Straight from the outer boroughs
by Jerry Del Priore
|The Brooklyn Bridge by **Maurice** via Flickr|
I've lived all of my life in Brooklyn, and love many things about this borough in New York City. I guess that’s why so many people have moved here over the years—2.5 million New Yorkers now call it home. From its rich history to its great food, I’ve compiled a list of things that are truly special to me, and give me reasons to adore Brooklyn.
|I LOVE Brooklyn--by b. Frahm via Flickr|
1. The Pizza
When people talk about must-have pizza experiences, nothing beats Brooklyn for a mouthwatering slice or a delicious square. With places such as L&B Spumoni Gardens, Totonno’s, Lenny’s Pizza, Di Fara, , DaVinci and Paulie Gee’s taking up shop in the borough, Brooklyn is definitely a pizza powerhouse, make no tomatoes about it!
|Grimaldi's pie--by aaepstein via Flickr|
2. The Brooklyn Cyclones (Single-A affiliate of the New York Mets)
I love baseball, and to me there’s no better place to see a game during the summertime than at MCU Park in Coney Island. The hotdogs, smell of the grass and crack of the bat, all in an affordable, fan-friendly, family atmosphere, makes for a great time.
Currently, MCU Park, which sustained a measure of damage during Hurricane Sandy, is being repaired for the start of the season, which starts in mid-June.
|The Brooklyn Cyclones in action by Jerry Del Priore|
3. Nathan’s Famous Franks
Nathan's began as a nickel hot dog stand in Coney Island in 1916, and has been serving Brooklynites and the rest of the country up until Hurricane Sandy caused severe water damage, halting service. However, don't fret too much. Though closed for renovations, there are plans for the Surf Avenue location to reopen by the spring.
4. Jackie Robinson Breaking Baseball’s Color Barrier
In a historic, game-changing move by then-Dodger owner Branch Rickey, who signed Robinson in 1945, the 28-year-old Dodger made his Major League Baseball debut on April 15, 1947 against the Boston Braves before more than 25,000 spectators at Ebbets Field.
Facing intense racism and constant scrutiny from opposing fans and even his own teammates, Robinson ignored the negativity and enjoyed a stellar season. He batted .297 and led the National League in stolen bases, helping him earn the first-ever Rookie of the Year Award.
5. Tasty Bakery Shoppe
Since I am a diabetic, there aren’t many options for me when it comes to baked goods, but thank God for Tasty Bakery. The Dyker Heights establishment has the largest selection of diabetic cookies and pastries in Brooklyn, and all are truly appetizing. As for its non-diabetic options, lobster tails and apple horseshoes make a great start to a day of sugary indulgence, if you’re in to that sort of sweet stuff!
The iconic wooden coaster began operation on June 26, 1927, and has been thrilling riders ever since. The first time I rode it, I felt some sort of rite of passage as a Brooklynite. The fact that it continues to receive preservation efforts in order to stay operational speaks volumes of its popularity and worth to Brooklyn and NYC as a whole. The Cyclone should be up and rolling again once the season begins. It seems Hurricane Sandy spared the 85-year-old landmark, according to the Brooklyn Paper.
The Coney Island Cyclone has been riding since 1927--by bobjudge via Flickr
Brooklyn has been producing great talent for many years. It gives hope to today’s Brooklyn youth, helping them believe they could be the next one in line for fame and wealth. Hey, why not?
The list reads like a who’s who in the entertainment and sports industries: Marisa Tormei, Mel Brooks, Eddie Murphy, Rosie Perez, Neil Diamond, Neil Sedaka, Barbra Streisand, Barry Manilow, Tony Danza, Jay Z, Joe Torre, Alyssa Milano, Jerry Seinfeld, Sandy Koufax — the list goes on forever!
When it comes to going out in Brooklyn, Bay Ridge is my preferred destination. I love its view of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, visible from several areas in the neighborhood. In addition, there are so many great places to venture out and , a sinful cocktail or a smoothed brew. Some of my favorite spots to frequent are Gino’s Restaurant and Pizzeria, Burger Bistro, Twenty3 Supper Club, Cebu Bistro, Chadwick’s and the Greenhouse Café.
Prospect Park is a place I spent my younger years running and participating in different sports. I quickly grew to love it. With 585 sprawling, picturesque acres, the park is located between the areas of Park Slope, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Ditmas Park, Windsor Terrance, Flatbush Avenue and Grand Army Plaza and has a little something for everyone. It features a Zoo, a Bandshell for concerts, a carousel, a tennis center, the Wollman Rink, nature trails and various ball fields.
|Autumn in Prospect Park--by Saucy Salad via Flickr|
10. The Brooklyn Attitude
Known for their toughness and crassness, Brooklynites will usually tell how they feel, sometimes bordering on the rude and obnoxious. However, it’s the same quality that helps Brooklyn peeps survive NYC’s often intimidating atmosphere.
Hey, you lookin' at me?