I moved to Brooklyn Heights in 2000. At first, I didn’t like it. At first, I thought no one liked me. Now ten years later, I have a coterie of friends, neighbors, haunts, and even dogs I really like— especially, Hamilton, the white bulldog. Here is my list of the top 5 things I love about my neighborhood, and if you feel inspired, add 5 of your own.
1. The Brooklyn Heights Deli on the corner of Henry and State Street. Frankie, the proprietor, has been insulting me for the past five years, but in a good way. I am family. I’m in there at least three times a day (I know I should get a life). This location has been a store since the beginning of the 20th century.
2. Tazza on Henry between State and Atlantic. Simply the best cup of coffee in the neighborhood, far surpassing Starbucks. The freshest sandwiches, the flakiest croissants, and comprehensive wine bar. In the evening, I like to go there for a mocha bar and glass of white wine. There are always left over sections of the New York Times to peruse. The staff is out of this world friendly.
3. My friend, Butch, who sits on the corner of Willow and State. He grew up in the neighborhood. He is a font of historical information. He tells me that Willow used to have tons of marauding children (he was one of them), that he could swim in the river, and that it used to snow so much, you couldn’t walk down the street. He knows who owns what properties, what they paid for them, and the going rate for one bedrooms.
4. The YMCA on Atlantic Avenue, off Court Street. I’ve been a member since the fall of 2006. The membership is a true cross section of what makes this city so great— all cultures, all religions, families, single, straight and gay. It is meticulously maintained. It opens before the sun rises and closes long after it sets. It has a pool, a steam room, a sauna, tai chi, yoga, spinning, pilates (and more). It’s insanely cheap to become a member. Why would you bother with anything else?
5. The Dog Run at the end of State Street. The BQE looms overhead, but down below, Molly, my Shih Tzu, can socialize with her own kind; terriers, poodles, chihuahuas, and other assorted miniature doggies. The people are pretty friendly as well. There’s even a Saturday morning meet and greet. We stand there, coffee cups in hand, and gaze lovingly at our dogs running, gamboling and peeing on each other. Pure bliss.