New York City: Places to Explore

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Photo: Brooklyn Bridge Park ©Etienne Frossard/www.brooklynbridgeparknyc.org

Brooklyn

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Brooklyn is changing rapidly, and it has been for a while. Hardly Manhattan's wimpy sidekick, this is the largest and most populous of all the boroughs, with more than 2.5 million residents and a ton of cool places to eat, drink, shop, and explore, including the glamorous Barclay's Center arena, home to the Brooklyn Nets NBA basketball team, as well as a new waterfront park extending from the Manhattan Bridge to Atlantic Avenue and beyond.

Brooklyn was a city itself until the end of the 19th century, with its own widely circulated newspaper (the Brooklyn Eagle), its own expansive park (Prospect Park), and its own baseball team that would eventually be called the Brooklyn Dodgers. And in 1883, it got its own bridge: the Brooklyn Bridge, which drew the attention of the entire country.

Today, Brooklyn's young family-friendly vibe encompasses lovely brownstone-filled neighborhoods like Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, Park Slope, and Prospect Heights. And of course, Brooklyn is also home to hipsters—if you’re looking for the their epicenter, head to Williamsburg, where young artists started infiltrating the residential neighborhood back in the late 1990s. The area quickly became known for its galleries, and then for the funky bars, restaurants, and music venues.

With the exception of art exhibits at the Brooklyn Museum, the lush grounds of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and cutting-edge performances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, this isn't really a destination for "sights." Instead, the neighborhoods' real draws are their residential vibe, proudly local restaurants, and down-home shops and bars.

Brooklyn at a Glance

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