Most people have been to New York at least once by now, and if they haven’t, they’re sure to have seen the same pictures and places posted over and over again…
This was my third time, and my first time going on a trip with just one other person. It was a spontaneous idea for the two of us to immerse ourselves in pseudo hipsterdom for four days and hunt for gems in New York. Save for MoMa and the mandatory Halal Guys meal, we avoided as many common tourist spots as we could and spent a fair chunk of time in Brooklyn.
This is Amanda. I’ve known her for about 8 years now. She loves Targét, Trader Joes, cereal aisles and thinks American packaging design is extremely quaint. We essentially like the same things at varying intensities. We concluded that my subdued enthusiasm and her occasional manic excitement balanced each other out pretty well during this trip.
We stayed at this AirBnB in Bushwick, Brooklyn. This place was a 4-bedroom unit in a renovated old four-story building. We chose our accommodations carefully (read as: we were sold purely on the aesthetic – air plants! wood things!). We spent the first hour here taking pictures (friends who Instagram together, stay together?).
We were excited to find out we had rooftop access in our building. It was a wide flat space which must be perfect for parties in the summer. As you can see, it’s all trucks and factories in this neighbourhood. It was quiet at night with only a few hole-in-the-wall bars and a couple of health food stores open.
Although Bushwick was rather industrial, there were blasts of vividly coloured graffiti at every turn.
It was cold. Anyone who knows me at all knows I can’t handle the cold weather. Without exaggeration, I wore 6 top layers, 2 bottom layers, and 3 head layers most days. And although yes, my balaclava makes me look rather badass, its functional purpose was just as, if not more, important. I wouldn’t be surprised if I lost weight after this trip from all the walking and shivering.
Roberta’s is a famous pizza joint in Brooklyn. This is their take-out entrance. They have a separate entrance for their restaurant which was deceptively huge, dark, and full of hipsters. The pizza was on point.
We headed to downtown Brooklyn to explore and made it to the water (East River) It was freezing but Amanda insisted I sit and bust out a sketch so she could take photos of me. It was nice to relax by the water – if only it were a warm summer’s day.
After recharging our phoneular devices and rehydrating at Starbucks, we had little time left to find this spot before the sun set. This is a famous spot for a shot of the Manhattan Bridge (sorry friends, I’m not that creative!). It was a gorgeous neighbourhood with more galleries that we didn’t get to see many of.
We continued to explore along the water as night fell. If you look carefully in the distance, farther along by the water was a lit up glass box of a building. It looked to me, from a distance, to be some kind of dinner party lit up with string lights…
…but in fact, it was a carousel! out of nowhere! in a glass room! by the water! It cost $2 per ride and they mark your ticket with a hand-drawn heart! I died.
We rode the carousel, duh.
The Manhattan Bridge lights made the scene all the more whimsical, imitating string lights hanging behind this magical glass carousel room.
On the last day, we split up for a bit, planning to meet up back at home to catch our flight. I skated to Williamsburg which was less than half an hour away on board and was surprised to find there was lots of gorgeous graffiti on the way there.
In the morning, I quickly Yelped what was cool in Williamsburg and went into a state of frenzy when I found out that it was the home base of Mast Brothers Chocolate Makers. Have you ever gone to the Drake General Store or similar and seen the chocolate bars wrapped in beautifully patterned wrappers? They’re from here!
All the chocolate is made primarily in this one space. The Mast Brothers are two tall bearded men (shocking). The wrapping is all designed within the company (family/friends) and no, they wouldn’t sell me any paper :-(
They hand-sticker all their chocolate bars. They do it all by hand. My greatest regret is that we had to leave before the touring time.
A few blocks down behind a heavy metal door was their old space, which was now turned into a “Brewed Chocolate Bar” which, contrary to my belief, was not hot chocolate of any sort, but brewed cacao (pronounced “ka-cow”, apparently) beans, which made it taste like chocolate tea.
Gem after gem, I continued a few more steps down the street and found a little shop called the Brooklyn Art Library. Curious, I went inside to find it was a reference library… of people’s sketchbooks from all over the world!
Anyone who wants to participate in “The Sketchbook Project” can purchase one of their sketchbooks, fill it up and send it back to have it toured around a few cities for awhile, and then forever stored at this location for anyone to peruse.
What a unique and lovely concept. I stayed here for awhile just browsing people’s sketchbooks, taking it all in, and using their wi-fi.
As quickly as we came, it was time to leave New York. Our flight was delayed for 3 hours, so we ate Combos and watched The Fifth Element for the first time.
After a tiring and cold 4-day trip spending almost 3 of 4 full days together, we managed to stay friends. Hooray! Amanda suggested I make a video. I had no plans to make a video, but my photos were conveniently taken on a 1-second time-lapses, making it easy to put something together. You can watch it here.
December 12-15, 2014
Sony ActionCam HDR-AS100V