There’s plenty to see in Staten Island but don’t forget about about the most populous borough just over the bridge with enough attractions for a hundred day trips. Brooklyn is home to some of New York’s best parks, museums, and gardens but let’s start with these five classics.
The Brooklyn Museum
Brooklyn Museum | via Wikipedia
Located in McKim, Mead, & White’s stunning 1897 Beaux-Arts building, the Brooklyn Museum boasts a wide range of art and artifacts, housing one of the country’s best collections of Egyptian artifacts, as well as contemporary art exhibits, impressionist paintings, and a sculpture garden populated with remnants of New York City buildings. Originally designed to be the largest museum in the world, the Brooklyn is still the second-largest in the city, and will take several visits before you’ve seen it all.
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Bridge to Eden | via Wikipedia
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden isn’t as large as the one in the Bronx, but it has several features that make it a must-visit destination. This is especially true in the Spring, when the garden’s collection of over 200 cherry trees are in bloom. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden even has an interactive map so you will know when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Another attraction is its Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, whose koi fish, wooden bridges, Shinto shrine, and stone lanterns will transport you to Japan. And then there’s one of Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s best-kept secrets: a section of it was created using dirt from Ebbets Field.
Prospect Park | via Wikipedia
Prospect Park is the masterpiece of famed landscape designers Fredrick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux. After finishing Central Park, they turned their sights on the city of Brooklyn, with the aim of creating a park that was more pastoral than its Manhattan cousin. Despite not even being one of the city’s 10 biggest parks, Prospect Park holds its own with its meandering meadows, rustic arches, forests, and a system of ponds and streams that lead to its 60-acre freshwater lake. Make sure to check out Grand Army Plaza at the park’s northern entrance: The Art Moderne main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library and the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch are sights to be behold.
Brooklyn’s Historic House Museums
Wyckoff House | via Wikipedia
Brooklyn’s Historic House Museums tell the history not only of Brooklyn but of the entire city of New York. Two of the best to visit are the Old Stone House and the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum. The Old Stone House has its origins in the 1699 Vechte-Cortelyou House. That house witnessed the famous, though now largely forgotten, last stand of the Maryland 400 during the Revolutionary War’s Battle of Brooklyn. In 1883, the land became Washington Park, the first home of the Brooklyn Baseball Club (later the Brooklyn Dodgers).
The Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum is located in Canarsie, and its oldest section dates from circa 1652, making it the oldest building in New York City. In 1968, its entire structure became the first building designated as a New York City landmark. Today, both houses are open to the public and operated under the auspices of the Historic House Trust.
Wonder Wheel | via Wikipedia
Coney Island has been synonymous with amusement and fun since the nineteenth century. The home of such attractions as Luna Park, Dreamland Steeplechase Park, and even a colossus elephant. While many people talk about Coney Island in nostalgic terms, it still has plenty of amusements to keep today’s visitors busy. Take a ride on Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement or the classic Cyclone wooden roller coaster. Speaking of cyclones, be sure to catch a Brooklyn Cyclones game — the Mets affiliate’s games often end with a (thrillingly close-up) fireworks display. And as you walk along the boardwalk, eating funnel cake or cotton candy, take a moment to admire the Parachute Jump, a remnant of the 1939-40 World’s Fair.
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