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Good is New York City: Reasons to Fall in Love with Brooklyn

"It’s been six months since I’ve moved to the biggest borough of New York City – Brooklyn. From the moment I settled in, I knew this was going to be the perfect home base for me."

In the short amount of time I’ve lived in Brooklyn, I’ve walked through numerous pocket neighborhoods, taken advantage of the local dining scene, drank my way through bar crawls, discovered dated Brownstones, strolled through many parks, and photographed my path along the way.

It is the outer borough atmosphere of feeling nestled and remote from Manhattan yet part of a bigger, thriving culture that keeps me smiling when I’m here.

And it is because of this feeling, I advocate so strongly that travelers spend more time seeing Brooklyn so they can fall in with this borough just as I have.

As a proud Brooklynite, I tend to scour through as many blogs, organizations, groups, and events as I can that cover what’s happening here. My Google Reader is proof alone on my obsession for being “in the know” with the latest trends and must do activities. The following places have quickly become my own go to resources on the latest Brooklyn happenings (aside from The Brooklyn Nomad of course!) and I recommend you follow them too if you want to learn more about this ever-growing city.

Brooklyn the Borough is a personal blog turned full-blown webzine. Editor, Nicole Brydson, created the site as a way to share her stories as a Crown Heights resident, and has now brought on an editorial team of dedicated and passionate Brooklyn reporters to cover offbeat reading series, LGBT off the wall events, music venue showcases, overlooked neighborhood profiles, and local reviews.

With a growing list of partners ranging from neighborhood start-ups and non-profits, to popular music venues, the site serves as a constant reminder of what Brooklyn has to offer for both residents and new businesses. My favorite sections to read are the neighborhood profiles as I’m always on the hunt for an excuse to discover a new part of Brooklyn.

I highly suggest attending one of their upcoming Queerespondence showsat South Paw as it has become a larger than life event series for Park Slope dwellers on the weekend. Consider it your initiation into Brooklyn’s weekend scene.

Though not based in Brooklyn, this non-profit has served its share of must-see and do activities for the borough since the 1980s when the organization first launched. Offering free welcoming programs to tourists all over the world visiting New York, Big Apple Greeter hand-picks locals to show tourists their favorite spots in the five boroughs, Brooklyn being one of the highest demanded requests.

Browse their site and you’ll find several iconic photos of their Greeters leading travelers over the Brooklyn Bridge – one of the most notable tourist attractions in Brooklyn. The best part of Big Apple Greeter is that you get to see Brooklyn through a local’s eye – whether on an outing with a group, or on your own using their Neighborhood Profile guides.

I recommend printing out a guide to one of their Brooklyn neighborhoods you’ve never heard of then hopping on the nearest subway near you and enjoy the ride out. If you’re lucky enough, you might be on a subway that goes above ground to marvel at the scenery. At the end of the day, I bet you’ll walk away happy that you took a risk.

Launch Pad is everything I love about my neighborhood. A communal interactive event space, Launch Pad recently opened its doors to Crown Heights residents, luckily to have the community welcome it with open arms. Several months ago I stumbled upon this place around the corner from my apartment by accident – though I had heard about it through some online buzz – and was immediately impressed. Owner, Michael, is friendly, enthusiastic, and cares about bringing positive change to the underprivileged area.

Located on Franklin Avenue, Launch Pad showcases music series, poetry readings, arts and craft tutorials, potluck meals, yoga classes, art galleries, and more. Best of all, if the doors are open, you’re free to stop in and hang out to chat with locals. This is one example of a valuable creative community that is worth checking out whether you’re a resident or Brooklyn newbie.

Brooklyn is a perfect destination for off-the-beaten patch activity. Whether you desire to be on your own and walk around, or want to mingle with new friends at a dance party, this is the place to be. Hopefully this list has helped you acquire a taste for the local Brooklyn feel and next time you’re in New York City you consider crossing that bridge and pay a visit. Beers on me to whoever takes up that offer!

Other reasons to fall in love with Brooklyn:
Brooklyn is big – it’s the largest borough of New York, which means more chances for you to get out and explore unforeseen establishments.

Your money goes farther – no more Manhattan eating and drinking for me, Brooklyn is where I go for cheap food and drinks. Corner bars and restaurants provide an extensive menu selection to cover any of your taste buds.

It’s nice and quiet around here – with so many side streets lined with bountiful trees and colored Brownstone apartments, Brooklyn is the perfect getaway from the Manhattan rush. A short subway ride home and it’s like you’re in another state.

It’s really not that far – you have no excuse NOT to visit. Plenty of subways from any part of Manhattan venture into Brooklyn and drop you off in some of the coolest neighborhoods here. Get over your fear of a strange commute and ride the subway out to an unfamiliar neighborhood; release the adventurous traveler within.

Brooklyn has more culture – the gentrification of numerous neighborhoods both new and old mean more ethnic eateries, mom & pop shops, up and coming spaces, and friendly people.

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