Hey, where's Poochie?
Completed my goal in #thebigegghuntny Here’s my top 5! It was a fun to explore the city, and kill my sneakers !

Completed my goal in #thebigegghuntny Here’s my top 5! It was a fun to explore the city, and kill my sneakers !

Lovely morning for a boat ride. #nyc

Lovely morning for a boat ride. #nyc

Easter Egg Hunt!

Every few years, a themed modern art hunt takes place in New York City. There were cows, apples, and baseballs. Now, in time for Spring, there’s an Fabergé easter egg hunt!

Technology has made this newest hunt easier and funner. At the official website, you can find info on the hunt, and how to download the app. In the app, you can use the map to find eggs, and use the QR codes at each egg to unlock it in your virtual basket. It’s very interactive.

Most of the eggs are in Manhattan, though there a few in Sunnyside, Queens and a few in downtown Brooklyn. Still, with the weather warming up, this is a good idea for a fun, themed walk.

Found my first eggs in #thebigegghuntny …. Only a hundred or so left? http://thebigegghunt.org/starthere/

Found my first eggs in #thebigegghuntny …. Only a hundred or so left? http://thebigegghunt.org/starthere/

City Walks Addendum: Van Cortlandt Park

The only Bronx walk in the City Walks cards that I can recall was Arthur Avenue, aka the Little Italy of the Bronx. But there’s certainly much more in the Bronx worth seeing if you have the time. The borough has the world’s largest metropolitan zoo, a 250 acre botanical garden, a connected island with great wildlife and beachfront, and a minor-league baseball stadium.

But if you’re really adventurous, take the 1 train to the end of the line and check out Van Cortlandt Park, which is over 300 acres larger than Central Park. Its northern end sits on the Westchester County border. The park has many criss-crossing paths, and there is no one route that is best. Definitely let yourself wander.

I would definitely make my way to the Putnam Trail, an unpaved path just west of the nearby lake and golf course. Along this path, you can see several abandoned structures, including the shells of the old train stations that once ran north into Yonkers. If you hit Westchester County, turn back… you’ve gone too far!

In the southwest area of the park, you can find the Van Cortlandt House, the borough’s oldest standing building. More info: here.

If you’re looking for some Bronx flavor in your New York walks, this park is a good place to check out.

Manhattan subway up, floating on a NYC sidewalk (at 110 Greene St).

Manhattan subway up, floating on a NYC sidewalk (at 110 Greene St).

I think I walked too far.

I think I walked too far.

Walking ‘round the reservoir in Central Park, looking downtown.

Walking ‘round the reservoir in Central Park, looking downtown.

I do this every day.

DUMBO

I briefly touched upon DUMBO in my recent 11-mile walk of scenic Brooklyn. But Ezra felt I go into more details on it because, he insists, no tourists want to go to Red Hook… they’ll just want to go to DUMBO. Okay.

If you have walked across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan, congratulations! You are in Brooklyn, which you have heard about on the television. After you exit the bridge, head back west down Jay St, and find yourself in DUMBO. Rather than a detailed walking route, I’ll just use this post to highlight some of the places of interest as you walk around this neighborhood.

*Bridge Park 2, a pretty empty piece of cement that is currently home to a great large art mural by artist Shepard Fairey.
*Zakka, a really cool independent bookstore, focusing on art, street culture, and toys.
*Stewart/Stand, a cool little gift and home goods shop with lots of eclectic items.
*Dewey’s Candy, which has a good selection of hard-to-find candy, including some great imports.
*Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, a nice ice cream parlour housed in an old 1920s fireboat house.
*Halcyon, an indie record shop
*Jane’s Carousel, because who doesn’t love horsies with an unbeatable view?
*Grimaldi’s Pizzeria is not the best pizza in NYC (in my view), but it is one of the more famous. Wait on line outside, be patient, and remember: no slices!

One of my favorite little things about this neighborhood is that, because of historical landmark status, many of the streets close the water are still cobblestone, and tracks from the streetcars can also still be seen.

I would also recommend checking out the neighboring Vinegar Hill area.

Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass

Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass

City Walks Addendum: Red Hook

For Christmas, a friend of mine bought me City Walks: New York: 50 Adventures on Foot, which contains little cards with walk routes and suggestions of interesting places along the way. Since this is mostly directed at tourists, it is limited to the usual tourist circle: Most of Manhattan (a lot of downtown), northwest Brooklyn, and Astoria.

This obviously leaves out a lot of walkable, interesting New York. So I decided to do a series of posts as addendums to these cards. First one: Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Red Hook has a lot of history, but let’s sum it up briefly: Once a bustling home of shipping and industrial business, then cliche crime-filled hellhole, now home to some of that growing Brooklyn gentrification.

There are no direct subway routes that go through Red Hook (though there are bus routes), but there are two easy enough ways to get there. My usual way: Take the F train to Carroll St and walk west across the BQE pedestrian bridge, then to Van Brunt St and down. Or, the one we’ll go with here… the scenic way: Take the Ikea water taxi from Manhattan ($5 on weekdays, free on weekends) from Pier 11 on the South St Seaport area. This water taxi ride will give you great views of the Brooklyn Bridge, Governors Island, Statue of Liberty, and all in between. After about 15 minutes, you will arrive at the Ikea docks.

From here, head up to Beard St and head left. The first place you’ll want to stop is right there, Erie Basin Park, which isn’t nearly as seedy as the linked writeup indicates (as far as I have seen). Past here, continue down Beard St, and make a left on Conover. Here you will find Sunny’s Bar, which has been around since 1890, and is back after Hurricane Sandy knocked it out of commission.

Right past there, at the waterfront, you’ll find Pier 44 Waterfront Garden, which Curbed describes as being “the center of this neighborhood’s eclectic mix of small businesses, arts organizations, and historic structures”. Definitely take some time strolling along this stretch. Continue up this boardwalk and back up toward Van Dyke St. At the corner of Van Dyke & Ferris, you will find Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies, which has been drawing people to the area since before the gentrification. Right past this, you’ll find another waterfront oasis, Louis Valentino, Jr. Park and Pier. The far end of this pier has the best views in Brooklyn of the Statue of Liberty.

After the park, head back toward Ferris St. The few side-streets that run between Ferris & Van Brunt (Coffey, Dikeman, Wolcott, Sullivan) have a lot of interesting homes and warehouse spaces on them, and I recommend taking some time to criss-cross these streets. You may even see a large ship at the nearby Cruise Terminal.

Around this area, on Van Brunt St., there’s also a lot of good restaurants in the area: Fort Defiance, The Good Fork, and Hometown Bar-B-Que. As you make your way north up Van Brunt, you’ll come across lots of small shops, dive bars, and small eateries. The most prominent of these are the bakery Baked and the Red Hook Lobster Pound. Continue up Van Brunt for a look at the Red Hook Container Terminal.

From there, you could head east toward Carroll Gardens for the F or G trains, or back down to the waterfront for a water taxi back to Manhattan.

Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Red Hook, Brooklyn.

View from Manhattan Bridge.

View from Manhattan Bridge.