The Library Goddesses took their spring day trip this year to Brooklyn. More specifically we spent the day in the neighborhood called Boerum Hill. Travel along with us and enjoy the day. I hope this account will inspire you to use it as a guide for your own day trip. Experience one of the best urban neighborhoods on the east coast.
It was a rainy day as we drove across the George Washington Bridge and went down the east side of Manhattan to cross the East River via the Brooklyn Bridge. Traffic slowed as we drove under the Manhattan Bridge giving us a chance to take in the details. Where else but in New York City would you see this kind of billboard?
Bordered by Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens to the west, Brooklyn Heights and Downtown Brooklyn to the north and Prospect Heights to the east, Boerum Hill is a thriving, residential neighborhood combining restored brownstones with older business buildings re-purposed into new residences. It’s crisscrossed by a series of busy streets with flourishing small businesses. At its center is Smith Street, paralleled by Court St. to the west and running into Atlantic Ave. to the north. Smith Street is one of the renowned “restaurant rows” of New York City. Restaurant Saul at 140 Smith Street has a prestigious Michelin star! It is also home to specialty shops and boutiques of every description, along with all the typical shopping any neighborhood needs to sustain itself. This area and the other surrounding neighborhoods make for a wonderful day out eating, shopping and having fun in Brooklyn.
Boerum Hill is also where my very close and wonderful friends Bill and Drew have lived for decades. Though both of them originally come from (as Bill likes to say) the “Mysterious Midwest” they have worked and lived in New York City for a very long time. They live close to Smith Street in a beautiful old brownstone. They have 2 floors and the back garden is theirs. What a luxury and delight to have so much green space in New York City. I had been working on a trip for the Goddesses to meet them and walk through the neighborhood for a while. I knew everyone would enjoy meeting each other and have a great time. The guys love their neighborhood and sharing it with visitors and I had no doubt we all would have a great day out. And we did!
After touring their lovely home and garden, we were off to lunch. We walked up Bergen St. towards Court St. on our way to have lunch in Carroll Gardens. We passed Vinnie’s Italian Art Iron Works with its fabulous statue of St. Joseph on the roof.
We ate lunch at Panino’Techa on Court St (not to be confused with one on Smith that closed). Though they have fabulous pizza ovens, we did not order pizza. The menu is really interesting and everyone loved what they ordered. After lunch, we walked down and around Carroll Park (lots of families with kids playing) back to Smith St.
We dipped in and out of some of elegant, fun and/or funky places on both sides of the street. The cheese and prosciutto display at Stinkybkln was amazing.
And my favorite shop on Smith St. is Exit 9 Gift Emporium.
Here you can get the unusual, the sexy/funny mixed in with Brooklyn centric tourist stuff. I’ve bought some really fun items here over the last few years.
My favorite was a stuffed animal figure of the forest spirit Totoro from the animated film “My Neighbor Totoro” by the brilliant Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki. This is one of my favorite movies of all time. There is tons of Totoro merchandise to be had in Japan, as it is a very popular film with Japanese children, but most of the merchandise tie ins with his films never make it to the U. S. It was a shock and surprise to find the plush figures in Brooklyn. My Totoro sits up high about my desk in my home office. Otherwise, my dog, Mr. Darcy,
would play with him and he would be worse for wear. I really wanted to call Mr. Darcy “Totoro”, but it would end up being shortened to Toto and that name is taken!
Next door to Exit 9 is an accessory store with so much bling you may be blinded by the light. We always comb these kinds of places for tiara themed jewelry, but we came up empty that day. But they did have a lovely tiara in the window. So tempting!
By this time it was late afternoon and the rain had started up again. The Goddesses were foot weary. Not Drew. He would walk everyone I know into the ground. So, we went back to the house, ordered pizza and talked and talked and talked. It was only the long drive home that made us stop. An excellent day!