Brooklyn is the most populous borough in New York City and occupies 81 square miles on the western tip of Long Island. Once an independent municipality, it was the nation’s third-largest city for nearly half a century. Brooklyn fought valiantly before allowing itself to be taken into New York City in 1898. It has about 65 miles of natural shoreline, including 7 miles of sandy beaches which account for about a quarter of the Gateway National Recreation Area.
Brooklyn Academy of Music
30 Lafayette Avenue, 1(718) 636-4100 Brooklyn Academy of Music (aka BAM) was founded in 1858. Their classic building was completed in 1908. The greats who have performed here include: tenor Enrico Caruso, actress Sarah Bernhardt, ballerina Anna Pavlova, musicians Pablo Casals and Sergei Rachmaninoff, poets Edna St. Vincent Millay and Carl Sandberg, and statesman Winston Churchill.
Bus: B25, B26, B37, B38, B41, B45, B52, B67
Subway: to Atlantic Ave; to Pacific St; to Lafayette Avenue; to Fulton St.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
1000 Washington Avenue, Prospect Park, 1(718) 623-7200
This 50-acre garden has one of North America’s largest collections of roses, a Japanese hill and pond garden with Shinto shrine and teahouse, plus an annual cherry blossom festival. The new conservatory contains one of America’s largest bonsai collections and some rare rain forest trees, which are providing scientists with medicinal extracts to produce life-savings drugs.
Bus: B16, B41, B43, B48, B69, B71
Subway: to Prospect Park; to Botanic Garden, to Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum.
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
145 Brooklyn Avenue, 1(718) 735-4432
The world’s first children’s museum opened in 1899 and was the first to use interactive “hands-on” exhibits to help children understand the physical and cultural world. Most of the museum is underground and not visible from the street.
Bus: B43, B44, B45, B65
Subway: to Kingston/Throop Avenues; to Kingston Avenue.
Brooklyn Heights Historic District
Once called “the nearest country retreat” Brooklyn Heights grew throughout the 19th century. The beautiful esplanade along the East River was added in 1950 and in 1965 it was designated the first historic district of New York City. Brooklyn Heights is only 20 minutes by subway from Times Square. Or an unforgettable experience for visitors who walk across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan.
Bus: B25, B26, B38, B41, B51, B52
Subway: to Court Street, to Clark Street or Borough Hall, to Borough Hall, to High Street.
Brooklyn Museum of Art
200 Eastern Parkway, 1(718) 638-5000
When it opened in 1897, the Brooklyn Museum was originally designed to part of a series of beaux-arts pavillions representing an encyclopedia of human culture. Only one quadrant was completed. Today the museum houses one of the finest collections of Egyptian and African art in the United States.
Bus: B41, B45, B48, B69, B71
Subway: to Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum, to Botanic Garden.
Stillwell Avenue, 1(718) 372-5159
By the 1920s Coney Island was billing itself as the “World’s Largest Playground.” It included three large amusement parks ( Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park) that provided a combination of thrill rides, boardwalk and beach resort. Today, visitors can enjoy the “Cyclone” roller coaster, the gigiantic “Wonder Wheel,” the New York Aquarium, Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, and the annual Mermaid Parade. At the height of its popularity Coney Island attracted a million people on a busy summer Sunday.
Bus: B25, B26, B37, B38, B41, B45, B52, B67
Subway: to Coney Island/Stillwell Avenue.
FREE Heart of Brooklyn Trolley
This hour-long ride is a great way to see the sights in and around Prospect Park, including historic Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Prospect Park Zoo, and Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Operates on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, Noon to 6:00 P.M., throughout the year. It leaves from Prospect Park’s Wollman Rink on the hour and makes stops throughout the Park. A connection to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum Trolley is also available.
See Prospect Park listing below for bus and subway directions.
Grand Army Plaza
Originally a grand oval gateway to Prospect Park, the arch and its sculptures were added in 1892 as a tribute to the Union Army. The bust of John F. Kennedy here is the only official New York monument to him.
Bus: B41, B69, B71
Subway: to Grand Army Plaza
New York Aquarium for Wildlife Conservation
Surf Avenue & West 8th Street, 1(718) 372-5159
14 acres by the sea, with 350 species including beluga whales, seals, dolphins, sharks, a penguin colony, and New York’s only Pacific walrus. Electric eel demonstrations daily. In summer and fall: dolphine and sea lion shows.
Bus: B36, B68
Subway: to Coney Island/Stillwell Avenue, local to West 8 St/NY Aquarium
Park Slope Historic District
Located west of Prospect Park, this is one of the most desirable residential areas in Brooklyn. Architectural styles is typical of the period between the Civil War and World War I.
Bus: B63, B67, B69, B71, B75
Subway: to Grand Army Plaza ; to Seventh Avenue
Visitor Center: 1(718) 287-3400
Events Hotline: 1(718)965-8999
The natural landscape of the park, 526 acres of meadows and wooded bluffs, streams, brooks, and a lake, was left unspoiled when the park was designed in the 1860s by Frederick Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. The former boathouse modeled after a 16th century Venetian building, has been restored and serves as the first urban-area Audubon Center in the nation, it is a place of active discovery with hands-on exhibits and innovative programming for children and adults. Exhibits allow visitors to explore the world of nature through interactive technology, using the Park’s diverse natural habitat as a venue for learning and fun.
Bus: B12, B16, B41, B43, B48
Subway: to Prospect Park, to Grand Army Plaza or Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum.