Magical Places in Brooklyn
It’s no secret that this former military supply base in WWII is one of the most stunning places to visit in Brooklyn. Located right off the Sunset Park ferry stop, the terminal offers an atrium and public spaces open year round for visitors, historical tours, and events. Take in an atrium filled with staggered balconies, abandoned railroad tracks, a footbridge, and a looming skylight that looks like a moment frozen in time. Outside are arched entryways, a fishing pier, and a large open lot. It’s a recurring destination during Open House New York weekend.
This renovated warehouse is a multifunctional venue for concerts, art shows, poetry slams, woodworking, and more. Enter a space filled with neon lights, a large disco ball, white brick walls, glass block windows, a Toyota 4Runner parked in the back, and an upper viewing deck with couches. Although their first large event was held in only July 2022, it’s already hosted a SoFar Sounds concert and a wide variety of musicians. Follow them on Instagram @highsideworkshop for the latest updates and check out their website for future events. The address is 209 Evergreen Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11221.
This repurposed industrial space in Sunset Park is composed of eateries, retailers, and changing art installations while also hosting seasonal movie events and a pop-up disco roller rink. Composed of 16 buildings, this modern hangout has five acres of outdoor space for events like sunset yoga and live music. Their food hall offers pan-Asian foods, sweet treats, cocktail bars, and more. There are endless places to explore here, including a tattoo parlor, a sake brewery, and the newest addition, The Loft at Japan Village. You can also shop here for home furnishings, vintage clothing, and vinyl records. The nearest train station is 36th St (D/N/R trains), and from here, just walk one long block east.
Looking for collector's items or unique home décor? This hip antique store is located within a large, garage-type space filled with unexpected trinkets, vintage items, furniture, and an upper level with paintings. It’s the perfect place to take your time sifting through old records or deciding which poster to take home and pin to your wall. Located just around the corner from the Bedford stop on the L train, it's an easy stop during your Brooklyn thrifting sprees.
This cozy & casual music venue and tavern has been open since 1999, offering free shows nightly that feature mostly unknown bands. Renowned singer-songwriter Norah Jones has previously performed here and sometimes pops up for unannounced gigs. Pete's hosts various events such as open mic night, trivia night, a reading series, and more. Stop by any night of the week, grab your drink of choice, and enjoy the diverse genres of music performed. There are a limited number of seats and tables, so latecomers may be standing in the back near the bar. The closest train stations are Nassau Ave along the G or Lorimer St on the L.
If you feel the desire to unburden yourself from any secrets, this is the place to do it. A white obelisk can be found engraved with the words, “Here lie the secrets of the visitors of Green-wood Cemetery” and has a slot on the side for written submissions. Created in 2017 by French artist Sophie Calle, she plans to exhume and cremate these secrets after 25 years. The obelisk is located on Bay Grove Hill near the statue of Governor Dewitt Clinton. The main entrance to the cemetery is at 5th Avenue and 25th St near the R train. For more detailed directions, click here.
A small but lively bar and arcade with pinball machines are hidden behind a washing machine door inside a functioning laundromat. A backroom with a skylight holds even more arcade games, and there are also board games up for grabs. Their drinks menu consists of a variety of beers and canned seltzers, plus Red Bull, Gatorade, coconut juice, and kombucha. Locals from Greenpoint make this their hangout point — the arcade can become very packed on a weekend night. When you arrive, walk past the vending machine with the Plan B and head straight for the door in the back. To get here, walk a few blocks from the Greenpoint Ave station on the G. Note: As of January 19, 2023, the arcade is still temporarily closed since December and is uncertain of its reopening date.
Even though you probably don't recognize the name, you've likely seen at least a picture of this Historic Place in the National Register. What used to be the Williamsburg Savings Bank is now an event venue for weddings, galas, galleries, festivals, and filming locations. The exterior of the building is a large, color-changing dome that J, M, and Z train passengers passing through Marcy Avenue are well-acquainted with. The interior features some of the dreamiest architecture in the borough: a mural-painted dome, intricate mosaics, marble floors, and oval windows. While it's not open to the public for tours, check online for events like a holiday market to gain inside access.
A curated list of underrated or unheard of places that spark a sense of wonder.
Manhattan Beach Hotel, 1877.
This waterfront park features dreamy views of the Lower Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty along several piers. Once a port complex, the park now offers an esplanade, tide ponds, restored wetlands, a nature preserve, and athletic fields. There are large rustic warehouses at the entrance and back of the park, fitting for its location in the industrial Sunset Park. The layout of the park is unusual but intriguing, especially if you visit on a cloudy day and you're one of few people there. If you're feeling extra adventurous, follow the trail into the woods where you might find things left behind by previous visitors. Afterwards, take about a 20 minute walk to Industry City for food and shopping. To get here, exit at 45th St (N/R trains) and walk 18 minutes. You must enter the park through 43rd St, as there are no other entry points.
In the charming and quiet neighborhood of Red Hook, you’ll find this pier and park that also has a small beach. It's a family-oriented area yet romantic and vibrant. The Statue of Liberty can be seen nearby as well as passing ferries. Just outside the park is a pie shop, a brewery and winery, warehouses, a 1951 trolley, and brick-faced homes. There’s also a Fairway where Anne Hathaway filmed an episode of Modern Love. After you’re done shopping at the nearby IKEA, take a walk along the pier in time to catch the sunset. The closest station is a ferry terminal at the Red Hook/Atlantic Basin stop. From here, the walk is 12 minutes.
The largest park in Brooklyn is home to salt marsh trails, wildlife, wetland & grassland areas, and lookout points facing Gerritsen Creek and White Island. Go kayaking on the creek or hike on the trails found within 800 acres of nature just a few miles away from Manhattan. Visitors can also fish, paddle board, or wade in the water. Pictures can't quite capture how nature-dense this park actually is; be wary of lots of insects and small crabs along the path during the summer. To get here by train is a bit difficult as it requires either a half-hour walk or taking the B100 bus after exiting the either the B or Q train at Kings Hwy. If you're able to, I recommend taking a car for an easier commute. There's parking on-site.
The site of the former Brooklyn Naval Hospital Cemetery is now a wildflower meadow with more than 50 species of native plants, including woodland sunflowers and blazing stars. The oblong-shaped Black Locust walkway leads to a wooden seating area on the other side of the park. The park serves as an urban ecology tour and field trip destination, but it also draws in visitors looking for a meditative green space. Designed by the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, the Landscape serves to remind visitors of the site's history and provide a habitat for nature within an urban environment. It's best to visit during warmer months when the flowers are blooming. The Landscape is located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard neighborhood near the G and M trains.
A vessel-like passageway, granite slab steps, and greenery are found across the water from a wastewater treatment plant. This quarter-mile promenade borders Brooklyn and Queens, separated by Newtown Creek, and features views of the skyline and passing cargo ships. Built by the city's Department of Environmental Protection, the Walk represents reformation in response to its environmental and cultural histories. It has a sanctuary-like energy and hosts few visitors, making it an ideal destination for peace and quiet. It's not exactly filled with nature, despite its name, but its concrete design is what makes it so unique and intriguing. The entrance is located at the end of Paidge Ave. You can get here by walking over the Pulaski Bridge (#2 in Queens) or taking the G train to Greenpoint Ave.
A well-known spot in Bay Ridge is this waterfront park facing the New York Bay and Staten Island. The park features grassy hills, dreamy pathways lined with lampposts (some running alongside the Belt Parkway), and the Millenium Skate Park. It rivals Sunset Park with its elevated views and as a picnicking spot. Visit during the summertime if you want to take a walk through roaming fireflies. While you're here, visit the American Veterans Memorial Pier (where the Bay Ridge ferry terminal is) beside the park. Continue the adventure by exploring the neighboring Brooklyn Army Terminal or the lesser-known Narrows Botanical Gardens. The nearest train stop is Bay Ridge Av on the R.