There are reasons why the Brooklyn Bridge is a tourist attraction, why the Brooklyn waterfront is so popular, and why Brooklyn itself is a destination for both living and playing. If you hop off the train at Court Street/Borough Hall Station and step into Downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights, you’ll find yourself in the business and government center of Brooklyn, but also within easy walking distance of parks, museums, funky non-profits, and, of course, the beautiful Brooklyn waterfront. Here, we take a look at this stop and all the diverse happenings that surround it.
334 Furman Street
How’s this for a Sunday morning: take the R train from Midtown, get off at Court Street, walk for about 14 minutes, and spend the day fishing, barbecuing, and eating ice cream at Pier 5 of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Pier 5 also offers three soccer (ultimate frisbee, lacrosse, etc) fields, two playgrounds for younger and older children, and ONE°15 Brooklyn Marina, the calmest marina basin in New York Harbor. If a quiet Sunday morning if more your style, you can also come here to simply relax. With magnificent views of lower Manhattan, Governors Island, and New York Harbor, Pier 5 has a promenade with viewfinders and green space with sloped and terraced lawns.
On plaza at Court Street and Montague Street
If you happen to land in Downtown Brooklyn on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday, get your grocery shopping done at the Borough Hall Greenmarket. This outdoor farmers market serves up a bounty of everything from fresh-picked fruits and vegetables to wild-caught fish and shellfish to beautiful plants and flowers. They offer grass-fed meat and dairy, free-range eggs, artisan breads, and specialty items such as emu eggs and ostrich meat. A favorite among the locals, the Greenmarket also hosts events such as cooking demonstrations, health screenings, and nutrition information sessions.
99 Schermerhorn Street
Explore the history and future of mass transit, where else but in New York. Founded in 1976, the NY Transit Museum is housed in an authentic, underground 1936 subway station which spans a full city block. Visitors can board the museum’s vintage subway cars, walk through a time tunnel of turnstiles, and hear stories about the people, communities, technology, design, past, present, and future of mass transit. The museum also offers a plethora of events and workshops, including guided tours, hands-on learning for kids, and even virtual train operation spanning miles of virtual track.
76 Montague Street
Owned and operated by a local, non-profit animal-rescue operation, Brooklyn Cat Cafe is a cafe of a different drum. Here, eating is not the goal: snuggling with (and maybe even adopting!) a cat is. One of the first cat cafes in the country, Brooklyn Cat Cafe sees an average of 95 visitors per day, people of all ages coming to cuddle with cats. These cats are all adoptable – since the cafe’s inception in May 2016, hundreds of cats have been placed in permanent adoptive homes. But you can also just come to hang out with the kitties, providing warmth and friendship. The cafe also hosts fun events, like family movie nights under a pile of cats, or yoga with felines. Cat pose, anyone?
55 Pierrepont Street
Get a little shopping done and support your local community by stopping by Brooklyn Women’s Exchange. Since 1854, this not-for-profit, volunteer-run shop has been selling crafts and handmade goods by artists and craftspeople from Brooklyn and beyond. This is a great place for buying unique gifts, children’s clothes, greeting cards, and more, where, of every dollar you spend, 70 cents goes directly to the crafter.
84 Montague Street
Dinner and drinks at a local favorite is a great way to end a long day of fishing, cat cuddling, and shopping. Enter Heights Cafe, a stylish yet casual spot serving up delicious New American fare. Choose from cuisines spanning Mediterranean (a la Tzatziki), Italian (Rigatoni anyone?), healthy (a favorite here is the Kale and Crusted Walnut Goat Cheese salad), and good old fashioned American (you cannot go wrong with the Heights Burger and Heights Fries). The Heights Cafe has both indoor and outdoor seating, a delicious brunch, and an extensive drink menu, featuring craft cocktails and local beers.