When Favery mentioned it might be fun to give you all a peek of what a weekend with Lulu & Shay is like in my neighborhood, I jumped at the opportunity to share all the fun spots in my little neck of the woods.
I live in Dumbo, which stands for DOWN UNDER THE MANHATTAN BRIDGE OVERPASS. We moved to the Dumbo/Brooklyn Heights area almost nine years ago from the East Village. It has changed immensely in the short time we have lived here. It would be easy for a person of any age to spend a weekend here and be more then fulfilled taking in all the sights, scenery, restaurants, and activities.
I have four kids ranging in age from newborn - 8 years old. My oldest three are all boys and very active and energetic, so our weekends, as you can imagine, are filled with kid-focused activities. But of course we also sneak in some things for us too! Here are all our favorite spots!
There is no sleeping in on Saturday...Between the baby being on an "always feed me" schedule and our little one, who will be 4 next week, we are constantly up at dawn. After a hurried breakfast for the boys and finding all of their soccer gear, we are off by 8:30am.
1. Iris Cafe: This hidden spot in Brooklyn Heights has the most amazing Avocado
Toast. This is such a cozy place for brunch or dinner. Today just a quick pit stop
at their take away store for coffee before soccer games at Pier 5. The takeaway
shop has a deli in the back with sandwiches and salads made-to-order, not to
mention a great assortment of chocolates. All of the products featured here are
either locally sourced or personal favorites of the owner Rachel Graville. It's a NY
Bodega at it's best.
2. Pier 5: what an amazing place for Brooklyn kids to have Saturday morning soccer with the view of the river, Statue of Liberty, Staten Island Ferry and Brooklyn Bridge. It’s beyond picturesque to walk through all the piers and be able to enjoy the view and fresh air while the kids expend some of their unstoppable energy. When we moved to our place, the piers were not developed. Now it’s a beautiful park complete with amazing views, a roller skating rink, basketball courts, kayaking, soccer fields, playgrounds and more. I walk our dog Lulu everyday through Pier 1 just to take in the view and am always inspired by the different plants, flowers, and leaves I see in the park for my jewelry.
3. Hillside Dog Park with Lulu. A great dog run that is over 2 acres right around the corner from us. Lulu loves to come here for an endless game of fetch. It is a spacious treelined dog run with hills, fresh wood chip covered ground, and drinking fountains. Lulu & Shay is a combination of my husband’s and my childhood nicknames. Hard to believe it’s been 10 years since we rescued Lulu (the name the shelter gave her) with a broken leg from a kill shelter. She owned the name hands down. Worth giving up my nickname ;) Her energy, like our kids, also knows no bounds.
4. One Girl Cookie: For an afternoon pick me up there is no better place then OGC for cookies, pastries, cupcakes and coffee. Everything is made fresh and yummy. From amazing cookies, cupcakes, and their famous whoopee pies. It’s right under the bridge by the water. From here it is easy to wander into Brooklyn Bridge Park on Main Street.
5. Brooklyn Bridge Park: This section of the park in Dumbo offers amazing views of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge, a Pirate Ship playground, Jane’s Carousel, a dog run, an educational center that has animals from the actual East River and history of the area, rotating art installations, and plenty of grass to soak in the sun, views and people watching. They have also been updating this park over the years, there are so many new amazing little nooks and crannies you can hang out in.
6. Jane's Carousel: this Carousel has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning as well as other shows. The Carousel is from the 1920s. It is named after Jane Walentas who restored the carousel. The Walentas brothers are famous for purchasing many of the properties in the Dumbo area when they were abandoned warehouses and transforming them to the luxury apartments they are today. The carousel moved from an indoor space where it was just for viewing to the grand spot it is in now between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridge in the park. It is in a glass structure which protects it from the sun and elements, as well as keeps it warm in the winter time. It is a truly special carousel with incredible detail on all of the horses and carriages.
7. Cafe Usagi is an art gallery and cafe. It is beautifully decorated and feels like a cozy living room. It is a concept store that houses an art gallery, library and cafe, all in one. The Gallery showcases work from both local and global talent. The Cafe features coffee and tea selections, including Matcha latte and Iced Genmaicha.
The library functions as a space where customers can read and get creative ideas
through rare visual books on design and art. This is a great place to come and get
some design work done or ideas if you are in the need of inspiration.
8. Juliana’s Pizza: This famous Pizza restaurant is owned by the famous Patsy Grimaldi. The original Grimaldi’s. Now the two restaurants sit side by side, both acquiring lines up to an hour before they open, in all types of weather from blazing hot summer days to the most rainy miserable ones. Tourists and locals alike will line up waiting to catch a table in the famed restaurants. For us, Juliania’s wins
hands down, as it is made and run by the original Patsy Grimaldi. He is very much
present at the restaurant and walks around to make sure everyone is enjoying the
pizza. If you are looking for traditional authentic NY thin crust pizza, look no more!
9. St. Ann’s Warehouse: For over 30 years St. Ann’s Warehouse has commissioned, produced, and presented a unique and eclectic body of innovative theater and concert presentations. Just last year they moved into the historic Tobacco Warehouse on Water street. Our kids used to ride their scooters in the abandoned warehouse space. They are now under construction and set to become a beautiful retail and restaurant space. St. Ann’s theater has some amazing productions and groundbreaking music and theater collaborations. A perfect way to end the day.
1. Brooklyn Roasting Company: Sunday morning is a little bit more relaxed then
Saturdays for us. For the best coffee in the neighborhood, we head to Brooklyn
Roasters. BRC offers some of the best quality fair trade, rainforest alliance and
organic certified and sustainable coffees. The loft style, industrial space is filled
with antique roasting equipment and plenty of space to sit and relax. The kids love
their donuts and pastries.
2. Brooklyn Flea: Brooklyn Flea recently moved to Dumbo under the archway of
the Manhattan Bridge. Every Sunday from 10am-5pm there are 80 vendors selling
vintage, antique, handmade items, and food. Smorgasburg showcases the best of
Brooklyn’s artisanal food scene, and you can find some of these vendors at Brooklyn Flea in Dumbo. The New York Times called the Flea “One of the great urban experiences in New York”; Travel + Leisure, Country Living, Budget Travel, and Fodor’s have ranked the Flea one of the best markets in the U.S. and the world; and Time Out NY named the Flea one of New York’s Essential Pick-Up Spots. This is a great spot to find vintage items that can be inspiring for my jewelry as well as fun toys for the kids that they have never seen before.
3. Brooklyn Bridge: One of the great things about living in this neighborhood is the
close proximity to Manhattan. We often just walk across the Brooklyn Bridge into
the city. In the warmer seasons I will walk across the bridge in the morning to head
into the jewelry studio I work out of sometimes, as well as to catch the subway to
midtown to head to the casters. I love the Brooklyn Bridge, it is so beautiful and it
always amazes me that we can see it right from our window of our apartment.
4. East River Ferry/Governors Island. The East River Ferry stops almost right outside our door. We live just steps to Pier 1 where the ferry stops. We use this ferry to quickly get to other parts of Brooklyn (Greenpoint, Williamsburg) as well as Battery Park and Midtown. In the summer they run ferry service to Governors Island from Pier 6 (Memorial Day-Labor Day). You can easily bring your bike on the ferry and bike all around Governors Island which is a 172 acre island in the heart of New York Harbor. Governors Island has plenty of food vendors, hammocks, playgrounds, rotating artist exhibitions, history, and performances to last the entire day.
5. Brooklyn Heights Promenade: The promenade is right up a steep hill from our
place. It is 1/3 of a mile long and it has views of the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan Skyline, East River and Brooklyn Bridge. It is lined with benches, flowers, some of the nicest townhouses, and a great playground. It opened in 1950 after an outcry from the residents when the expressway was going to run through the heart of Brooklyn Heights. Now the promenade offers an amazing view of the city while insulating the neighborhood from the noise of the cars on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway that runs under it. It’s a wonderful place to walk and look at all of the boats and ferries and just take in the view.
6. Vinegar Hill House: Vinegar Hill House is a perfect place to wrap up the day. Named for its neighborhood, Vinegar HIll, which is right next to Dumbo, is tucked away on a quiet block where you would not expect to find such a gem of a restaurant. They use sustainably farmed ingredients and a wood fired oven to compose artful and satisfying eats. The place is super cozy with a great atmosphere and great service. There is also a super sweet quiet garden that they open up in nice weather.
Many thanks to Leeorah Betan-Hartman for her amazing guide to Dumbo and beyond. I know can't wait to explore Brooklyn!
View Lulu & Shay's entire collection on Favery.
As Always, Shine Bright!