a heroine’s travel guide to Brooklyn, NY/ by Kerrin Smith
HELLO BROOKLYN! Somebody once told me that Brooklyn “gets under your skin” — that once you live here, you will be forever pining for those Brooklyn vibes. There a cultural mélange that nobody can quite put their finger on here in New York’s most beloved borough, so it’s best to surrender to the mystery and indulge in the aesthetic, sartorial, historical, and existential inspiration that you’re bound to find here.
Brooklyn’s magic is best discovered by way of spontaneous wanders, those walks with no bookends during which you can let your mind turn into a cinema reel. If you want to pretend to be a local, I recommend touring by bike, but in the interest of staying safe and savouring every little detail, let’s do this day by foot.
The triangle we’ll see today spans several of Bed Stuy’s neighborhoods (including Clinton Hill, Park Slope, and For Greene), and the diversity you’ll see is provocative, especially since there is a conversation we cannot ignore about the gentrification of the area. Today you’ll hit a blend of the uber-local and the textbook favorite, I hope you see something that rocks your world in a good and important way. What makes this city so special though is that everything is inspiring, especially since a heroine can spot the inspiration or the learning in whatever she encounters.
Take the C or the G train to the Clinton Washington stop. Did you know that the C train is the only line with cars still in use from the 1960’s? Who knew! Think of it as a “living history” experience.
Fuel up with a fresh juice from Mr. Melon
In a city where we are hard pressed to find a juice for under $8 (pun? intended?) Mr. Melon gives us sixteen ounces of freshly squeezed goodness for $5 or less. Pick up a box of $1 strawberries to kick off your adventure wondering why there is a $7 discrepancy between the same box of strawberries in the grocery store three doors down…somebody please call Freakonomics. (Be sure to pick up goodies here for your Prospect Park picnic later his afternoon.)
975 Fulton Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238
Park Delicatessen is the probably coolest shop in Brooklyn
Skateboards, flowers, dry goods, oh my! One part skateshop, one part flowershop, consider this concept shop a surrealist experiment of the Brooklyn variety. I recommend you purchase the Brooklynette’s alternative to those uber trendy fur keychains by way of an oversized yarn pom pom keychain.
722 Classon Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238
A true staple that is well worth “the hype.” This is one of the only places where an oversize baroque frame is mounted against a neon orange wall. Need I say more? Be sure to stop by The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago — there is a place setting designed in honor famous heroines (both real and mythical)! Can you pick a favorite place setting?
Insider tip: Museum admission is pay what you wish.
200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11238
Picnic in Prospect Park
Brooklyn’s Central Park, but better. Pick your picnic spot (every one is a good one) and bon appetit.
Dig for buried treasure at Beacon’s Closet
…the best location of the best secondhand clothing chain in the city. When it comes to shopping secondhand, the secret to success is to unlock your imagination. You love the fabric, but the fit is off…can you belt it? Cut it? Wear it as a top instead? Shopping secondhand calls for us to engage in a sort of creative problem solving that isn’t limited to just the sartorial, which is why “Beacon’s” is an important stop for every Brooklyn-bound heroine.
92 5th Ave Brooklyn, NY 11217
Explore the Park Slope Historic District
Park Slope’s main artery is Fifth Ave, the other one. Full of neatsy salons, quintessential New York delis (this is a thing), and one-of-a-kind coffee shops, you could spend an afternoon on this street alone. It’s hard to find a bad cup of coffee here, so to avoid over caffeination, weave in and out of Fifth Ave to get a taste of the gorgeous architecture in this area, particularly up by near the park.
Park Slope Historic District (map linked)
Dip south to No Relation Vintage
For true vintage, No Relation is the answer. This warehouse-style destination is your go-to for anything tastefully tinsel or divinely denim. Decidedly not contemporary, the secret to success here is to pick your era, cue your vibe, channel your favorite heroine, and GO!
654 Sackett St, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Catch an outdoor movie Habana Outpost
With an outdoor courtyard showing outdoor movies in the summertime, the best grilled corn in the city, and a larger than life portrait of “Comandante Biggie” on the wall, it doesn’t get any better than this. Where Habana’s Manhattan location on Elizabeth Street is decidedly more “scene-y,” the Outpost, however popular it may be, still feels like the real deal.
757 Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Kerrin is the founder of CATiD, a project committed to responsible global citizenship in the fashion industry. A pseudo-Parisienne who is proud to call New York City home, Kerrin burns for a world in which empathy is a core social value and has recently launched COOL AND THOUGHTFUL, an initiative to shift social values by redefining “cool” as generosity rather than rebellion. Her favorite heroines are her mum and her Auntie Jeri.
> Xandra recommends: Start with the COOL AND THOUGHTFUL Vision statement, then enjoy the treasure trove of photography and vignette-esque commentary on intentional living through aesthetics, sustainable fashion, and love.
Is your hometown the perfect fit for a heroine? I’m always looking for fabulous locals to contribute to this Fit for a Heroine travel guide series. If you’re interested in writing for Heroine Training, read the guidelines and get in touch.