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    Entries in Brooklyn (25)


    You're A Peach 

    A summer peach. Saturday early afternoon: Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket in Brooklyn. We always lived by the Union Square Greenmarket but I'm telling you: this one is better. More manageable, less crowds, better selection. It feels like Europe in the most lovely way.

    Get yourself some August peaches before they run out. And p.s. - I ordered these peaches thanks to Ruth Reichl's recommendation. I'll be ordering every year - they are what peaches should taste like!


    The Move to Brooklyn 

    Rocco on the Brooklyn BridgeSince we first moved to New York City, we've lived in the West Village. First in the tiniest fourth-floor walk-up you can imagine, and then a nice one-bedroom on beautiful W. 9th St, just two blocks north of Washington Square Park. But over the past year, I've been feeling the need for more quiet. The West Village is so lovely, but everyone knows it, and therefore, everyone visits. The insane charm becomes simply...insane at times. I always walked my dog on Perry Street & have NEVER seen it without a crowd in front of 66 Perry snapping photos (Carrie's apt from Sex & the City). It started to feel a lot like Disneyland. That's not to bash the West Village - the brownstones, incredible history, killer restaurants, and inspiring creativity makes it one of my favorite places on the planet. But we started to consider other neighborhoods to live, and were on our way to TriBeCa or the Upper East Side.

    I've always loved Brooklyn and when we started looking at places, it started to feel absolutely right. And we found a place that feels like an early thirties type of place, if you know what I mean. There's our own WASHER/DRYER (NYC real estate dream fulfilled)! We're fulfilling every stereotype of DINKS (Double Income-No Kids) right now - Manhattan West Village yuppies move to Brooklyn.

    I will always go back to the West Village for all my favorite places, which I wrote about here. The express train takes 8 minutes to our old subway stop...but it feels a world away, which is what we wanted in many ways. However...I desperately miss Citarella on our corner so much already!

    Some favorite shots of our old street, West 9th Street, taken very early in the morning...


    Bike Ride to Roberta's in Bushwick

    There are places in New York that you start to hear rumbles about, then they are splashed all over restaurant pages in the Post, Daily News, Times, and blogs, people like Anthony Bourdain tweet about it, then the wait times exceed 3 hours which of course makes the "cool factor" seem even higher. Oh, and the Clintons hosted a fundraiser here too. For me, there isn't much I'd wait 3 hours for, which is why I had avoided Roberta's up until now. Plus, it was in Bushwick, Brooklyn, a neighborhood I don't really frequent but is one of those changing areas where something cool always seems to be opening.

    On Easter Sunday, after a proper Upper East Side church service and breakfast with our wonderful friends, we decided to break out our bikes for the first time in months and bike to Bushwick. The ride, when combined with a visit to Fort Greene, ended up being 14 miles round-trip, and was relatively flat most of the time, except for the Williamsburg Bridge. You really see New York when bike riding, and how the neighborhoods quickly change. We rode through everything from sketchy areas, perfect brownstone streets, and gritty urban sprawl.

    And there, after passing factory after factory (no wonder the smell of wontons wafted through the air), there was Roberta's. The pizzas were perfect - thin, crispy crust charred to perfection, and the ideal ratio of cheese to sauce. The vibe - casual, edgy, Good People all around. Plus, we saw a hipster walking his cat when we left (read this for the full story and photo...hilarious). The verdict? Roberta's is worth the journey, and is right near a subway stop if you don't want to bike it! 

    Now if only I could score a reservation for Blanca next door...


    Must-Visit: Franny's in Brooklyn

    As Adam Platt declared in New York Magazine's Where To Eat 2013, "Brooklyn's Ascension is Official." I hop on the subway to Brooklyn more and more to try restaurants, coffee shops, shops and parks. There is so much going on and it's changing every minute. Recently, we went to Franny's to try their pizza. I read they were changing locations in March and wanted to experience the original before they moved to bigger digs. Everything I read and heard was "They don't take reservations. You'll wait forever." Expecting to wait two hours minimum, we arrived at 6:45 p.m. on a Monday night and were immediately seated. Within 1/2 hour, it was crazy busy. Franny's is proud to utilize renewable energy and eco-friendly products like cleaning supplies and recycled paper. But you don't see that when you go in - just a laid-back, lively Brooklyn crowd and fantastic pizzas. The clam pie is the one to try - it was recently featured on Barefoot Contessa when Ina Garten went to Franny's to make it.

    Franny's brick oven


    L&B Spumoni Gardens - Brooklyn's Famous Sicilian Slice 

    I'm working on some huge projects right now, and excited to share more with you all soon. Days have been starting early and ending late, usually with my laptop in bed at midnight. The glamorous life of a travel writer and freelancer! But I am loving almost every minute - so I know I am doing what I'm supposed to be doing. I always make time to explore new corners of New York or else I get very grumpy. 

    I love the debate of New York pizza about best slices, best pies, and best pizza ambiance. But one place comes up time and again when it comes to the Sicilian slice - the Bensonhurst, Brooklyn landmark L&B Spumoni Gardens. It has been open since 1939 and feels like old, classic Brooklyn, a feeling that seems to be disappearing from so many places.

    The signature square Sicilian pie is the best I've had, but I loved feeling like a pizza pilgrim, trekking out on the subway, and walking to this spot. Plus we witnessed a giant fiery fight about a parking space as we left - very New York!