On the third day, we decided it was time to leave Manhattan for a while, and cross over the most famous (and most dreaded for pure New Yorkers) bridge of New York, the Brooklyn Bridge, which inevitably leads to Brooklyn.
Later in the week, we learned a bit about NYC and its actual size compared to Manhattan Island only. This was great information, so I’m gonna share it with you in this article.
NYC is actually divided into 5 boroughs, Manhattan Island being by far the smallest one after Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. The biggest in size is Queens, but the biggest in population is actually Brooklyn: 2,640,711 people live there, which is by itself more than the whole population of Paris, France! In total, the city of New York gathers 8,622,698 people, which places it just under London.
The Crowne Plaza Hotel
That hotel is outstanding in every way: by its location on 5th Avenue, right at the corner of Central Park, by its magnificent architecture and by the fact it was featured in Home Alone 2 (which most of us my age saw a pretty fair amount of times – not gonna lie).
Who never wanted to see the inside of the Crowne Plaza, one of the most famous hotels of the world? Well I did, and my face was pretty much resembling that when we entered:
The inside was all luxurious, and the hotel really is an attraction in itself. We then took the subway to head downtown.
The One And Only Brooklyn Bridge
When we got there the sun was so bright I didn’t have enough of my hat and sunglasses: everything was reverberating way too much! But it didn’t prevent me from enjoying the sight: the Brooklyn Bridge was before my eyes!
All those metallic ropes really make a difference in its look, which is absolutely unmistakable. Surprisingly, we weren’t alone on the bridge (hmmm) and it took us about an hour and fifteen minutes to cross it, while obviously taking lots of pictures!
That’s like as good as it can get, really:
Time in Brooklyn
When we arrived on the other side, there was a lot to see: a hip-hop festival was being held under the bridge and the music resonated in the whole area which made the walk even more enjoyable. We headed towards the left side of the bridge (coming from Manhattan), at Fulton Park.
We ate at a restaurant called Cecconi’s, where we were seated with a direct view on the Manhattan Bridge. You know, it’s THAT bridge we see in movies, here in Once Upon A Time In America, of Sergio Leone:
We then walked the entire way to the right side of the Brooklyn Bridge: this was Brooklyn Heights Promenade, which goes from Pier 1 to Pier 6.
We saw some typical stuff along the way and took some very nice pictures, including the most beautiful picture I have so far (picture of this article), and this was taken on the right side of the BB, at the Old Pier 1.
As it was Saturday, we saw a lot of people barbecuing all along the Promenade, some of them celebrating birthdays, with children playing everywhere… this was very nice.
Right before Pier 6 we purchased an ice cream, and went to wait in line for the free Governor’s Island Ferry that was departing at about 4:30 pm: yes we took all that time to walk the distance from Pier 1 to Pier 6!
All in all, the time we spent in Brooklyn was a big surprise to me. I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much but I actually did. I guess what the girls said in Sex And The City about it when Miranda and Steve go and buy a house there is overrated, and although it may have been true in the 90’s, it sure isn’t today (expect for the fact that NYC taxis still won’t cross over to Brooklyn).
The view on the Manhattan skyline was absolutely amazing the whole way, the people were all nicely relaxed, it was almost empty therefore very calming, AND it smelled better than on the island of Manhattan.
You see the green island right in front of Manhattan skyline? Well, this is Governor’s Island! Not very far from Manhattan indeed. From Brooklyn it took us about 10 minutes to set foot on it.
The ferry ride was very short but long enough to help us breathe some nice fresh air from the ocean bay… and get some of the worst sunburns we’ve ever had! But don’t worry they later transformed themselves into a nice tan.
When we set foot on the island, we couldn’t believe what we were seeing: this island basically looked like a movie decor.
The buildings were all built from those beautiful red bricks that are so typical of America, at least in the movies and TV shows I’ve seen during my life! It made think about The Walking Dead in particular, which wasn’t… very pleasant… kept looking over my shoulder to see whether a zombie was coming after me!
We tried to rent a trolley out, but we had to wait for an hour to get one… so we decided it was better to go and explore the island on foot. We first sat on a bench to people watch for a while. We also went to see Castle Williams, which was very interesting.
Castle Williams is a circular fortification of red sandstone on the northwest point of Governors Island, part of a system of forts designed and constructed in the early 19th century to protect New York City from naval attack. It is a prominent landmark in New York Harbor. Together with Fort Jay (Fort Columbus), it is managed by the National Park Service as part of Governors Island National Monument.
During the Civil War, the casemates of Castle Williams were used to house newly recruited Union troops, to serve as a barracks for the garrison’s troops, and to imprison Confederate enlisted men and deserters from the Union Army. After 1865, it became a low-security military prison that was also used as quarters for recruits and transient troops. In 1895, Castle Williams was designated one of the U.S. Army’s ten military prisons.
We then caught the 5:30 pm ferry back to Manhattan, which again, was a very short but extremely enjoyable ride under the evening sun (where we got even more sunburnt).
Tacuba: A Guacamole Paradise
Back from Brooklyn we went to eat at Tacuba’s, a Mexican restaurant on 9th Av. between 53rd and 54th. The food was very nice, especially the homemade guacamole – very spicy, but the best one I’ve ever tasted. And I also had enchiladas for the first time!
Times Square At Night
After the restaurant my father and I headed towards Times Square again, because I wanted to see it at night, and as you can see it was VERY crowded that night; but then again, when’s it not that crowded, I wonder.
Next time I go to NYC, I’d like to spend more time in Brooklyn, because that day I really understood New York isn’t all about Manhattan. Not anymore.
Lilly, aka The French Hat