Truly Julie basking in Brooklyn’s glory! (Deets on her Kona Africa bike here)
Dear Manhattan, I love you…but there’s a new borough that’s competing fiercely for my heart. Brooklyn! (Cue the music…Notorious B.I.G’s “Where Brooklyn at”!) This Saturday…I channeled Lance Armstrong and unleashed my own Tour de Brooklyn. I peddled through several neighborhoods from 10AM–6PM and I kid you not…I had just as an amazing, eye-opening time in Brooklyn than any exotic overseas trip I’ve taken throughout my many years of travel. No passport needed…just a little leg grease. My tour started in Fort Greene where I dipped into Dekalb Market for a quick breeze through. What a unique recycling concept…the store spaces are old shipping containers! The bright, primary colored containers neatly stacked here and there really make you feel like you’re in some urban, life-size Lego set. Plus…it’s a cool juxtaposition; behind the old containers…you have new luxury high rises peaking out. And in the same fashion…the Dekalb Market stores range from new to vintage…and for food… classics to fusion. Also worth a stop in Fort Greene is Red Lantern Bicycles. Only in Brooklyn can you get your bike tuned up all the while enjoying a beer! Aside from the unusual yet brilliant pairing of bike shop/bar (sounds like an idea from the Jackass guys, right?)…it’s really good pricing for bike service (4 times cheaper than Soho!). Next up…Brooklyn Flea! Yes..it’s easy to see why this flea is a cult favorite. You’ve got the slam dunk food options (I threw down some chicken bahn mi, lobster roll and Choncho’s fish tacos) and eclectic shopping finds such as vintage glasses frames and jewelry made of vinyl records…but what had me the most excited?! Recycle bins and….drum roll…a freakin’ compost bin! Thank you Brooklyn Flea….thank you. After eating my face off and composting the tiny scraps of food with the same level of excitement that you only see in a Justin Bieber fan…I spun my way to Brooklyn Botanical Garden. I had a heaven-on-earth moment here…definitely in my top 5 of most magical and memorable. With the cherry blossom trees just past their peak…every time there’s a gust of breeze…the pedals whirl around…prompting everyone to gasp and be giddy. I’ve never had pedals dance across my face…and shower down on me like that. Honestly…I was waiting for a unicorn to appear…it was that magical. This is an easy must-do on your bucket list…and while you’re at it…make sure you attempt to make a cherry blossom snow angel. I promise that you’ll feel the same level of bliss that you only felt as a kid when you had no worry in the world. Onto Red Hook! Take Ikea out of the equation and this place is Brooklyn with true grit. The historic warehouses look like movie sets…and stroll onto any pier and you’ll feel like the main star of a New York centric film…breeze whipping your hair around while Lady Liberty smiles at cha. And make sure you stop by the Fairway Market when you visit Red Hook. Out in the back is a really nice al fresco dining area complete with a vintage train conversation piece. From Red Hook…I biked along the East River to Dumbo. The bike/walking path there is brand new…and the view of the Manhattan skyline as well as the Brooklyn/Manhattan Bridges…STUNNING. Oh…and there’s a really romantic carousel along the water that gives Paris some serious competition. That’s right…I said it. Manhattan and Paris should feel the heat…because Brooklyn is where it’s at! I wrapped up my 10+mile Tour de Brooklyn the only way a Brooklynite-wannabe should…nope…not with a Gatorade…but with a beer in Dumbo:) Ahhhhhhh. I know this post is overwhelming…but lucky for you…I’ve got the visual breakdown in the picture gallery below.