No Sleep till Brooklyn: Day tripping across the East River and night capping on the LES
In a city known for astonishing neighborhood transformations, perhaps few have been as interesting or fun to watch as that of the Brooklyn waterfront — from north of the Williamsburg Bridge to the south of the Brooklyn Bridge. With a storied industrial past, which evolved from 1600s ferry landing to 18th century shipping center to a largely vacant wasteland to some of the most coveted parklands and residential developments in the city.
Today, from glorious Brooklyn Bridge Park to the exciting Navy Yards and Domino Sugar Factory developments — with the warehouse lofts and new-construction buildings of Dumbo in between — this section of Brooklyn is simply one of my favorite spots in the city.
Here's a list of a few of my beloved, under-the-radar escapes and soon-to-be standouts along the East River.
Make a Splash — Before It's Too Late!
Enjoy a cool swim with breathtaking Manhattan skyline views at Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pop-up Pool. Ideally situated near plentiful seating areas and the activities of Pier 2, this hidden gem offers up a 30-foot by 50-foot watery oasis, and at just three-and-a-half-feet deep, it's perfect for swimmers of all ages and skill levels. Forty-five-minute swim sessions run from 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. each day, and capacity is capped at 60 swimmers. Affordable swim lessons for kids are also available. Now in its sixth season, this is the last year the pop-up pool will pop up at this location. The Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy is looking for a more permanent, and likely larger, swimming solution while the Pier 2 uplands section completes its slated renovation and expansion.
Summer Camp in the City
Who says you have to head to the Poconos or the Berkshires for summer camp? Brooklyn Bridge Parents outline a stellar collection of city summer camps — from Brooklyn Heights to BoCoCa — and beyond in their 2017 Summer Camp Guide. Highlights include ConstructionKids Summer Camp at Brooklyn Navy Yard, Art and Animation Camp in Dumbo and Oasis Day Camp at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Paddle the Piers for Free
Nestled between Brooklyn Bridge Park's Piers 1 and 2, a floating dock provides free kayaking. From now through August, kayakers of all skill levels can get your row on during 20-minute sessions on Thursdays between 5:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. and on Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sundays are reserved for kayak polo, a raucous mix of basketball, water polo, and kayaking.
Take the Library Outdoors
From now until August 2, Brooklyn Heights librarians will host outdoor story time along the waterfront on Brooklyn Bridge Park's Granite Terrace. Each Wednesday at 11 a.m. librarians will read stories from the Brooklyn Public Library’s reading list, lead sing-a-longs and take in the summer sun shine.
Under the Bridge Downtown
For just about the most fun you can have under a bridge, head to The Archway under the Manhattan Bridge (on Water Street between Adams Street and Anchorage Place) to enjoy their engaging and eclectic Live at the Archway series. Kicking off on Thursday nights at 6 p.m., you'll enjoy a range of musical stylings from salsa and cumbia to swing and Japanese pop. These all ages, free performances are accompanied by interactive art experiences and beer and wine from the Archway Lighthouse.
A Taste of Clinton Hill in Williamsburg
If you've spent any time at all in Clinton Hill, you've no doubt heard of, or hopefully visited, Mekelburg's phenomenal food and beer shop. Open for just two years, the cheery spot has become a neighborhood favorite with throngs of die-hard fans rabid for their great brunches, sandwiches and fantastic craft beers. Lucky Williamsburg residents will soon be able to experience this food and beer juggernaut for themselves. It's just been announced that the Mekelburg's will be the first retail occupant at the 11-acre Domino Sugar Factory development. Situated in a 4,000-square-foot space on Kent Avenue, just north of the Williamsburg bridge, Mekelburg's will eventually be surrounded in this landmarked setting by 800,000 square feet of commercial and community space, 2,800 residences and a 6-acre park — making it the future favorite destination for residents and Manhattan day trippers alike!
Rumor Has It
That buzz is the sound of Brooklynites hoping the rumors of a new Soho House enclave in Dumbo are true. According to Brooklyn Paper, the location slated for Brooklyn Bridge Park's Empire Stores development will be called Dumbo House. Details are few at this point, but the outpost is expected to feature a leafy bar area with walls of windows and an outdoor space positioned to drink in stunning waterfront views. Empire Stores is a collection of seven 19th century warehouse buildings positioned between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, just steps from Jane's Carousel. Fellow tenants in the development will include Soho House's Italian restaurant chain Cecconi’s and media companies, Laundry Service and Cycle.
Night Cap Across the River
Operating under the tagline "Luxury for All" Ian Schrager's new Public Hotel offers an abundance of, well, public spaces to delight New Yorkers and visitors alike. The Herzog and de Meuron-designed structure is a sleek paean to concrete, glass and neon with 370 guest rooms, the least of expensive of which runs just $150 a night — a downright bargain by New York standards. Single-role staffers like bellhops and concierges are replaced by Public Advisors who can provide hands-on assistance across functions, while many other hotel services are assisted by technology, including iPad-enabled check-in. Entertainment and dining spaces are lavish and plentiful starting with the immense lobby level bar outfitted with acres of couches and chairs. Nearby, Louie, described as "part grocery, part coffee shop, part luncheonette and part market," provides grab-and-go service into the wee hours, replacing traditional room service. Headed by the illustrious Jean-George Vongerichten, the cozy Public Kitchen offers an eclectic menu and fireside views of the open wood-burning oven and grill, while at Diego, a breathtaking Diego Rivera tapestry is surrounded by chic seating and a gleaming bar. Up on the 18th floor, The Roof provides jaw-dropping 360-degree views and a venue that transitions seamlessly from after-dinner drink to late-night DJ dance party. Lastly, an underground flexible space, dubbed Public Arts, will play host to a number of functions including screenings, art exhibits and stage productions. Located on Chrystie street near Houston, this ultra-modern, and very Schrager, escape is just 15 minutes from Dumbo on the F train.