Brooklyn's Hidden Gems
When visiting New York City, I skip Manhattan. The financial district is boring. If you've seen the Statue of Liberty once, well...you've seen her. The village is interesting, but not really my style. Times Square is crowded, and each time I'm there I encounter the rudest people in the entire city. Coney Island is okay, but so touristy. So where do I head for fun while visiting New York City? It's Brooklyn! And here are some of the places I hate to miss while there.
Sanford and Sven
The first time I was in Brooklyn, I found the Sanford and Sven signs amusing, but didn't venture into the store. After seeing the shop featured on the Discovery Channel show "Dirty Money" though, I knew I had to visit them. Whether you're looking for furniture, antiques, or something that looks more like a prop from a major motion film, this shop is most likely to have it. The best part is, if you catch the guys on a good day you can risk haggling for a lower price!
The Bagel Store
Sure, The Bagel Store has bagels -- a lot of them! They also have muffins and pastries, as well as full breakfast and lunch menus. Everything we've ever had here is good. I suffer from some fairly severe food allergies, and they go above when preparing my food. Usually just the thought of eating out is enough to throw me into hives, but I know I'm safe here, and the food is excellent. Not to mention, they aren't stingy with the cream cheese -- their bagels boast ample amounts of it!
Part craft store, part how-to learning center, Spacecraft is a unique business that sells both raw and handmade craft materials. Additionally, they encourage customers and students to upcycle new, repurposed creations from things that were headed for the trash bin. We ran across them quite by accident, and bumped into one of the owners. A gracious hostess, she invited us to enjoy a brief respite from our hike through the city at the craft table in the center of the room, where we spent well over an hour comparing and contrasting our respective neighborhoods -- hers in Brooklyn, NY and mine in Harpers Ferry, WV. Go ahead, click the blue words and check out the craft table. Isn't it the best? All those layers of stain, and paint, and who knows what else. I love when a place tells a story, and that table has an amazing story to tell!
Having forgotten my knitting bag at home, I longed to sit in the hotel room and knit after a day of marathon shopping. This little yarn shop is charming! They also offer supplies for spinning, but sadly one glare from my husband and I stuck to my original idea of just buying yarn and needles. We arrived about fifteen minutes too early, but the shopkeeper was both friendly and accommodating, allowing us inside a few minutes before the official time to open the doors. The yarn selection spans a full array of color and style, while the accessories include nearly anything you'd need to complete a project -- even while just visiting Brooklyn.
Last, but certainly in no way are they least, don't discount the street vendors. My teenage sons are into buying and selling record albums. After a disappointing walk to a couple of overpriced shops, we had a little success in Brooklyn's Salvation Army Thrift Store. As the day wore on, the street vendors appeared in droves with everything from fake gold watches to Louie Vuitton [sic] handbags. But one guy took up an entire street block and had records by the thousands. We spent a good chunk of time browsing, and I managed to snag a KISS album in near-perfect condition for $4 -- that was worth almost six times that much!
From now on when I visit New York City, unless I'm with someone who's never seen the city before I skip the crowds and tourist traps. You can keep your Starbucks in Times Square and overpriced stores named after fashionistas from around the world -- give me a Brooklyn bagel and a junk shop any day!