I got to spend the day exploring Brooklyn, it’s definitely a different vibe than Manhattan. From three generations of tanned, leathery men playing dominoes on a folding card table perched on their front stoop; to a tiny bar that opens up onto a beautiful hidden patio; the little I’ve seen of Brooklyn so far is utterly charming.
I caught Lyft from LaGuardia this morning, slogging through a mental haze following a 7a flight out of O’Hare. Although check-in was 3p, my hotel was able to get me into a room almost as soon as I arrived. And what a hotel it is. I’m staying at The Box House Hotel, a beautiful boutique establishment just off the East River in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood. From my corner room balcony, I can see Manhattan’s East Side and the Chrysler building. I can also see trees, and fire escapes, and the sunset. Hotels these days all seem the same…plush beds, lofty pillows, white, white, white. The Box House is a wonderful change, full of clean mid-century curves and warm wood. It feels more like a home than a hotel.
After getting settled, I took a quick walk to the G train and headed south to City Point, home of the Dekalb Market Hall. This basement food court almost feels like a night market, with a maze of different food stalls hawking everything from crepes to churros, from banh mi sandwiches to pierogis. And then you emerge, eyes blinking from the brightness, in Trader Joe’s. (That part was a bit disconcerting.). Throughout the space are long communal tables, and several of the stands also offer wraparound bar stool seating. I caved and ordered a pastrami on rye from Katz’s Delicatessen.
After lunch, I wandered around the area. To give you a sense of how that went, the Goodwill around the corner was about $1-2 more expensive than the one at home, and it had a security guard. I also poked around Century 21, but didn’t find anything. For the most part, beyond Dekalb, there wasn’t anything particularly unique about the area that would draw me back for a repeat visit.
I decided to make my way back to the Box for an easy evening. I stopped at a grocery store near the hotel for provisions (hard seltzer, a baguette and a hunk of truffle-laced pate), and took my time walking home. It was a 16.5k step day, but every step led me to something new. I’m homesick, but happy.