A Brooklyn State of Mind

For the past few weeks, I have focused on the contributions of some very impressive women from Brooklyn.  Today I would like to give you a glimpse of some of very impressive places in Brooklyn.  You can treat today’s post as a mini “guided” tour.  However, given how large Brooklyn is, additional tours will be added throughout the year.

We will begin in Dumbo and proceed to Cadman Plaza.  From Cadman Plaza we will journey downtown and stroll along Fulton Street before heading to Flatbush Avenue.  Once on Flatbush Avenue, we will travel to Atlantic Avenue where today’s tour will end.

Imagine riding in a taxi, from Manhattan, across the Brooklyn Bridge.  It is a beautiful spring day and you are heading to Brooklyn.  Our exit, Cadman Plaza West, is just ahead.  Your cab driver will take Old Fulton Street to Water Street.  We are going to The River Café at One Water Street.

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Inside The River Cafe

Once inside The River Café, you will quickly notice each table offers a beautiful view of the Brooklyn Bridge and the East River.  You will find the staff to be gracious and courteous.  They love to talk about Brooklyn.  After enjoying your meal, I encourage you to spend a little more time on Water Street before heading to the next destination.

Just a few steps down from The River Café is another Brooklyn treasure you will not want to miss, Jacques Torre Chocolate, also known as Mr. Chocolate.  I love the truffles!  They are some of the best in New York City.  If there is a line, please try to wait.  You will not be disappointed.

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Jacques Torres Chocolate

If you are not in a hurry, I recommend a quick detour to Brooklyn Bridge Park.  You are so close!  After leaving Jacques Torre, walk east on Water Street toward Main Street.  Turn left onto Washington Street.  Take Washington Street to Plymouth Street and turn right.  You should be on Plymouth and Main Streets.  The Park is a few steps away.  There you will find a breathtaking view of Manhattan, so try to take a few photos.  Another “must see” is Jane’s Carousel which is a hit with children and adults.

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Jane’s Carousel

Now let’s stroll back to The River Café where you can hail a taxi, or take the bus, to Cadman Plaza where the driver can leave you.  The trees and flowers should be in full bloom so please enjoy the scenery while you are here.  There are two historic buildings you will want to take pictures of: the main Brooklyn Post Office and the Brooklyn Business Library.

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Brooklyn’s Main Post Office – Cadman Plaza

There is another gem that I highly recommend, the Brooklyn Historical Society.  When leaving the library, walk along Court Street and turn right onto Pierrepont Street.  Travel one block until you reach Clinton.  The building is on the left.

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Brooklyn Historical Society

We are now half-way through our tour.  If you walk back to Court Street, you will be a few minutes away from Brooklyn Borough Hall.  There are two entrances, The Plaza is on Court Street and the main entrance is on Joralemon Street.  In the summer the Plaza hosts some of Brooklyn’s finest musicians, singers, poets and dancers.  You may even see Borough President Marty Markowitz mingling with fellow Brooklynites.

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Brooklyn Borough Hall – Main Entrance

Another popular Brooklyn destination is Brooklyn Law School, just a few steps down from Borough Hall’s main entrance on Joralemon Street.  Some of the country’s most celebrated attorneys and scholars have attended Brooklyn Law School, including former New York City Mayor David Dinkins.

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Brooklyn Law School

We are now on Fulton Street which is home to many shops including The Gap, Lane Bryant, Macy’s, Armani Exchange and Forever 21.  Take your time and walk the full length of the street.  You will see many new buildings going up, a sure sign of progress in the downtown area.  As you approach Flatbush Avenue, walk to the left onto DeKalb Avenue.  You will soon see the sign for Juniors Restaurant, where I am sure you will find a treat to enjoy.

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Junior’s Restaurant

After a well-deserved break, let’s gear up for the last leg of our tour.  You have walked for a bit, so it is time to hail another taxi.  As you stand on Flatbush Avenue Extension, you will notice the Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University, one of the finest colleges in the country.  Before LIU purchased this building, the old Paramount movie theater occupied the first three to four floors.  Here is a photo of LIU in its early days.

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Long Island University & the old Paramount Theater

You are now riding up Flatbush Avenue to our next stop, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).  The driver will need to turn left onto Lafayette Avenue.  You will see BAM on the right.  You will also notice a new building, on the other side of Lafayette, home to the Mark Morris Dance Group.  When I see these two buildings, I appreciate the seamless manner in which Brooklyn has integrated modern architecture along with the borough’s iconic landmarks.

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Brooklyn Academy of Music

Just around the corner from BAM, on One Hanson Place, is the former Williamsburg Bank building, affectionately known as “the clock tower building.”  This was Brooklyn’s first skyscraper.  A few years ago, the clock tower building was fully renovated and is now a condominium.  The building also has an elegant entertainment space and is home to some of the most popular parties in Brooklyn.

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Williamsburg Savings Bank Building

Just across from the “clock tower,” you will find a new office tower, Two Hanson Place.  A few steps away are the new Atlantic Avenue rail terminal and the Atlantic Avenue mall.  Both of these buildings are tours for another day.

The last building I will point out to you is the new Barclay’s Arena, on Atlantic Avenue, across the street from the Atlantic Avenue mall.  The new Arena has become a hub of activity since it opened last fall.  In addition to serving as the new home for the Brooklyn Nets, the Arena has presented legendary performers including: Jay-Z, Barbra Streisand, Kirk Franklin and Fred Hammond.  To know more about future performances, sign up for e-mail alerts at http://www.barclayscenter.com.  You will also be able to purchase tickets as soon as they become available.

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Barclays Arena

I hope that you have enjoyed this tour of some of my favorite places.  If something has caught your attention, why not come back for a visit?  If I can be helpful in any way, please drop me a note.  I will be happy to respond.

See you around Brooklyn!
The River Cafe photo courtesy of Valetmag.com.  One additional note – due to Hurricane Sandy, The River Cafe is still renovating.  They will re-open soon.
Jacques Torres Chocolate photo courtesy of mrchocolate.com
Jane’s Carousel photo courtesy of huffingtonpost.com
Brooklyn Main Post Office at Cadman Plaza photo courtesy of trixrosenphotography.com
Brooklyn Historical Society photo courtesy of demel.net
Brooklyn Borough Hall photo courtesy of flickr.com
Brooklyn Law School photo courtesy of google.com
Junior’s Restaurant photo courtesy of google.com
Brooklyn Academy of Music photo courtesy of myhabitat.com
Williamsburg Bank Building photo courtesy of brooklynhistory.org
Barclay’s Arena photo courtesy of dezen.com