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Posts Tagged ‘Fort Greene’

south portland st brooklyn

One of the delights of visiting and revisiting a city: there are neighborhoods that become yours.

Last month, the hubs and I spent our third weekend in Fort Greene, which has become our favorite pocket of Brooklyn. I’d just spent three days at a conference in midtown and I was ready to get out of the bustle and glitz, to a tangle of quieter streets where people actually live. Coming out of Manhattan, even dragging all my luggage, felt like a much-needed exhale. And coming up out of the subway onto Fulton Street – even into a cold winter wind – felt like coming home.

We rented the top floor of a brownstone near Fort Greene Park, and spent the weekend popping into our favorite places and discovering new ones. It was the kind of travel I adore: the new and novel blended with the comforting and familiar.

We didn’t even discuss where to go for dinner on Friday night, but headed straight to Madiba for bowls of spicy lamb curry with raisin-studded saffron rice. When we told our hostess we were headed to the farmers’ market in the park the next morning, she laughed. “You’re practically natives!” And, indeed, it felt wonderful to stroll the stands and buy a cup of steaming apple cider and a scone the size of my fist. We perched on a bench and sipped our cider, watching dogs and children running in the cold, crisp air.

k-j-ft-greene-park

I’d made a short list of places to revisit, and we hit all of them: Greenlight Bookstore, the winter Brooklyn Flea market, the wonderful Greene Grape and its adjacent wine shop, and the bagel place on Lafayette Avenue. We ate Sunday brunch at Walter’s and strolled up and down the streets we love. But we also visited new coffee shops, turned down unfamiliar corners, ate guacamole and huevos at Pequeña. And we did something I’ve long wanted to do: took the gorgeous walk across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan.

brooklyn bridge cables sky

New York, more than most cities, offers endless new discoveries, and I am surprised and delighted by it every time I visit. But I also love that certain parts of it have become mine, or ours. Fort Greene welcomed us back, and I’m already looking forward to our next trip there.

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brooklyn brownstones light

Recently, the hubs and I hopped down to New York for the weekend. The reason (or excuse)? A college friend of ours was performing in Carmen, and we both were hankering for a getaway. (Not that we really need a reason to head to New York – but it helped galvanize us.)

This trip was a short one – almost exactly 48 hours long – but we packed in a lot of fun and good food.

subway public art nyc

Right after getting off the train, we met our buddy Isaac for lunch at Bareburger in Midtown. I’d been there before, but J never had. Their burgers (beef, bison and other varieties) are so fresh and tasty.

We returned to a neighborhood we love: Fort Greene, Brooklyn, where we stayed a couple of years ago. This time, we rented a charming third-floor walk-up near Fort Greene Park, comfortable and flooded with light.

brooklyn apartment living room

After dropping off our bags, we wandered the neighborhood, popping into a few shops and visiting the Greene Grape, which stocks all kinds of delicious food and drink. Then we tried a restaurant around the corner (recommended by our Airbnb hosts): Madiba.

madiba wall tapestry mandela

Madiba is often used as a name for Nelson Mandela, and fittingly, this restaurant has a funky, welcoming South African vibe. I loved the art prints, textiles, tribal masks and the music. And the food – as you can see from J’s expression – was amazing.

jer bunny chow madiba

We both ordered curry dishes – I had lamb curry with saffron rice, and J opted for the chicken “bunny chow” version in a hollowed-out heel of bread. We split a rich, creamy malva pudding (with apricot jam) for dessert. Every bite was perfection.

malva pudding

After dinner, we caught the subway to Brooklyn Heights, where we saw Theater 2020’s production of A Little Night Music. I don’t have any photos from the show, but it was fantastic – minimally staged in a spare Gothic chapel, and beautifully sung. I’ve been humming “Send in the Clowns” for over a week now. (I particularly loved Charlotte, the scheming wife with a dry wit and impeccable delivery.)

The next morning dawned sunny and cool, and we ended up grabbing breakfast at the Fort Greene Park farmers’ market. Because I could not resist a cherry pie muffin.

cherry pie muffin

Delectable – plus it matches my gloves. (Not pictured: the hot apple cider I bought to go with it. Also wonderful.)

We strolled the neighborhood, and of course we had to visit Greenlight Bookstore. (J kindly indulges my bookstore obsession when we travel.)

greenlight bookstore window brooklyn

Lunch was fish tacos at Cafe Habana – not quite Tex-Mex, but pretty darn close.

We hopped a train into Manhattan after that, and spent the rest of the afternoon strolling the Upper West Side. A Shakespeare exhibit at the NYPL branch at Lincoln Center, a visit to Book Culture on Columbus Avenue, chai lattes from a tiny shop called The Sensuous Bean. I adore the Upper West Side (where I stayed last fall), and it was a brisk but mostly sunny afternoon. Perfect for strolling with my love.

upper west side nyc

Later, we enjoyed dinner at Hourglass Tavern in Hell’s Kitchen – so named because they pride themselves on getting patrons to the theatre on time. We had time to savor our pasta and wine (without feeling rushed), and then headed to our evening at the opera.

diamond horseshoe lights

The Diamond Horseshoe, where this production of Carmen was staged, is a performance space in the basement of the Paramount Hotel on West 46th. It’s a cross between a swanky hotel bar, the opera house from Phantom of the Opera, and a scene straight out of Moulin Rouge – a wild, glitzy mix of opulence and decay. But the opera was excellent. (Though we were partial to the tall Texan playing two different roles – a soldier and a gypsy.)

jer isaac carmen

Sunday morning found us brunching at Walter’s in Fort Greene (another host recommendation and apparently a popular neighborhood spot). I had the huevos rancheros, which were delicious. And the people-watching was so fun. (It always is in New York.)

huevos rancheros walters brooklyn

We caught the subway into Midtown to drop our bags off at Penn Station, then grabbed some chai at Think Coffee and headed for the High Line, which I had visited but J had not. Most of the plants are dormant right now, but it was a gorgeous day and the views are stunning.

high line bridge nyc

After strolling the length of the park, we wandered around Greenwich Village, split a pizza at Ribalta, and hopped back on the subway to catch our train home.

high line selfie nyc

Two days in NYC is never enough, but I’d say we made the most of it. We came home with tired feet, a few new books (of course) and a slew of lovely memories.

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