TRAVELOG: New York (Brooklyn and Queens)
Sorry that I haven’t posted in quite some time. August recess has been a nice break from the everyday routine. It seems that the late-summer doldrums have most people in a relaxed state ... sans Republicans preparing for their convention and of course police officers at security checkpoints across the capital.
I was in New York for the past three days, hanging out and not keeping to any sort of agenda. I stayed with friends in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. I suggest traveling to the relatively sleepy areas south of downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights.
A quick guide to Carroll Gardens. Take the F or G train to Carroll Street.
1) Get a rice ball at the Italian Pork Store on Court Street near President Street. It’s a thick ball of ricotta cheese coated in rice and deep fried.
2) Go to Schnack (122 Union St. betw. Hicks and Columbia). Get $1 Pabst. Eat 99 cent mini burgers, yam fries and if you’re adventurous order the most expensive thing on the menu -- a Jubilat Swojska sausage for $3.50 -- all amid disaffected Brooklyn hipsters.
3) Wash all that down at the B61 bar on Columbia Street, named for the bus line that runs from Red Hook up through Williamsburg and Greenpoint. It’s a low key place on the far side of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway near the waterfront but worth venturing out to.
If you’re really adventurous (in the daytime of course) head to Red Hook, the long forgotten about waterfront warehouse district on the other side of the Gowanus Expressway. For a good look at Red Hook, take a look at Jake Dobkin's Bluejake photolog. Take a look at the rusting sugar refinery on the wharves that is collapsing into the water. The streets are cobblestoned covered in trash and debris. Check out the late 19th century dockside warehouses before they are converted to condos. There really isn’t anything in Red Hook in terms of entertainment, except for Sunny's (253 Conover St.), the 114-year old bar that has been owned by the same family. Come by soon before Ikea comes in.
If you want a good, cheap Indian buffet take E train/Queens Blvd. express out to Roosevelt Avenue/Jackson Heights in Queens. The best known is the Jackson Diner, but it is not by means the only choice. Pace yourself for optimal curry consumption.
Want lunch for $2.50 (including drink)? Head to the corner of Eldridge and Broome on the eastern edge of Chinatown for dumplings. Two orders of fried pork and chive dumplings (five in each order). Beware of grease than can spill on your jeans while you consume them in Sara Delano Roosevelt Park.
How about a crazy cab ride? I recommend you hail a cab at Broadway and 107th Street (or anywhere between 96th and 125th streets sometime around 2:45 a.m.) and ask to go to Brooklyn. Make sure the cabbie cuts over on 96th Street to the FDR Drive and that he speeds at about 25 mph over the speed limit. Watch the city go by on the right. The bridges to Queens and Brooklyn will be on the left.
Thanks again to the NYT’s City section for being my guide.