Yes, I am the first person to ever reference that when talking about a trip to Brooklyn. Let’s talk about Brooklyn! I am bummed I didn’t get to explore Brooklyn more, but I’m blaming freak snowstorms for that. What I did see of Brooklyn, I loved. Of course. Nobody is surprised.
This post isn’t entirely about Brooklyn—I decided to break my NYC posts up into Brooklyn and Manhattan purely based on our two different accommodations. There’s a fair bit of Manhattan in this post, but this week was our Brooklyn week. If that makes sense. It does to me.
This time I’ve done all my musing within each day’s rundown, so please click through for a full read of what I got up to!
Saturday 28 December
We arrived in Clinton Hill quite late, in two yellow 4WD cabs from Penn Station. We didn’t get to see the inside of Penn itself, as a Red Cap rushed us through the underground from the train and out onto the street, straight into cabs! She was very helpful and concerned about how busy it was inside the station with me in a wheelchair… I was disappointed that I didn’t get to see the inside of the station until I found out that it stopped looking grand and majestic in 1963 and pretty much looks like any other shitty train station now. Never mind, then.
We were trying to keep our eyes peeled for a cab that would fit all four of us and our four monstrous bags, but the Red Cap ended up hailing us two of the 4WD-style cabs—they’re actually more like a standard yellow cab in terms of space, they’re just higher off the ground. What kind of cars are they? I tried to google for an answer but couldn’t put my finger on it (I don’t think they’re the Ford Escape hybrids referenced on wiki, they seem a little more compact than that). The 4WD-style cabs seemed even more populous than sedans!
Here’s something I learnt quickly: Manhattan cabs HATE going off island. They DESPISE it. Never tell a cab driver you want to go to Brooklyn until you’re in the cab (and even then they’ll probably grumble at their misfortune). This also means you can’t really catch a cab from Brooklyn into Manhattan, either—you have to call a car service. Or use public transport!
Anyway, our cab headed toward the Manhattan bridge to take us begrudgingly over to our Brooklyn accommodation, and we had our noses pressed against the cab windows for the whole ride. We piled into our apartment block, grabbed the keys, and rode the elevator up to the third floor. By some amazing stroke of luck, we had managed to book an apartment that:
1. had no stairs into the building
2. had an elevator and
3. had wide enough hallways
… for the motorised scooter I’d hired to help me get around the city. Aw, yeah! I’m glad I hadn’t really looked into hiring one for Quebec City because it was way too snowy for that to be a possibility. In NYC, though—I could be a scooter hobo to my heart’s content (with a bit of forward planning and/or extra thoughtfulness).
The accommodation was awesome, though I had to give up the cool loft space I’d planned on sleeping in—as mum demanded that I take the main bedroom, on ground level. I think we all lost out in that deal. I wasn’t allowed to let the cats into the main bedroom, either. Yes, CATS. Our Airbnb apartment came with two live-in cats! This is the only kind of accommodation I ever want to stay in, from now on.
Sunday 29 December
The forecast was for rain and we got it. After a week of lovely snow, the rain was wet, but it didn’t deter us. I got my first taste of Brooklyn buses with awesome disabled ramp access on our adventure to the Brooklyn Winter Flea & Smorgasburg.
What a treat! Definitely one of my favourite places from the trip, I swear I never quite had a grasp on exactly where I was in that building. I knew I was on the second floor, yes—but as far as trying to find my way back to the creaky old maintenance lift we’d ridden up in for a mid-market rendezvous with the family, well. That was beyond me. I somehow managed to stumble back across it a few minutes late before high-fiving mum and spiralling back off into the market somewhere.
What I bought: a tea towel with cocktails on it from Claudia Pearson, a silver midi ring (exactly what I’d been hoping to purchase somewhere in NYC, for my everyday ring stack) from Jessica DeCarlo.
What I ate: a toasted coconut doughnut from Dough, maple bacon on a stick from Landhaus, a classic grilled cheese with caramelised onion from Milk Truck.
What I drank: a coconut hot chocolate from Salud, a honey and cardamom iced tea from Milk Truck.
It was a good day.
Monday 30 December
Manhattan tourist day! Breakfast at Red Flame Diner followed by the CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR at Radio City Music Hall!
It was a lot of fun, and after that we headed down to see the Rockefeller Christmas tree. We really should have waited for a quieter day; it was slightly chaotic. Not just at Rockefeller Place, but for approximately a two block radius, what with everyone coming in for the Christmas Spectacular. Still… wow. This is possibly going to reveal something a bit silly about me but I hadn’t really twigged (wait for it) that the Rockefeller tree is a REAL TREE every year. This was a very exciting discovery for me.
I got to call the shots for dinner that night as we wandered back from the accessible subway to our Brooklyn home, and the General Greene won, for their nice logo and fairy lights and the buttermilk fried chicken on their menu. Yes. Good. Excellent. Very nice.
Fatboy and I then went an extra few blocks on the hunt for crepes, but for whatever reason the crepe store was closed. I wasn’t too fazed but Fatboy could have possibly murdered someone. Lucky my scooter was fast?
Tuesday 31 December
BROOKLYN BRIDGE DAY! We walked all the way from Dekalb, up and over to Manhattan and into the Financial District. It took maybe two hours or so and it was so bitterly cold and windy but also excellent.
Our plan was to head to the 9/11 Memorial after the bridge but we didn’t realise you had to reserve your (free) tickets ahead of time, so we didn’t get to walk through. Pity. We headed toward Battery Park instead, and hilariously enough about two blocks away from the park, the battery on my motorised scooter carked it. I guess I went too hard over the bridge! I definitely had it full throttle a lot of the way. I tried to push the dead weight along with my good foot and Fatboy struggled and strained with pushing from the back and we finally got it across the road and into a cafe with a powerpoint. I sat in the cafe and entertained myself while the rest of the family ducked across to the park and came back.
As we headed outside to wait for the cab to take us back to Brooklyn (sorry, cab), it started snowing! Snow flurries in the financial district! You’d think after a week of piled snow in Quebec that we’d be sick of it, but nope. Giddy kids in the snow. Extra exciting for me because even though I’d seen a lot of snow in Quebec, I hadn’t stood (or sat) around in much falling snow. It was pretty great.
New Years Eve was fairly uneventful for us (apart from Fatboy, who headed into Manhattan for the night and returned home at 7am without much memory of her evening, so I guess maybe that was uneventful too really). Mum, Paul and I headed onto the roof of our building with a cheap bottle of sangria and watched the Prospect Park fireworks.
Wednesday 1 January
I chose to stay home on the couch and keep my hungover sister company while our mum and stepdad headed out to Coney Island. This did mean that when dinner rolled around I managed to convince her to head out with me, and we ate our way through a lot of delicious pork at a really sweet little restaurant around the block, called Marietta.
We were absolutely full as googs on the walk home but still stopped in at Dough for some more of those ridiculously delicious doughnuts we’d first tried at Smorgasburg.
Tuesday 2 January
On the subway we headed to the American Museum of Natural History!
I guess I’m a museum person now… we set aside a couple of hours for working our way through the museum but I probably could have spent double that time in there. I almost missed the dinosaur floor, even! But that just was Not On, so I got through it as quickly as I could.
So much cool stuff. I truly did adore all the halls with dioramas of mammals and ocean life, though I thought it a bit sad that the Asian mammals didn’t have the same sweet full diorama treatment that the North American and African mammals did. Still… what a spectacular place.
After the AMNH we were ravenous and headed around the block to Shake Shack. Fatboy and I near demanded it. It was packed—they are still always so packed! It’s nuts! It’s just a burger joint, guys! A burger joint we had to eat at… mum and Fatboy waited patiently in line and then we ate our burgers and chips out in the freezing cold. We are ridiculous Australians. And to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t overwhelmed by my first Shake Shack experience—the fries at the upper west side Shack weren’t crinkle fries, and my double Smokestack kinda just tasted like a Hungry Jacks bacon double cheeseburger. So it was tasty, sure, but also meaty and greasy and not the dream burger I’d built up expectations for. Never mind. (Shake Shack would redeem itself in future days.)
Once our bellies were full, we wandered down through Central Park, looking for Strawberry Fields. We found it, and also found the lake, and the bow bridge, and some ridiculous ducks in a little corner of unfrozen lake.
That night there was a dang SNOWSTORM in NYC! We got pizza from the place around the corner and made the poor guy deliver it to us. That’s what they’re paid for, right…?
Wednesday 3 January
Dang snowstorm threw a spanner in my big Williamsburg adventuring plans for the day, because there was kinda no way I could get out of the building on my mobility scooter with everything covered in thick layers of white! Back to housebound status a la Quebec City. Luckily I had Netflix and three seasons of My Cat From Hell to watch…
Dinner was worth remarking on—we got delivery from Mac Shack. Oh, sweet Mac Shack. Fatboy had discovered it the night before but due to the storm the shop shut early so we couldn’t eat it. But they were open again the following evening so we ordered ALL THE MAC AND CHEESE. Well ok, we ordered three. One of them had mushrooms and truffle oil and it was ridiculously good and I hate it when truffle oil stuff is good because it’s so silly but it was SO, SO GOOD. Ah, I want Mac Shack again. MISS YOU, MAC SHACK.
Thursday 4 January
Moving day!!! Finding a car service to get my scooter into Manhattan wasn’t the easiest, but with all the snow still around it wasn’t really feasible for me to get to the subway or even to a bus, yikes. I certainly paid for the privilege of being disabled…
I feel like I’m ending on another negative here, which is a bit silly. Though to be honest, I was feeling pretty sad to be leaving Brooklyn, because I’d really fallen in love (and wasn’t surprised by this) and didn’t expect I’d really feel the same way about Manhattan. Stay tuned, though. There’s a happy ending.
Bye, temporary Brooklyn home! I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for you. You were a bit perfect.