While Williamsburg gets most of the love (and snide remarks) from travellers and popular media, Fort Greene is my preferred Brooklyn neighbourhood. The area is predominantly made up of low-rise buildings and historic brownstone walkups line many of the residential streets. Walking the streets of Fort Greene is an enjoyable experience and not covered in tourists like so many other parts of New York. Many people also praise Fort Greene for it's healthy growth that has managed to temper gentrification in ways that other Brooklyn neighbourhoods have not.
Where to get Coffee
Hungry Ghost has a hip little spot with a couple of tables and perfectly pulled Stumptown espresso. Baba Cool is a cute small spot with an all white interior that manages to look fresh but not pretentious. I definitely recommend getting an amazing salad (I had arugula) or chatting with the friendly staff behind the counter.
Pick from a string of excellent restaurants along Dekalb Avenue or head over to this amazing Japanese fusion joint, Kinjo Sushi on Greene Avenue.
What to Do
Walt Whitman, Truman Capote, Jhumpa Lahiri and John Steinbeck are among many of the famous authors who called Fort Greene home. A great reason to visit the Greenlight Bookstore, an inviting space that is organized, warm and staffed with helpful and unpretentious staff. They have an amazing selection of books about Brooklyn and some unconventional magazine titles.
If you happen to come in the summer, visit the famous Brooklyn Flea, a vintage bazaar and hip food spot (open from April-November).
WHAT TO SEE
Street art is abundant in New York and Fort Greene is no exception! There are tons of murlals and street art to check out. Right around BAM there are several notable pieces, my favourite being this pop and lock bike rack and the women’s faces across the street. Over near Fulton Street you can see the highly Instagramable Love Letter Brooklyn mural by ESPO, a poem written on the side of a building in giant sign-painter style lettering.
How to Ride
It is a long held opinion of mine that the best way to see a city is on two wheels. When you're pedalling around the neighbourhoods of New York you get a feel for the flow of the city in a way that walking and driving won't give you. Sign up to rent a Citibike from a station kiosk at one of the many new station racks in Brooklyn. A 24 Hour rental gives you unlimited 30 minute rentals for $9.95. My pro-tip is to check the station map so you can plan out your route and know which docks are empty and full before you get there.