As part of an unexpected 4-day weekend, I spent this past Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn’s Park Slope. I had a handful of places I wanted to visit to make the nearly 30 minute trip from Washington Square Park worthwhile.
Like usual, I parked at the Newport PATH station in Jersey City and took the train to Christopher Street. After my usual sweets stops along Bleecker Street (Royce, Bisous Ciao & Popbar), I played U2’s The Joshua Tree on my new iPhone 6S and boarded the D train to the Atlantic Av-Pacific St. From there, I intended to transfer to the 2-3 line, but there was a delay. Instead, I boarded the Q train and took it one stop to 7 Av.
This area was new to me. I exited the station at Flatbush Ave. and walked 1 block south to Franny’s. Before I visited any museums, I needed to eat. I’d been reading about Franny’s for a while, and finally tried it. I had the margherita and writing this one day later, only thoughts of Luzzo’s and L & B Spumoni Gardens excite me more. It was around 2:00 in the afternoon (a late lunch for me). I got the Panna Cotta for dessert and was very glad that I did.
I saved room for a slice at DiFara. I was conveniently along the Q line (the only one that stops at Avenue J on weekends) and there was no construction this past weekend. I called ahead since they had only recently reopened after being closed for a week, but I got no answer. Other times I wanted to visit, there was construction on the Q line, which affected the Avenue J stop.
I decided it wasn’t meant to be and walked to 8th Avenue and then headed south towards Union Street. I hadn’t been to Macaron Parlour in a while, and they have a new temporary location in Park Slope. It’s small and you can easily walk past it. I did! I ordered a box of 6 to add to the 6 I bought earlier at Bisous Ciao and got an excellent shot of the wall.
My next destination was Old Stone House. I read about it online, but was surprised when I arrived. It’s very small and located inside of Washington Park. Having resided in Pennsylvania my whole life, I’m more familiar with revolutionary war sites in my home state and neighboring New Jersey. Brooklyn’s role in the revolutionary war was even less clear to me than that of Manhattan.
There is a suggested donation, which I gave. I don’t see how anyone can spend more than 30 minutes in there. There’s just one small room with exhibits. Just as interesting as being inside of the museum is looking at it from the outside, as it’s in the middle of a public park and surrounded by a playground and a skatepark.
Before going to the Museum of Morbid Anatomy, I had to go to L’Albero dei Gelati, which I passed on 5th Avenue on the way to Old Stone House. I’d never heard of this place. Over the past couple years, I visited some ice cream shops that I read about in Time Out New York and the results were always good. This place was at least as good as any of the places I read about in Time Out and similar magazines. The largest cup they had held four scoops. With their amazing selection, I needed all four. I could have chosen more, but there were four flavors (abbreviated descriptions) that stood out from the rest: ricotta with cinnamon, olive oil, lemon with lemongrass and orange. Since I prefer to eat the heavier flavors 1st, I had them put the gelatos (cinnamon & olive oil) on top and the sorbettos (lemon & orange) on the bottom. The cup was pretty large, but I had room (since I never went to DiFara) and finished it well before arriving at my next stop.
The Museum of Morbid Anatomy is near the relatively new Whole Foods Market Brooklyn, which I’d been to a few times before (when I drove in). It’s a black building, which makes it stand out from everything else in the area. With a student ID you can get in for $6. The exhibits are upstairs. Although the figures on display may be disturbing to some, I would not include myself in that list. Like the Old Stone House, it would be difficult to spend more than 30 minutes there (unless you get a snack downstairs and/or take advantage of their reading room upstairs). The exhibits are in one small room and there is someone to explain them and answer questions.
From the Museum of Morbid Anatomy, it’s a short walk to the 4 Av F-G station (or the 9 St D-N-R) station. I boarded the F train with York St (last stop before Manhattan) as my destination. I made it as far as the next stop (Smith 9 Sts) and decided to get out to take some pictures. The sun was beginning to set and I sensed an excellent photo op. From the Manhattan and Queens bound platform you look down at Gowanus Canal and lower Manhattan is off in the distance. The buildings along the canal are gritty and industrial looking but the further out you look, you start to see the skyscrapers of lower Manhattan.
Less than 10 minutes after exiting the train, I caught the next one and exited at York Street. Since this past summer, I’d been wanting to visit Bldg 92 in Brooklyn Navy Yard. Although it looks close on a map, it was at least a 15 minute walk along York Street to Flushing Ave. When you start to see the Navy Yard, you are only around “halfway there” (that’s a Soundgarden song). By the time I got to the entrance around 5:15 (that’s a Who song) it was dark outside.
Like Old Stone House, Bldg 92 is free. Unlike the area around Old Stone House, there’s not much else to see around Bldg 92. For dining or sightseeing, you have to go back towards the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridge underpasses. One to Two hours is an ideal amount of time to spend at Bldg 92 (unless you show up 45 minutes before they close, like I did).
Like Old Stone House, Bldg 92 covers the Revolutionary War, but the difference is that at Bldg 92, that’s just the beginning. Bldg 92 covers all the way up to the 21st century. The story is rather interesting from a civics perspective, but I have no interest in the technical aspects of shipbuilding. As a result, I skipped some of the exhibits. There are three floors and I spent the longest amount of time on the first floor. I stayed right up until they closed at 6.
After my 3rd museum visit of the day, I was tired and was hoping to find a cab to drive me back to the 23rd Street PATH station. This really says something, because I only remember using NYC cabs twice in my entire life. No such luck! The cabs I saw did not notice me and the streets you take to get between York St station and Brooklyn Navy Yard and pretty desolate (by NYC standards). I walked all the way back to York St station without getting a cab.
Before catching the PATH train, I had to make one more macaron stop (La Maison du Macaron). Everything I saw in Brooklyn was new to me, which says a lot since I’ve been there dozens of times both on foot and behind the wheel of my Prius.