On a summer weekday in 1984, I moved to Brooklyn Heights, New York. This was the place for remembering happy early age things. On Remsen Street, I lived as a fat baby, learning to walk, throwing temper tantrums, getting bee stings on the butt, and best of all, sitting on my father’s shoulders all the way down the block to the promenade, where I would point repeatedly at the Statue of Liberty.
On another summer day decades later, this is still the place. The brownstone-lined streets make time stand still. Here there is untouchable charm, crumbling churches, green painted bike paths, and ivy-covered, brick buildings built in the 19th century. I take what now seems a short walk to the promenade at the edge of Remsen, where I am met with a view and a fresh breath of air unlike anything I’ve had in Manhattan in a long while.
Across the East River, South Street Seaport and a gleaming Financial District are as close as one subway stop or a stroll over the Brooklyn Bridge. With all the couples and families, dogs, runners and photographers, everyone’s idea of a perfect Sunday makes for quite a unique rendezvous at this particular point.
Whatever the season, Brooklyn Heights is the best afternoon escape from Manhattan. It is a retreat reminiscent of the West Village–if one needs a comforting comparison—with the important difference being one spectacular New York skyline. For a romantic getaway, staying until evening is highly recommended.
More than just a pretty, historical neighborhood with a view, there is Montague Street. With four blocks of boutiques and thrift shops like Underground Thrift Store restaurants, pubs, and people watching, there is enough to keep all walks of life busy. Come and sift through thrift shops, digest stores full of modern lines and furry, overpriced furniture, enjoy ethnic food from India, Japan, and Poland, or sit in front of the world’s first Haagen Daaz with a blended Bailey’s treat, admiring the classic red car and the pooch being pushed in its own stroller.
Espresso-sip at Vineapple Cafe, and read the paper until the sun is low in the sky, and it’s time to hop on the 2 train and go home, while remembering that whenever you need to, the waterfront bench in Brooklyn Heights will always be waiting.
How to get there:
By Subway: Take the 2 train (red line) to Clark Street and walk south until Montague Street, then make a right (West) and you’re on the main drag. Other trains that go to Brooklyn Heights: A, C, F, M, R, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
By Foot: Walk the historic Brooklyn Bridge
By Bike: If it’s after 8:00AM we recommend taking the Manhattan Bridge to DUMBO and riding down to Brooklyn Heights. While the Brooklyn Bridge does have a bike lane, it’s often full with tourists and hard to safely navigate.
Photo: Myrna Suarez