Exploring Brooklyn from the Fairfield Inn

Brooklyn. Happening place, right? It seems like everyone’s heard of it. But has everyone visited it?

Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge with Lower Manhattan's skyline in the background

It’s been said that to really get to know New York City, you have to reach beyond Manhattan and explore other boroughs. I’ll be the first to admit that I, for one, am terrible at doing this. I hardly ever leave Manhattan except for a planned social occasion. But go exploring? I almost never do that! So when the opportunity arose to spend a night at the glistening new Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott in Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood, I jumped!

Room at Fairfield Inn & Suites

A room at Brooklyn's Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott

It was an action filled couple of days, complete with a wonderful exploration of the surrounding Brooklyn areas. While Gowanus might seem a bit, well, out-of-the-way, I was quite surprised as to just how much there was!

Lounge Area in Brooklyn Fairfield Inn & Suites

Lounge Area in Brooklyn's Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott

See, the hotel is not only located near one of the city’s largest subway stations at Atlantic Ave/Pacific St, it’s also in easy walking distance to some great Brooklyn neighborhoods, including Park Slope (where you should definitely check out Battersby for food, as this tiny restaurant run by two chefs was the scene of the most incredible dinner I have ever eaten), Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO (which has no relation to that flying elephant…it stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass).

Fish Dinner at Battersby

Dinner at Brooklyn's Battersby

After a lovely evening in the hotel, which has commanding views of Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island and a nice breakfast that even included made-to-order waffles, it was time to use the hotel’s great location as a base to explore Brooklyn! The man for the job? Brooklyn-native Dom Gervasi, the proprietor of the fairly ingenious Made in Brooklyn Tours. His concept? Visit place that are actually making things…in Brooklyn!

Made in Brooklyn Tours

Dom Gervasi (left) of Made in Brooklyn Tours

We encountered such joys as a delicious fresh ice cream at Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (situated by the picturesque Brooklyn Bridge), the recycling wonders of Recycle-a-Bicycle (where one can donate their old bike to be turned into a brand-spanking new bike for someone else to use), some Mexican-style hot chocolate from the chocolate man himself, Jacques Torres Chocolate and the wonderful assortment of independent, artsy shops at The Shops, which Dom was quick to term a “small business incubator.” I think he’s right!

"Ice Cream is the New Health Food"

Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

While DUMBO, as we came to learn through our morning tour of the above locations, was a bit more upscale, Gowanus (named for the canal) is where the real fascinating stuff is. For instance, did you know that you could buy every ingredient to make your own beer at home? Look no further than Brooklyn Homebrew! How about a handmade high-quality kitchen knife? Cut Brooklyn! Weaving classes? Gowanus has got you covered with the Textile Arts Center.

Loom at the Textile Arts Center

Loom at the Textile Arts Center

I couldn’t get over the wonders in my own backyard that I had woefully been ignoring. Here was this whole amazing borough at my disposal that I almost never explore… But you know what? I’m going to change that and you should too! So now I’m emphatically encouraging you…check out Brooklyn! Better yet, stay in Brooklyn! It’s a pretty cool place and only a short subway ride over to Manhattan…that is, if you can stand to leave!

Full Disclosure: This experience was graciously provided by Brooklyn Fairfield Inn & Suites  by Marriott, but all opinions expressed here are entirely my own, free from outside influence.

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10 Responses to Exploring Brooklyn from the Fairfield Inn

  1. Tom January 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    Great post, Aaron – I’ve seen so much written about Manhattan, but not so much about the other neighbourhoods. How about Queen’s next, or if you want to go a little further out, Yonkers or Buffalo 😉

    I think we’re all guilty about not exploring our own backyards. On Thursday, I’ll be off to a cafe that is super famous with visitors to my hometown (Harrogate) – yet I’ve never stepped foot in it once in my twenty-five years on this planet!

    • Aaron January 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

      Haha well I’ll be in Buffalo in February for work, so…

      For sure. I’ve found that I’m only really good about exploring a place if I know my time there is limited. Maybe this will encourage me to do some more urban exploration. Chances are when I get home from my current trip I may be kinda sad to not be traveling anymore so that might be a great time to check out Queens a bit!

      Enjoy that super famous cafe!

  2. John Wilson January 11, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

    Hi Aaron,
    Nice review of your visit to Brooklyn – funny how most people miss the wonders in their own backyard.
    An enjoyable read.
    Cheers,
    John

    • Aaron January 12, 2012 at 9:12 am #

      Thanks John!

  3. charu January 14, 2012 at 10:32 am #

    Loved doing the Brooklyn Tour. still have such fond memories of Battersby. In fact, we’re going back JUST for that awesome Kohlrabi salad 😉

    • Aaron January 15, 2012 at 9:51 am #

      Awesome! Man oh man that salad was amazing! Enjoy!

  4. Dom January 19, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

    Hi Aaron,

    Glad to see this in the blogosphere. Just wanted to make a small correction – the Textile Arts Center is in Gowanus. Hope to see you on the inaugural Made in BENSONHURST Tour on Saturday, February 11!

    Dom
    Owner & Producer
    Made in Brooklyn Tours

    • Aaron January 20, 2012 at 12:22 am #

      Hi Dom,

      Thanks for the correction! I’ve fixed it in the post. I’d love to go on your new Made in Bensonhurst tour, but unfortunately I’ll be out of town on February 11 (freezing my butt off in Buffalo). I hope it goes well!

      Cheers!
      Aaron

  5. Vicki Lee February 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    Enjoyed this. I loved Brooklyn too and I didn’t even do these things you did! I can’t wait to go back.
    Thanks.

    • Aaron February 18, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

      Thanks Vicki! Glad you enjoyed this and I hope it’s given you some future inspiration!

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