Brooklyn is a vast New York City borough that can’t adequately be covered in a day; I have lived here for 24 years and I still haven’t explored every nook and cranny. With the following itinerary for a day in Brooklyn with teens, you will spend a lot of time on the subway and on buses, so bring a book. I recommend The Fortress of Solitude, set in an un-gentrified Brooklyn.
Red Hook has changed a lot since “The Last Exit to Brooklyn.” One place teens enjoy is Pier Glass in Beard Street Warehouse. It offers an hour long “The Glass Experience” where teens actually get to blow glass. You can watch the lesson, or walk across the street and wander through Fairway Market, a huge supermarket with that New York City rarity, a parking lot.
Red Hook is rather isolated, so either take a cab, or the subway to the bus. Your best bet is the F, C or A train to Jay St – Borough Hall (the second stop in Brooklyn from Manhattan). If you are looking at a subway map, this stop is not Borough Hall. Walk one block to Smith St. and take the B61 bus towards Red Hook. Get off at the last stop. The bus ride itself is only about 15 minutes, but you may have to wait awhile for the bus.
Back to Fairway
After glassblowing, head back to Fairway and walk to the rear of the store. At the self-service café, you can get eggs, pancakes and sandwiches, and eat outside with a view of the harbor and Statue of Liberty. To the right, the unusual Waterfront Museum, on a barge, is available for free tours. The barge is also home to a family; one of my daughters played soccer with the daughter of the owner. To the left, converted warehouses are now artist studios, open to the public several times a year.
Head to Coney Island
Coney Island doesn’t have the cleanest sand in the world, but it does have one of the most interesting boardwalks. This summer, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is in residence with Coney Island Illuscination. If your teen is too cool for the circus, take him to ride the Cyclone, a wooden roller coaster that my mother wouldn’t let me ride because her mother said it was too rickety.
The Cyclone is open daily till Labor Day, then weekends through September. Your first ride is $8; if you can stomach another, it is only $5.
If you are looking for more rides, Luna Park opened this summer with 19 rides, five of which are not geared towards little kids. You are probably better off paying as you go, since the minimum for unlimited rides is four hours, $30 on weekends, $26 weekdays.
To get to Coney Island, take the B61 bus back to Jay Street – Borough Hall, then take the F train to the last stop, Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue. The train ride is 30 – 45 minutes.
Depending on how much you ate at Fairway, and how your stomach handled the Cyclone, you might not need/be able to eat now. But if you’re hungry, try Nathan’s. It’s famous for hot dogs and french fries. Eat the clams sold at the Boardwalk at your own peril.
The Brooklyn Cyclones a short season, late June – September 5, with most game times at 7pm. Tickets are inexpensive, giveaways are frequent, and you are so close to the action you really feel like part of the game. Although the team plays in the low ‘A’ farm system, injured Mets often play a rehab game here before returning to the majors, so you may get to see a star – or a future star.
If you have time before the game, stop into the New York Aquarium, which has shark and jellyfish exhibits, a Sea Lion show and a 4-D Planet Earth experience. Since you are going late in the day, little kids and camp/school groups will be gone.
You can also just walk along the beach or boardwalk; the Cyclone’s stadium is about a 10-minute walk from the aquarium.
After the game, head to Grimaldi’s for a late dinner. This DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) pizzeria has coal-fired brick oven pizza – and that’s it. Long lines are usual, but since you are getting there late, you should be fine. If you ate at the game, you can get the best ice cream in Brooklyn (arguably, the city) at The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory a block away at the water.
To get there, take the F train from Coney Island back towards Manhattan. At Jay Street – Borough Hall, switch across the platform for the A or C, one stop to High Street.