Sun 26 May - New York City, NY

We are back in Brooklyn as we hadn't yet explored Williamsburg, an increasingly trendy and gentrified neighborhood. The young bloke who founded and now is selling Tumblr to Yahoo, David Karp, apparently lives here somewhere.

Here is where we walked today. The gap will be explained later...

This being a Sunday, there was subway track maintenance work going on in various places including the L-line which we intended to take us from 14th Street station across East River to Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. Of course, we didn't know this so when we arrived at 14th Street station, we had to return on the M-line to almost where we started and then across Williamsburg Bridge to Marcy Avenue, get off there and continue on two different shuttle buses before we finally got there. Oh well, didn't matter as we were not exactly in a rush.

The first thing we see in Williamsburg when we get off the bus is this. "Konditori" (bakery) and the Swedish flag (it's on 167 North 7th Street if somebody would be interested...?). We didn't go in.

Bedford Avenue is the main drag through the centre of Williamsburg and it is lined with restaurants, coffee shops etc and also stalls on the streets where people are selling everything and anything. Here there are second hand books for sale.

Di was drooling when she saw this... To her credit, she resisted the temptation to go in.

We were so pleased to see (almost) Asian wiring...

Murals are everywhere in Williamsburg. Here are a few samples...




Even an emergency unit like the below, having been hit by presumably a vehicle, had turned into a piece of art.

Brooklyn Brewery takes up space on 2 blocks on North 11th Street (official address is 79 North 11th Street). Here is the southern side of the brewery.

Here is part of the northern side. Unfortunately, no sampling today as a sign on their cellar door advised us punters that it is closed for maintenance this long weekend. Verdammt! Still, we liked this slogan.

Funky hotel further west on 11th Street.

We then wander out towards East River where work has cleared up a former rail-yard.

At East River Park as it is called, there is a market on. Something called Smorgasburg is on here on Saturdays and then presumably moved to DUMBO on Sundays, but it was all happening here. Manhattan's Lower East Side and the Freedom Tower in the background.

We first bypass the markets and wander down to the river for a self portrait. Midtown Manhattan across East River in the background.

Hans had to feel the temperature of the water. It was cold, but not super cold.

Onto the markets and there was something there for everybody. Lots of pieces to furnish your new trendy loft with. Cool and trendy clothes for the happening crowd. You may think that this is not for us at all. You may be right.

Well, they were selling cool and unique New York themed t-shirts in one place and we did do a purchase. Sorry, can't reveal more than that at the moment...

Suddenly, a number of NYPD officers turned up and asked everybody to evacuate the site. It turned out that due to the strong winds, a piece (or more?) of the roof on the adjacent condo block has started to rip apart and may fly and hit somebody or something. Well, can't argue with that so we left.

We had seen, or more appropriately heard, the guy in the vehicle before during the morning. He sings. Loud. He has music on in his car, drives around Williamsburg and sings on the top of his voice though the open windows of his car. We spoke to a bloke earlier about this guy. Apparently, he is a local 50 year old or so who does this all the time. "Williamsburg got talent" joked the bloke. We supposed that this kind of environment breeds eccentricity.

Lunch at a small, but popular corner place on Bedford Avenue. Hans organic eggs with salmon were delicious. Di's chicken pie a bit less so.

After lunch, we decided to take the East River ferry down to DUMBO to then walk across the Brooklyn Bridge home. Hans was standing outside at the front while Di was relaxing inside (plus it was blowing a gale force!) Here is a self portrait of Hans with Williamsburg Bridge (we ended up going under 3 bridges with Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge being the other two).

There is one ferry stop in between which is South Williamsburg. Next to that stop, a somewhat different NYPD patrol had gathered, jet ski policing...

Manhattan and then Brooklyn Bridge as seen from East River.
OK, it is easy to get a bit trigger happy, but it looks so damn good. Brooklyn Bridge with lower Manhattan to the right and Brooklyn to the left.

We arrive at the DUMBO stop, which is not DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass), but should be called DUBBO (Down Under Brooklyn Bridge Overpass) as the ferry terminal is on the other side of that bridge. Anyway, we get off the ferry.

There are a lot of people out this being a sunny although windy Sunday. Between the 2 bridges there are a couple of buildings where only their shells remain. And there we have it, Smorgasburg, the Sunday market. From what we could see, same stall holders as in East River Park but also others. We were not sure whether the guys we saw before had moved here for the day after the evacuation or whether they had multiple representations. It all did smell very nice with a huge variety of food, although not that cheap from what we could tell.

Brooklyn Bridge was crowded, very crowded, but who can blame them. Pedestrians are sharing a narrow strip with push bikes going in both directions and there is just not enough space for everybody. Add punters taking photos, vendors selling drinks, souvenirs and drawing your caricature, it felt like it was an accident waiting to happen.

And yes, the views are spectacular, both of the bridge as well as off it. Here we are looking down on Brooklyn and the old refurbished carousel with adjacent picnickers on the lawns.

Manhattan Bridge in the background.

Locks and graffiti at the very middle of Brooklyn Bridge.

On the way home, we stop for a gelato that we consume in Columbus Park, our local Chinese haven that makes you feel like you are in Hong Kong or China. Of course, on a Sunday the park is full of gambling, smoking, chatting and music.

We sat down and listened to this "band" while we enjoyed our gelatos. We assumed that they played a Chinese opera or similar as both singers to the right and the band followed sheet music.

We thought that it was fantastic and we felt almost a bit mushy. We liked the Chinese environment. A lot.

Behind us while we were enjoying Chinese opera, were two Chinese blokes who were playing some board game (hand written, hand drawn and with Chinese characters). The 2 blokes got regularly really excited and yelled out loud. Very funny.

Some grocery shopping in Chinatown on the way home including a stop at Di's favorite butcher around the corner from us. Can you see her paying inside the door? Total cost for meat for dinner $2.73. Bargain.

At home and after a rest, Hans felt that a couple of Tsingtao were absolutely in order. Delicious.

Di cooks garlic chicken and San Choy Bow for dinner. All very good. American Chinese garlic chicken is crap, sorry, can't think of another more appropriate word for it. Wine to go with it was also good.

Tomorrow is Memorial Day and we plan to hit the beach...


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