Living in Toronto has spoiled in me in my perception of “far”. These past few days I’ve been in Brooklyn simply exploring what one of New York’s boroughs has to offer. This borough is truly unique in its own way. When I exited Atlantic and Barclay station (where Barclay Stadium is housed), I asked for directions to my Airbnb apartment – I needed to get to Brooklyn Ave, really Kingston Ave, but I figured people will know Brooklyn Ave better. I asked a man, he pointed then said (and I should’ve taken him seriously), “It’s far.” I naively replied, “I don’t mind walking.” Now living in Toronto, when someone says it’s far that usually means about a 20 minute walk. When a New Yorker says it’s far, it’s far. It took me an hour from Barclay Stadium to the Airbnb apartment. Suffice to say, by the time I arrived I was too tired to do anything. I ordered some oxtail something from a Caribbean restaurant a block away (delish btw) and called it a night.
It was a chilly Brooklyn morning. That morning I wanted to check out the Brooklyn Museum. Now, here’s the really unique thing about this borough: I walked south on Kingston to Union, and the neighbourhoods are so drastically different from one another. Kingston and Atlantic (where I was staying) is a bit rundown, the homes were tightly packed and lack greenery. At Union and Kingston, it’s open, the homes are freaken HUGE, with lush greens galore. This was where I picked up a breakfast apple and began my 36 minute journey to the museum.
On Union, in the centre, there is a pedestrian walkway/ cyclist road (I say this because there are road lines but I seldom saw a cyclist). It was a lovely walk. I saw classic New York brownstones and a warehouse being gentrified into something – I didn’t pay that much attention because I wanted coffee. I will point out that I didn’t see a Starbucks at all during this walk – there was no cute coffee shop on my way (or I completely missed it).
Even in my groggy, lacking caffeine and food phase, I can still recognize how beautiful and grandiose the museum is.
Now this photo cannot do it justice and nor do I want to try, you’ll just have to go visit for yourself. And the inside, DAMN! There were two DAMN moments when I was there. The first was the entrance, the perfect blend of contemporary and rustic design.
The second was when I was on the fourth floor and saw this:
By happy coincidence The Dinner Table by Judy Chicago was on exhibition. During my third year at Ryerson I wrote a paper on this specific piece of work, and it’s amazing that I get to witness it first hand. This experience was truly meaningful. Of course, I saw other artists work, I encourage you to go to my Instagram for photos. Though I never really thought of it, I really like going to museums on my own, I can enjoy something for as long or as short as I want. It’s just me.
The next, I visited the botanical gardens. I was slightly disappointed because the garden wasn’t in full bloom yet. For example, the Scent Garden wasn’t that scented and it wasn’t lush enough. I should’ve known, it’s April still. After an hour of exploration at the garden, I went into a neighbourhood called Park Slope.
Now my friends, this is definitely the epicentre of gentrification. I couldn’t tell what they were exactly turning that old warehouse into. This time it wasn’t because of my lack of caffeine, I wasn’t tall enough to look through the windows. Mind you, just because I was in the epicentre of gentrification, I wasn’t in the centre of hipsterville. Sorry to disappoint.
After about 10 hours of walking, I sat down at a restaurant called Deer and Hunter (I think…. Don’t quite remember). I had pizza margarita and a whiskey sour. By the time I finished my meal, I was definitely suffering from a food induced coma. I took a cab back to the apartment and called it a night.
And now, I’m sitting in a cafe called La Paris Darak eating a savoury crepe and enjoying my latte before I head home. This was definitely a fun experience but next time, I need to bring running shoes, because I’ve worn my Tom’s to the ground.