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Celebrate Brooklyn

April 28, 2013

I’ve been feeling very connected to my home town of Boston over the past couple weeks. I think anyone who has spent time in Beantown probably feels some Hub love, first protectiveness, then pride during this tough time.

But yesterday for me was full-blown Brooklyn love. Since I moved here last October, I’m not sure there has been a single full day in Brooklyn, save for those I was trapped in the borough because Hurricane Sandy forced the bridges and tunnels to close. Yesterday, though, was an all Brooklyn day by choice and it was exhilarating.

I started out early, greeted by bright blues skies and temperate weather, heading towards the Gowanas area of Brooklyn where my morning’s activities were scheduled to take place.  I walked around the Olmstead designed Prospect Park. I usually walk on one side of the park, but was inspired to follow the park to the south and was richly rewarded for it. First up was a large area of ball fields filled with kids of all ages playing soccer and softball. This is where I saw my dear friend Rhoda transform from one of my drinking buddies to a proper soccer mom. I looked at the other mom’s cheering their offspring and realized how many stories they mud all have. It was refreshing to see how many girls were taking their place alongside the boys. Also refreshing was the Mud Coffee truck!

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Working my way around the park, through the various neighborhoods of Brooklyn, there was beautiful park trails, great old buildings, and charming houses. IMG_3466IMG_3474IMG_3469

One of the things I really love about Brooklyn in the spring are the stoop sales. They are everywhere and can range from absolute junk to real vintage finds. I leave it to you, dear reader to determine which category my purchase falls under:

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After passing by my first apartment in Brooklyn, IMG_3479where I lived in the late-1980s and pausing to text my then roommate with photos and loving messages back and forth, !finally made it to the warehouse section of Gawanus, I joined the annual Brooklyn Skillshare, and annual event where folks from the Borough lead classes in just about anything. I learned about fermenting veggies (specifically sauerkraut, Japanese fabric dying techniques (kind of super precise tie dye, which may well represent the bulk of my christmas gifts next year) and, best of all, juggling – which was so much fun!

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I could easily have stayed all day, with classes in bike maintenance, curry making, and wine tasting ahead, it was hard to pull myself away. But away I went. Hopping on the G train, the only subway line that never hits Manhattan, I made my way to Williamsburg to meet up with friends visiting from Washington DC and Montreal (and Manhattan). We wondered the streets of Billyburg, joking about how it had become a parody of what it once was, like visiting Haight Ashbury today (although, unlike Haight Ashbury, there wasn’t a Starbucks to be seen and we enjoyed our overpriced lattes in one of the many artisanal coffee shops popping in between the vintage stores.). After a walk down Bedford and Driggs, the epicenters of Williamsburg hip culture, we searched through the used record and bookstores in search of a toy store to appease the two incredibly patient children joining us for the adventure.  Toys found, beer consumed, and the sunshine fading, we bid goodbye to our out-of-town friends IMG_3494 and my Manhattan pal and I headed out in search of a Williamsburg dining adventure. Our first two attempts, both motivated by my recent research into NYC restaurants serving “humane” meat were foiled by long waits. I”m sure they are wonderful but the beauty of New York is that you never have to wait for good food. We happened upon Qoo Robata Bar, an every so nerdy its hip Japanese place on Metropolitan Avenue. We sat in a small very private booth and enjoyed the spectacularly good organic, free-range, grass-fed sourced robata and ramen while listening to 60s era jazz. IMG_3501It felt as close to being in Japan as I’ve experienced, or possibly like being in a Suzie Wong novel.

Heading to the L train, we passed an outlet of the Momofuko Milk Bar and couldn’t resist the temptation. I am not a sweet lover, but we opted for the house specialty crack pie. Its ingredients are basically sugar, brown sugar, cream, butter, and eggs. It was sweet, very, very sweet and I can see the appeal for some people, but not for me. (it was essentially pecan pie without pecans). I love the idea of the Milk bar. Its steeped in whimsy and creative ideas, but it’s probably not going to be a repeat visit spot for me. Qoo on the other hand….

It was an easy train ride home and I was out before my head hit the pillow. Brooklyn Rocks!

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