Exploring Brooklyn by the G train: 15th St – Prospect Park to Greenpoint Avenue

The G train offers a Brooklyn to Queens crosstown local service, from Church Avenue in Brooklyn to Court Square in Long Island City, Queens. There are 21 total stops on the train, 19 of which are in Brooklyn (and it even has a secret portal). No other train is so Brooklyn based, so it’s the perfect line to explore a number of different neighborhoods in the borough.

Prospect Park G train station | Allen1628famm via YouTube

15th Street — Prospect Park [GMAP]
This is the third stop along the G line (beginning from Church Avenue) and will let you out near the southern end of Prospect Park. From here, you could walk straight into the park to explore for the day. Or you could walk through Park Slope — just walk north from the train up to Prospect Park West/8th Avenue. This scenic drag borders both the park and the neighborhood. If you’d rather exit the train in the heart of Park Slope, get off at the 7th Avenue stop [GMAP]. (more…)

Brooklyn’s Jewish communities: A primer

You’ll find rich Jewish culture throughout all of New York City, Brooklyn included. But these three Brooklyn neighborhoods are home to unique and tight knit Jewish communities unlike anywhere else in the city. From Borough Park to Crown Heights to Williamsburg, learn why different Jewish sects settled down in these neighborhoods, and what has allowed these sects to continue to flourish.


Borough Park
The south Brooklyn neighborhood of Borough Park is home to the largest Orthodox Jewish community in New York. Just to give you an idea of how big the community is, it’s actually one of the largest Orthodox Jewish communities outside of Israel and one of the largest concentrations of Jews in the United States.

Jewish immigrants started settling in the neighborhood around the turn of the 20th century, in 1904 and 1905. By the 1980s, Hasidic Jewish families had replaced the Modern Orthodox, Italians, and Irish living in the neighborhood. Now Borough Park is home to many Hasidic groups, the largest being the Hasidic Bobov sect. The Belz, Ger, Satmar, Stolin, Vizhnitz, Munkacz, Spinka, Klausenburg, Skver, and Puppa communities also reside here, among others. The population also includes Yemenite Jews, many of whom immigrated in the early 1920s, and a minority sect of Haredi, non-Hasidic Lithuanian Jews, also called Litvish or Yeshivish.

The influx of the Hasidic community has changed the neighborhood drastically. Hasid families tend to be large and therefore require larger homes, which caused a wave of new development in the area. Borough Park is also home to a number of kosher restaurants, stores servicing the Jewish community, and even a hotel that can accommodate specific Hasidic needs.

Munkacs World Headquarters photo via Wikipedia. (more…)

Visiting Brooklyn’s Revolutionary War sites: Old Stone House, Fort Greene Park, Green-Wood Cemetery, and more


The Revolutionary War makes many think of New England, but a number of significant battles actually happened throughout New York. Brooklyn, in particular, was home to many historic war sites, buildings and battles, many of which have been memorialized. These five Brooklyn Revolutionary War sites are worth the visit for any history buff, or any Brooklynite who had no idea how monumental a role the borough played in the war.

Map of the Battle of Long Island courtesy of the Library of Congress via mountvernon.org. (more…)

Comic book stores in Brooklyn: Galaxy Collectibles, Bulletproof, Bergen Street Comics, Desert Island, Koch, Maverick

Whether you’re a comic book devotee or dabbler, these Brooklyn comic book stores will bring out the kid in you. You’ll find all the classic Marvel titles at Galaxy Collectibles, a curated collection of mainstream and independent titles at Bergen Street Comics, and unique graphic novels at the Desert Island book shop. And because it’s Brooklyn, there’s also an old warehouse packed to the brim with comics and vintage memorabilia. Keep reading for six of our favorite places to spend a lazy afternoon.


Galaxy Collectibles (Park Slope)
Galaxy Collectibles is an unpolished gem with a neighborhood feel. There’s a huge assortment of comic– and movie-related toys and collectibles, including lots of delightfully kitschy items from the movies, TV shows, and comics of your youth. Most of the walls, of course, are covered with books and comics. Keep an eye out for their great sales to pick up comics on the cheap.

Galaxy Collectibles photo courtesy of Alison C. via Foursquare. (more…)

The history of immigrants in Brooklyn

brooklyn-map-1766-wallabout-bay-8440845There’s a saying that one in seven Americans can trace their roots to Brooklyn, and while it’s impossible to prove accurate, there’s no denying that Brooklyn is one of the most important immigrant destinations in the entire country. For decades, this borough was where immigrants arrived straight from Ellis Island, earning Brooklyn the moniker of “America’s hometown.” Read on to learn more about the major waves of immigration into the borough, and how it still impacts Kings County today.

1766 Brooklyn map photo courtesy of Tommyill via Wikipedia. (more…)

6 of the best Italian restaurants in Bensonhurst: Ortobello, Italia Pizza, Panino Rustico, and more

New York City has more Italian-Americans than any other place in the United States. Over two million Italians immigrated to the U.S. in the years between 1900 and 1910 alone, and many of them ended up spread across the boroughs of New York — in Manhattan’s Little Italy and East Harlem (once called Italian Harlem), along Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, in Howard Beach, Queens, and on Staten Island.

In Brooklyn, neighborhoods like Carroll Gardens and Bay Ridge saw an influx of Italian immigrants, but to many, the true heart of Italian Brooklyn is Bensonhurst. The neighborhood is home to Brooklyn’s own Little Italy, to this day a prime destination for anyone seeking out authentic Italian-American cuisine. From a traditional red sauce joint to out-of-this-world pizza to more experimental newcomers, here are six of our favorite Bensonhurst spots.


For authentic Italian food, head straight to Orobello’s, an old-school, family-style Italian restaurant that serves reliably huge portions. Be ready to share! Top dishes include the chicken parmigiana, baked clams, stuffed artichokes, and their signature pasta dish, the Frank Sinatra.

Photo courtesy of Melissa N. via Yelp. (more…)

BoCoCa neighborhood round-up: Food, drinks, and shopping

In the grand tradition of SoHo (South of Houston), TriBeCa (Triangle Below Canal), and NoLIta (North Little Italy), BoCoCa is a catchall term coined by a web designer over a decade ago for the neighborhoods of Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, and Carroll Gardens (plus the Columbia Street Waterfront and the parts of Red Hook north of the Battery Tunnel). BoCoCa never really caught on, but it can be a handy designation for the intersection of simpatico neighborhoods that were generally referred to simply as South Brooklyn until the 1960s. All three neighborhoods feature cozy brownstones and townhouses and a wealth of great restaurants and bars — and besides, no one seems to agree on the “official” boundaries of Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, and Carroll Gardens.

Below are some not-to-miss BoCoCa spots — we’ll let you argue about which neighborhood each of them calls home.

Lucali (Carroll Gardens)
It’s impossible not to fall hard for Lucali, both for the pizza and the atmosphere. This cozy, perpetually packed restaurant serves up a simple menu. Plain, thin crust pizza served with a heap of basil – you do have an option to order extra toppings, but you don’t need to – and calzones. It’s also BYOB. You can usually catch the owner in the back, kneading dough or spreading fresh mozzarella. There’s often a two-hour wait here, and it’s recommended that you arrive right when it opens at 6 p.m.

Lucali pizza photo courtesy of Randi F. via Yelp. (more…)

Skate shops in Brooklyn: Aegir Boardworks, Homage, KCDC, Five Stride, and more

Whether you’re a pro or newbie skater, you’re going to need the right gear. These six Brooklyn skate shops will hook you up with the best boards, shoes, and accessories, with some places even offering classes and in-house ramps.


Skate Brooklyn (Park Slope)
Skate Brooklyn is a snow– and skateboard shop stocked with gear and apparel. The staff is extremely helpful, patient, and willing to answer all of your skating and snowboarding questions — making it a great place to come if you’re a beginner. Skate Brooklyn also hosts bus trips up to the mountains during the winter, holds skateboarding lessons for kids and adults, and has its own skate ramp in the back of the store.

Photo courtesy of Skate Brooklyn’s Facebook. (more…)

Neighborhood walks: Ditmas Park

ditmas-park-trees-brooklyn-8613476 Walking through Ditmas Park for the first time is a shock for many New Yorkers. Not only is it oddly thrilling to see big detached houses with real lawns within the city limits, but the houses themselves represent an eccentric mix of architectural styles, from Victorian to Colonial Revival to faux-Japanese. It’s a great place to explore at leisure, and nearby Cortelyou Road offers a rich selection of shops, restaurants, and bars.

What we call Ditmas Park has changed a bit over the years. The traditional boundaries are from Ocean Avenue to East 16th Street and from Dorchester Road to Newkirk Avenue, the section which contains the Ditmas Park Historic District, none of which are actually included in this walk. Now, you’re more likely to hear Ditmas Park used to refer to most of Victorian Flatbush, an area which includes the grand houses, small parks, and planned communities of Prospect Park South and Ditmas Park. This walk will start at Cortelyou Road before wandering north through the Prospect Park South Historic District towards Prospect Park.

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Ohio via Flickr. (more…)

Kosher restaurants in Brooklyn: Glatt A La Carte, Pardes Restaurant, Brooklyn Steak Co., Carlos and Gabby’s, Sushi K Bar, Prime Sandwich

For the unfamiliar, kosher food is prepared specifically to rules set by Jewish law. Being that Brooklyn has a strong Jewish community, it’s not difficult to eat kosher here. And the kosher food in Brooklyn goes way beyond traditional Jewish food — expect fusion food, sushi, Mexican, and more. Whether you are looking for new restaurants to keep kosher, or you’d like to try kosher dining for the first time, these are six great places to try.

(Please note that most kosher restaurants are closed for Shabbat, which means they may be closed for part or all of Fridays and Saturdays. Check each website for details.)


Glatt A La Carte (Borough Park)
Glatt A La Carte is an upscale kosher restaurant, with some locals considering it the best kosher restaurant in all of Borough Park. (Expect to pay for a nice night out here.) The dishes are well-cooked, well-seasoned, and nicely plated, and the menu offers a nice variety. There’s a selection of burgers, salads, heros, steaks, fish, and even sushi.

Photo courtesy of Facebook.