Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Slice Of Brooklyn Neighborhood Tour - Part 1

If you've been reading my blog for awhile you might remember when I went on Tony Muia's very enjoyable "A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour" last April. Last week I was fortunate enough to be invited to accompany him on his " A Slice Of Brooklyn Neighborhood Tour."

This 3 1/2 hour comfotable coach bus tour through Brooklyn includes an audio-visual historical tour of Brooklyn's famous movie locations, landmarks and points of interests, and includes a stop at the famous Junior' s Restaurant...a Brooklyn landmark since 1950, where we were promised a sample of the BEST cheesecake and a classic egg cream! Although I am a life long Brooklynite, I knew I'd learn many new things about my hometown, since Tony is a fact filled and engaging tour host.

Our first stop was at Brooklyn Bridge Park , located under the Manhattan Bridge. While still under construction in many places, the future 85-acre Brooklyn Bridge Park will stretch 1.3 miles along the East River from north of the Manhattan Bridge to Atlantic Avenue.

(click on all photos to enlarge)

We were able to walk under The Manhattan Bridge which crosses the East River in New York City, connecting Brooklyn at Flatbush Avenue Extension to lower Manhattan at Canal Street. The bridge was opened in 1909 and carries both vehicular traffic and subway trains. It is quite an experience to be underneath and hear the roar of the subway pass over head!

The neighborhood near the bridge on the Brooklyn side is becoming gentrified from it's former factories and warehouses into condominiums and stores, and is called DUMBO, an acronym for "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass." We road along some of it's narrow cobble stoned streets during the tour.

From the Brooklyn Bridge Park we had spectacular views of The Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan. This is a view I never tire of!

The Brooklyn Bridge one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States, and stretches 5,989 feet over the East River, connecting the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, and carries motor vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles. It opened in 1883 and took 14 years to build. At that time the bridge's giant towers stood taller than anything in the New York skyline, even taller than any structure in North America! It was designed by John A. Robling, an immigrant from Germany. His son, Washington Robling, was it's builder. Washington Robling's wife, Emily Warren Robling, served as his unofficial assistant engineer when he was incapacitated late in the construction by collapsing bridge timbers which crushed his legs. Due to her efforts to complete the construction of the bridge she ranks among the most remarkable women of her time!
The tour then drove us to the Fulton Ferry Landing pier where we had more breathtaking views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Lower Manhattan skyline.

This is one of the most popular sites for photography in New York City. It is at this location that Robert Fulton, who invented the first steamboat ferry in 1814 , had his ferry called "The Nassau," which carried passengers across the East River from Brooklyn to Manhattan. A bronze plaque in the pier states that by 1868 there were one thousand ferry crossings daily, and 50 million passengers were carried annually until the ferries closed in 1924.

The plaque on this rock commemorates that fact that under the cover of darkness on August 29th, 1776, Washington's army crossed the East River from Fulton Ferry, below where the Brooklyn Bridge rises today, leaving Brooklyn to the British during The Battle Of Brooklyn, the first battle of the Revolutionary War. (right click the photo to enlarge to read the inscription)

The tour again boarded the bus and drove over to the nearby charming Brooklyn Heights neighborhood. This neighborhood dates back to 1824, and is largely composed of block after block of picturesque Greek Revival and Gothic Revival houses, and Italianate brownstones and mansions. More than 500 buildings were built before the Civil War. Brooklyn Heights was the first neighborhood protected by the 1965 Landmarks Preservation Law of New York City.
We proceeded down to The Brooklyn Promenade, which is a third-of-a-mile stretch park on an esplanade above the the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. This exclusively pedestrian walkway offers more majestic views of downtown Manhattan and is lined with flowerbeds, playgrounds, and two rows of benches, the park is a favorite destination for walkers and joggers.

The Promenade, actually an esplanade, cantilevered over the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway is a favorite spot among locals, offering magnificent vistas of the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan skyline across the East River, as well as views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge. It is a popular tourist destination for the Macy's July 4th fireworks, and for the unobstructed views of the skyline.
The quiet, neat, tree lined streets of Brooklyn Heights were so enjoyable to walk through, and allowed us to stop to admire the beautiful architecture up close.

Tony stopped at a few residences along the way to inform us of who lived there at one time.

This is 142 Columbia Heights. The iconic New York writer Norman Mailer, who was a 2 time Pulitzer Prize winning author, and who started The Village Voice newspaper in Greenwich Village, lived here until his death in 2007.

Next, we passed 70 Willow Street, which is an enchanting Greek Revival style home dating from the 1830s. Truman Capote lived in the basement here during the late 50's and early 60's, where he wrote the novels "In Cold Blood" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

We also passed this 1829 red brick corner house at 19 Cranberry Street, which was used as the location for the 1987 Cher/Nicholas Cage film "Moonstruck." You can see the Manhattan skyline in the distance.

Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims at 75 Hicks Street, built in 1849, where Henry Ward Beecher was once considered "The Most Famous Man in America." The preacher and abolitionist’s church was also “the Grand Central depot” of the Underground Railroad. Henry Ward Beecher was the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin."

Now we were all ready to drive down Flatbush Ave to DeKalb Avenue to visit Junior's to have some refreshment! Founded in 1950 by Harry Rosen, this landmark restaurant is known to have the best cheesecake in New York City!

As part of the tour we went inside and were served a slice of their rich, creamy and delicious cheesecake.
It was so good quite a few of the tour participants bought a whole cheesecake to take home with them!

We were also treated to our choice of a chocolate or vanilla egg cream, which is a traditional Brooklyn refreshment invented in the 1920's when the city was full of soda fountain establishments.

Tony explained that an egg cream contains no egg or cream, but is composed of a splash of milk, seltzer soda and Fox's U Bet chocolate syrup.

It was almost as good as the ones I remembered drinking as a child!

I know I've shown many of these sights in past blog posts, but I hope you enjoyed seeing them again as part of The Slice of Brooklyn Neighborhood Tour.

In my next blog post of part two of the tour I'll show you many more new and interesting and historical places we visited on the tour such as Grand Army Plaza, the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Dodgers Ebbets Field location, and many many more fabulous Brooklyn sights!


Lynn said...

Thank you for this!
I LOVE New York!
Lynn Guinn

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Oh yum - Juniors cheesecake is the best - and sooo rich. That view of the South St. Seaport from Brooklyn reminded me of where I used to work every day. Some days at lunch I'd walk across the bridge to Brooklyn. Great photos, history and post.

Vee said...

I do remember that tour and I think I told you that you'd make an excellent tour guide. You still would! You've been sharing your world faithfully with us ever since. Thank you so much!

Good thing I enlarged a picture...I thought it was a tulip garden, but they were actually hyacinths. Wonderful!

Leo is getting soooo big and soooo handsome!

CatHerder said...

very cool! Oh juniors cheesecake and egg creams!!! My old boss would bring jrs. to us every friday...and my first ever job was working as a soda jerk...i learned how to make those awesome eggcreams at 14! great post!

Lorrie said...

Oh Pat, sighing with pleasure here at this tour! I enjoyed it right down to the cheesecake!

Melissa Miller said...

Hi Pat! ;)
I've been meaning to visit with you today as soon as I saw the word "pizza" in you post. Brooklyn is such an amazing place full of history.
You took such beautiful photos of the city.
You're a very talented photographer.

I've had Juniors cheesecake before.
Well...it was ordered for me from QVC and it was beyond delicious I must say. LOL! It's so creamy.

Thank you for your nice words on our dining room.
I really appreciate your kindness.
I just LOVE warm color!
I don't think I could ever have white walls again. Funny how I had them for many years and never realized how much I loved the warmth of having color surround me.

I wish you had a Kirklands as well! It is so much fun to shop there. It's a true bargain. I think I paid about $50 for the round mirror in the dining room.
They always have sales and coupons galore.

Have a wonderful and blessed week ahead.
~Melissa :)

PS I forgot to tell you how much I enjoyed the whale post.
That was truly awesome!

alphabet soup said...

Wonderful tour!! I can sit at my computer thousands of miles away and feel as though I am in Brooklyn. Pity I'm only able to see the cheesecake and eggcreams and not taste them. :(

Ms Soup

Nonno Vinny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nonno Vinny said...

As always a great post - keep up the great work.

Jojo said...

Hi Pat, Please stop by my blog and pick up an award that you can share with others. Love this post - there is so much to see.

Unknown said...

Oh...I want to sit on that coach and if there is one place I can choose to go, will be to NYC !! The pictures are absolutely wonderful Pat, hugs.........M

nanatrish said...

I loved this tour! Those homes in Brooklyn Heights are so artsy fartsy. What a fun place! I pray someday I will get to visit NYC. You do such a great job of showing us your city. It looks so exciting.

jeanne said...

Hi pat, I am so glad I didn't miss your post today. I was really drawn in to the wonderful bridges, buildings, and movie locations. Brooklyn is an interesting place. It is so nice you were invited to be included in the tour. I know you loved every bit of it. I'll tune in for day 2.


Nola said...

Love the tour. Yep, I recognized the house from "Moonstruck"! WOw, so much history, you are so lucky.

Picket said...

What a great tour girl and I didn't even have to buy a ticket! lol Love all the history and pics...that is amazing....what a beautiful city you live in! Hope you are feeling better and having a great week!

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

Fabulous tour! (Did you have a coupon for the free slice of Junior's with you? LOL! I can't tell you how many people I work with got an email about that coupon for the Grand Central location when I got back from lunch with you. :-)

It never occured to me to get an egg cream at the Junior's by me. And I LOVE egg creams. Trouble! ;-)

~Cheryl said...

Oh, my goodness! This is fabulous! I can't wait to show my husband his "old stomping grounds" and hear his comments!

Judy said...

I missed the last tour...so totally enjoyed this one! I'll be back for Part II...for sure.

me said...

Ohhh...SO loved this tour! How cool! Looking forward to the next one!


Tracy said...

LOVED this tour, Pat...Those bridge photos are fantastic. Just so much enjoyed going round everywhere with you. And then cheesecake to end...oh, joy! Happy Day, my friend :o) ((HUGS))

Gracie said...

Can't wait to read the second part! Thanks for sharing.

Carol Murdock said...

Pat.....the tour was great. I love the Brownstones! I think Harper Lee had an apartment near Truman about that time!

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

You are the best tour guide! Those pictures are outstanding. Do you watch This Old House? The last house they did was a brownstone in Brooklyn. It turned out great!

Junie Moon said...

What an amazing day you had on your tour. So many famous landmarks, connections with history, authors, movies, and so on. And it looks like the weather was clear, perfect for your photos. I love the tasty treats you enjoyed and thoroughly enjoyed this adventure you've shared with us.

Claudia said...

Thank-you for this! You ahve brought back such sweet memories. used to routinely go for walks in brooklyn heights - sort of as a cheap way totime travel! And Juniors and egg creams.... last year in January - on 1 60 degree day) my son and i walked across the Brooklyn bridge. It wasa magical day.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tour, Pat! I always enjoy them :)

Beth Niquette said...

Your photo tour makes makes me feel homesick. We visited there in 2003, and 2005. We felt such a kinship to the people Brooklyn. I'd go back in a minute, thanks for sharing.

lisa said...

great post mom! i hope to be able to have time to go on tony's tour sometime soon :-)

Brenda said...


Linda Lou said...

I am getting all emotional here-spending time at Juniors when I lived in Brooklyn, and I remember when there was a transit strike I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to go to work....and of course Moonstruck is one of my favorite moves---thanks for the tour of a place I long to back to and visit some day!

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Thanks Pat, I never get tired of seeing these sites. I haven't had a slice of Junior's cheese cake in...wow...32 years. Maybe it's time for me to get back into Brooklyn for a while. (32 years? where has the time gone?)
♥, Susan

Lynn @The Vintage Nest said...

I loved that!! I want to live in Dumbo. Hugs, Lynn

aliceinparis said...

Brooklyn looks fabulous. I've never thought of t as a "destination" but you have proved me wrong:)
Take a look at this, it is from the National Geographic Intelligent Travel Blog

Cheers, Shelagh

Unknown said...

Hi Pat,
I love this post. It is great to see some of the sites that we saw on our bus tour through Brooklyn!

We didn't finish our tour...we got off at the antique shops, and thought we would catch the bus later, and they didn't come back, so we caught the subway!
Great pictures! :) Diane

Anonymous said...

Lovely tour Pat- catching up here. :-) I know there's always someone lagging behind the others on these tours holding everyone up while they snap away with their camera. LOL

I think Emily Robling did a marvellous job. So many wives were unpaid and unsung unofficial assistants of their husbands at this time. I wish more were recognised like this lady.

dana said...

Your tour is just remarkable, Pat. When I visited NYC, I didn't get to see Brooklyn--it is a beautiful place. I didn't realize so much history was located in your hometown--can you tell I'm from Missouri? :) LOVE the DUMBO term!! Only in New York!! You guys have a special name for every place. :)
How I wish I could return to your area--there's SO much I didn't get to see!

What a terrific tour, Pat. Dana