New York City, USA

March 30, 2017

Brooklyn Bridge Park: The Perfect Afternoon

Brooklyn Bridge Park

New York City is my side piece…and it’s official: I’m completely, irrevocably and heatedly in love with it. For the blog, it’s the whole world contained in one city. It’s the crossroads of culture, dreams, wanderlust and ambition. A simple walk home from my AM yoga class inspires me in surprising ways daily. It’s expensive, it’s dirty and sure…it’s a huge difference from the rolling hills, coastlines and adventures of southern Europe I’m so very used to. But as it turns out, when I lived here briefly during journalism school, my heart planted itself into the concrete and never left.

manhattan skyline

Over the coming months as I split my time between Germany, NYC and the rest of the world, I’ll be spending my time in the city to bring you detailed neighborhood guides, and scouting out the creme-de-la-creme of everything New York. From my favorite coffee spots and brunch haunts to hot city trends to adopting the New Yorker lifestyle. I’m excited to explore every corner of my new home and inspire you to visit this incredible city over and over again…and do my best to ensure you fall in love with it each and every time.

The sun finally made a grand spring appearance in New York and I celebrated under the Brooklyn Bridge with ice cream, eating the city’s most famous pizza and soaking up plenty of East River views. For anyone visiting Manhattan, taking a early morning jog or afternoon walk across this iconic bridge is worth including in your city itinerary. Here is how to spend the perfect afternoon in Brooklyn Bridge Park:

brooklyn bridge park

Grab coffee at Brooklyn Roasting Company 

Located in a darling corner of DUMBO and a quick 15 minute walk from the park, The Brooklyn Roasting Company is the perfect way to start off or end your afternoon and captures the innovative spirit and passionate experimental nature of every Brooklynite – even when it comes to creating the perfect coffee concoction. Lofty and hopelessly chic like any space in Brooklyn, this coffee spot is a tiny detour I’m always willing to take.

Bring a book, grab a bench and enjoy park life with prime Manhattan views

It was the first day of spring in the city, so the spirit of winter still lingered in the air but that didn’t stop me from absorbing the sunshine and getting lost in a new book (currently reading: The Man Who Cycled From India to Europe for Love). The summertime is always a vivacious trifecta of live music, American barbecues and parades of East River yachts. When that season hits, come with a cozy oversized blanket, picnic basket and a few hours to spare in the sunshine…

Grab a pizza… at the “real” Grimaldi’s (Juliana’s Pizza)

The line at the original Grimaldi’s is always out the door without fail…and in summer, expect to wait more than an hour. This iconic pizzeria is worth the wait for a good reason – the pizza is heavenly. Founded in 1990 by Patsy “Pasquele” Grimaldi, the pizzeria was inspired by his uncle’s restaurant in Italian Harlem, where Patsy learned to make pizza at age 10. In the late 1990s, Grimaldi sold ownership to one of New York’s most influential restaurateur’s who has opened several other U.S. locations and cemented the restaurant’s legacy in pizza history…then Grimaldi came out of retirement at age 80. He opened Juliana’s Pizza (named after his mother) a few steps away from the original Grimaldi’s in the original original location – creating one of the most intense pizzeria rivalries in history.

Since this little nugget of knowledge isn’t widely known, I recommend skipping the long wait at the original Grimaldi’s and indulging in a pizza from Juliana’s which is (in my humble half Italian opinion) the superior pizza and celebrates the original Italian-American who forever raised Brooklyn pizza standards. But truly, both are out of this world delicious.

Indulge in a scoop (or two) of ice cream from Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

There is nothing like escaping a toasty New York afternoon in the refuge of a classic American ice cream shop that likely hasn’t changed much since its beginnings. A timelessly simple menu, a quintessential vibe and ice cream that takes you back to childhood, the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (which lives in a converted 1922 boathouse) is a must-stop on any Brooklyn Bridge visit.

Stick around for the sunset and nighttime skyline views

You can spend an entire lifetime in New York City and you wouldn’t exhaust of new ways to enjoy it. The city is two different worlds during night and day, and sticking around as the sun sets and those bright lights come to life is an essential experience for every New Yorker and tourist alike.

brooklyn bridge park

Summer tip: Brooklyn Bridge Park turns into a city staycation in summer. From pop up pools to kayaking in the East River to the best picnics in New York and waterfront yoga classes, including a magical summertime afternoon here is magic for kids, lovebirds and BFFs alike. They also host outdoor movie nights on big screen in July and August (seriously, the perfect date night).

Winter tip: Only dedicated New Yorkers show up during winter, but prime tip: during snow days it’s one of the best spots in the city to sled, and less populated than Central Park so your chance at fresh powder is almost guaranteed.

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