Can you believe it’s August? This summer is flying by. What have you been up to? We’re trying to squeeze in as much as possible before it gets cold and blustery again. A few readers have asked for Brooklyn recommendations, so here are seven spots we’ve been loving this summer…
1. Kayak under the Brooklyn Bridge. Kayaking is free in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and the views are spectacular. You sit on top of the kayaks (versus putting your legs under a skirt), and it’s not scary at all. We took the boys and I was amazed by how game they were! They hopped right into the boats and “helped” paddle. Here are the hours and locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, if you’d like to try it.
2. Eat sandwiches and straight chill at Brooklyn Crab. This three-story open-air seafood “shack” in Red Hook has become our home away from home, on weekends. We head to the back garden, which has tables for adults — plus sandboxes, jungle gyms and mini golf for kids. Parents can drink beers and eat crab rolls, while kids muck around. It’s awesome. Last weekend, Anton played his first game of cornhole!
3. Watch a movie at Nitehawk. One Saturday afternoon, I took myself on a solo date to see the movie Frances Ha. I biked to Nitehawk in Williamsburg, which I assumed was a regular theatre, but then I saw that each seat had a table and menu. You could order food and drinks during the film! I ended up getting mac n’ cheese and kicking back. They also have a brunch series for lazy Sundays.
4. Meet for dinner at Fort Defiance. This Red Hook restaurant has been our go-to date spot this summer. It’s small and bustling, and they throw open the front windows on warm evenings. Alex recommends the hangar steak, and I love love love their lentil soup (of all things! I swear it’s amazing) and asparagus salad with a fried egg.
5. Play on Jane’s Carousel. I’ve written about the Dumbo carousel before, but it has become such a huge part of our lives! We go at least once a week, and the boys adore riding the horses and throwing rocks into the river. Such a beautiful place for kids and adults. (P.S. Check out this arresting photo of the carousel after Hurricane Sandy.)
6. Get the meatballs at Frankies Spuntino. Frankies shows up on every Brooklyn guide, and there’s a good reason why: Their meatballs! Also, their cavatelli with sausage, brown butter and sage. Also, their ricotta crostini. The waits get insane at night, so we usually go for lunch. You can sit in their pretty restaurant or in the breezy back garden. (Here’s a funny graphic about their meatballs.)
7. Go on rides at Coney Island. Our little guys flipped out over the rides at the Kiddie Park — cars that go in a circle, boats that go in a circle, planes that go in a circle… you get the gist. We went one boiling hot afternoon, and cooled off by eating gelato and dipping our feet in the surf. Then the next morning, they begged to the point of tears to go back, so WE DID. Coney Island also could make an awesome date; you could go around 5:30pm, when it’s cooler and less crowded, then ride the Wonder Wheel and have dinner on the boardwalk.
What have you been up to this summer? Any other NYC tips? I’d love to hear!
P.S. The full Cup of Jo Guide to NYC.
(Top photo by Linsey Laidlaw of our kids at Milkmade. Brooklyn Crab photos by Ryan Muir and Brooklyn Crab. Nitehawk photos by Nathalie Todesco Basset and Tippa Tippa. Fort Defiance photo by The Greats Story.)