel / Nature Travel / Festival Travel / Lists / Spring Festivals / Japan Travel / Seoul Travel / Georgia Travel / San Francisco Travel / Brooklyn Travel / → All Tags
Cherry blossoms in Japan.
Spring is here, and a lovely sign of its arrival is the blooming of cherry blossoms all over the world. The most well-known stateside spot to see the pretty pale pink and white flowers is Washington, D.C., which will have its annual Cherry Blossom Festival soonfrom March 27 to April 11. But you don't have to battle crowds at the capital to see clusters of pink-flowered trees.
Check out the The Top 5 Cities (Other Than D.C.) Where You See Cherry Blossoms, after the jump!
Neighborhoods to Know and Go / New York City / New York Travel / Brooklyn Travel / Food Travel / Travel Tips / → All Tags
It's finally spring in New York City, and do you know what that means (aside from the return of the tourists)? It means that everyone is shedding their coats and trading in their winter boots for bicycles and new running shoes. New York is an active city, and nowhere will you find more to do with better views than down in the Brooklyn neighborhood of DUMBO.
"Dumbo" means "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass," because the small areadominated by the buildings that print a certain religious organization's magazinesits mainly underneath the roadways of the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. Being down in a warehouse-y district underneath bridges may sound sketchy, but Dumbo is populated by the rich and powerful who actually care about their area. We resided in Dumbo for a period ourselves, and found it to be one of the most pleasant urban communities we've ever set foot into. All of the chocolate and bookstores probably helped our opinion too.
You can easily reach the area by taking the F train to the York Street stop and walking downhill from there, or the A/C trains to High Street-Brooklyn Bridge. Or just walk across the Brooklyn Bridge from downtown Manhattanyour call.
Join us in DUMBO, after the jump.
Can we talk about chocolate for a second, please? It seems like every time we walk into a drug store or market, we're confronted with rows of vibrant foil-wrapped chocolate rabbits and Cadbury eggs. But there's so much more to be discovered in the world of Easter chocolates, and so while down in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn this weekend, we stopped by a few of the area's specialty stores and uncovered these mini miracles: chocolate-covered Peeps.
At $5 for a pack of four, they aren't cheap, but their namethe "Chirp-N-Dales," is too cute to resist. We got a pack of the dark chocolate-dipped bunnies, but the chicks in chocolate tuxedos were tempting too. They can be found at the flagship chocolaterie of chef Jacques Torres, who calls himself "Mr. Chocolate" and is often found guesting on talk shows or the Food Channel, discussing the ways of chocolate. He is someone who truly has fun with the rich stuff, because we usually swing by his chocolate-dipped Cheerios and espresso beans. But these Peeps had us at "hello."
More Peepin', after the jump!
It's 70 degrees in New York City today, and before the flurries come again this weekend and next week, we hopped out with our WiFi card to work under the sun in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Sitting nearby the water taxi dock and the River Cafe, noshing on some chocolate-covered Peeps from the Jacques Torres chocolaterie down the street, we watched as busloads of international tourists emerged from their winter hibernation and explored Brooklynwell, the yuppie neighborhood known as "DUMBO," or "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass."
It's like the birds returning from their migrations in the spring, when the tourists show up in their sunglasses. It's even more telling when said busloads are Italian, and they're looking up into the sun and sighing happily.
Next time you're in New York, you should make your own pilgrimage down to the Fulton Ferry Landing in Brooklyn's DUMBO neighborhood (if you haven't already), and savor the city in the spring and summer, especially now that they're readying to open a new section of the park. Perhaps you'll even catch one of the free outdoor films they show in the park, and then you'll really thank us.
· Dining in Downtown Brooklyn: It's Always 1977 at Junior's [Jaunted]
· Travel Snapshots [Jaunted]
When we talk about Halloween in NYC, we have to say that the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade is so 20th century. A Brooklyn haunted house showcasing professional scarers is what you'll really want to check out this season.
The Gravesend Inn Haunted Hotel is a yearly production by the New York City College of Technology as a departmental project in "entertainment technology"the kind of training that would prepare you to work on a Cirque de Soleil show in Vegas or be a Disney Imagineer. The hotel is designed to "sense" and respond to visitors; for more on that, check out an engineer's inside take on what makes it run. Last year's production imagined a hotel buried over a sailors' graveyard haunted by vengeful pirate ghosts; will it be zombies (or zombie Michael Jacksons this year?