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New York travel to boroughs, what are New Yorks burroughs
By: (justin) 2012.02.13

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How can somebody possibly sum up New York in just over two pages? It can't happen because New York is made up of five boroughs (or incorporated municipality if you like) each with its own personality. Instead of drawing up huge assumptions to accommodate all the boroughs or showing the tourist traps of Manhattan, this article reads like a guidebook. Here are dozens of ways to see the borough of Brooklyn just as someone who has lived there all of his/her life.

CONEY ISLAND BRIGHTON BEACH SHEEPSHOÚ BAY
Brooklyn's lively seaside communities, home to frankfurters (introduced by Charles Feltman in 1870), roller coasters, and mixed public bathing, lie along five miles of beach at Brooklyn's southern end. Reigemann Boardwalk leads visitors from the legendary neighborhood of Coney Island to Brooklyn's Little Russia in Brighton Beach to the old fishing community of Sheepshead Bay.


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Take the B/D/F/N train to Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island. There are many historic curiosities in operation here, including Sideshows by the Seashore, where you can see "freaks, wonders and human curiosities" for $3; Astroland Amusement Park, home of "the world famous Cyclone" ($4); and Nathan's Famous, serving foot-long hot dogs ($2) to its loyal patronage. If you look west, you'll see the moss-covered Tornado roller coaster and the tall parachute jump - both reminders of Coney Island's heyday. Further still, you can catch a glimpse of the mighty Verrazano Bridge, connecting Brooklyn to Staten Island.

You will know you have entered Brighton Beach when you pass a cabana where elderly Russian men play cards, dominos, and chess. Explore the many cafes and clubs, with names like Volna, Tatiana, and the Moscow Cafe Bar. If you have money to spare, many of these clubs offer an all-night extravaganza of vodka, live music, dancing, and a voluptuous all-you-can-eat banquet ($50).

When the Boardwalk ends at Brighton and 14th Street, walk north into Sheepshead Bay. Soon you will find the Holocaust Memorial Mall, a collection of headstones paying tribute to those exterminated in the Holocaust, their defenders, and descriptions of war-time meetings and concentration camps.


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Then meander along Emmons Avenue, where ships await passengers on their morning or all-night deep-sea fishing cruises ($16). If fishing is not your sport, try the three-hour tour of the Manhattan skyline and Statue of Liberty ($15) to experience the waters you have been strolling beside. Or, enter Pips Comedy Club at Ocean Avenue, where now-famous Brooklyn comedians like Joan Rivers and Rodney Dangerfield got their start.

A note to those staying late in Sheephead Bay or Brighton Beach: ongoing construction on the D/Q line has closed down several of the closest stations. Walk in groups for safety or take car service at night.


CARROLL GARDENS, COBBLE HILL, BROOKLYN HEIGHTS
To begin your journey through historic Brooklyn, take the F/G train to Carroll Street. Named after Charles Carroll, the only Roman Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, Carroll Gardens was first settled by the Irish, and later flooded with Italian immigrants. The neighborhood retains its working-class Italian flavor, apparent in the good food and flourishing front-yard gardens (Do not visit this neighborhood on Monday, as most restaurants and shops are closed.)

Meander along Court Street, the main drag featuring Italian restaurants and specialty food shops, or head one block east to Smith Street, where new cafes and thrift stores pop up every day. Movie buffs can stop by the Cammareri Brothers Bakery to see where Cher met her fiancee'sbrother in "Moonstruck. If you are a pane connoisseur, Caputo's Bakery is rumored to be the place for bread, while Caputo's Pastry Shop offers delicious, traditional Italian pastries, fresh bagels, and Italian ices. On Smith Street, The Fall Cafe is where the college-aged crowd lounges on comfy couches and splurges on an entire breakfast for $1.95.

Continue north to gentrified Cobble Hill, where more culinary delights await. You can get a $3 pot of tea at Sweet Melissa Patisserie. Or listen to poetry readings and enjoy art from Southeast Asia at the cozy Shakespeare's Sister. Roberto Cappuccino is a rarity, offering not only crepes and galettes with you choice of over fifteen sweet and savory toppings, but a blind tarot card reader as well. Last but not least, do not miss Cafe Love! This organic, vegetarian cafe has it all, from hot cider to cornbread with carrot butter to hummus and miso soup to vegetable juices and fruit smoothies.

Fully fed, continue walking north to Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn's best-known neighborhood. Tree-lined streets with names like Cranberry and Pineapple boast of brownstone entrances famed with intricate latticework. Brooklyn Heights is an architect's dreamland. Many of these homes were restored in the 1960s and are as elegant as when first constructed. For an introduction to various Heights' landmarks, visit the Brooklyn History Museum, or follow the footpath along spacious Cadman Plaza to experience the most famous Brooklyn landmark: the Brooklyn Bridge. Several plaques on the Bridge provide historical background.


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If tunnels fascinate you, the MTA Museum, housing 100 years of transit memorabilia, provides more than you want to know about New York's subway system. And, of course, a trip to "the Heights" is not complete without a stroll down the Promenade at sunset. Here, the view of the cluttered Manhattan skyline is breathtaking. To top it all off there is Bargemusic, where you can listen to live chamber music while dining on a charming coffee barge ($15). On your way to the Ferry Landing, note the Eagle Warehouse and Storage Company building to the left. Walt Whitman worked here when he served as editor of the Brooklyn Eagle.


PARK SLOPE, PROSPECT PARK
Prospect Park has served as a focal and gathering point for Brooklyn communities since its completion in 1873. The areas surrounding the park contain Brooklyn's most-visited attractions - the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Grand Army Plaza, and the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. The 526-acre Park, designed and built by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted, is itself a main attraction for tourists and residents alike.

Take the 2/3 train to Grand Army Plaza and visit any of the attractions above, or enter the park. For fifty cents, ride the beautifully-restored carousel with Wurlitzer organ. In the temperate months, take a pedal boat out on Lullwater Pond and relax in the sun ($10/hour). Enjoy free concerts at the Bandshell every weekend during the summer. In winter, ice-skating is available at Kate Wollman Rink ($6 admission and rental.)

If you can bear to leave the park, head into the neighboring community of Park Slope for more fun. Populated by families, liberal yuppies, and a sizable lesbian crowd, Park Slope has a little bit of something for everyone. Seventh Avenue is the main thoroughfare, with 5th Avenue coming at a close second. There are many stores and restaurants to choose from. Cafe Fuerte,a spacious yet homey venue with couches in the street window, is popular with a fun-loving crowd, has a pleasant wait staff, and serves delicious, wholesome fare. Eight months out of the year, weekend stoop sales line the streets of Park Slope and a thrift market is held on the playground of the public school. There is also The Third Eye, a well respected tattoo and piercing parlor on Union Street, in case you are so inspired to decorate your body with a message to flash back West: "Take me to Brooklyn."


Just the facts


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Tranportation: New York has one of the most extensive subway systems in the world. Contrary to popular belief, the subway system is no more dangerous than being on the streets. Car service (not yellow taxis) is a fast, comfortable and inexpensive way to get around the burroughs. Car service does not work on meters like cabs. Instead, the dispatcher will quote you a price when you call for a car.

Safety: Almost every corner of Brooklyn is safe during the day, and many areas are relatively safe at night if you are traveling with a friend or in a group.

Accommodations:
NYC International Youth Hostel, Manhattan. The old standby ($20 members/ $25 non-members) with plenty of amenities and a very friendly staff (212) 932-2300.
Foy House, located in Park Slope, is a favorite for those that can afford it at $85. (718) 636-1492
Information and tours: Brooklyn Information and Culture has information on Brooklyn, B&Bs and Brooklynx web site (718) 855-7882 (x51)
Brooklyn Center for Urban Development offers cheap walking tours of Brooklyn neighborhoods (718) 624-0989
Both Let's Go and Lonely Planet have extensive guidebooks on New York for cheap.

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