I had visited New York before back in 2010. No wait, let me rephrase that. I had visited Manhattan before back in 2010.
When I was 18, I had just gotten my first proper job in my local supermarket and decided to spend my first pay packet on a deposit for New York City. I was young, naive and was focused solely on ticking the big sites off my bucket list: Central Park, Rockefeller Centre, NBC Studios, The Natural History Museum, a Mets game. We done it all.
This time around, I was determined to explore a little further. This included getting to know Brooklyn a little better – even if it was just dipping my toes into one area: Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO.
With my expert pre-planning skills, I thought we could kill two birds with one stone and see DUMBO as well as walk along the Brooklyn Bridge back into the city. Perfect.
We had touched down at JFK around 2pm on the Saturday afternoon, only to rush around to get to the New York City FC match at Yankee Stadium later that night. We hit the hay as soon as we got back to our hotel after the game, readying ourselves for a Sunday in DUMBO.
Trying to get THAT photo
Ok yes I am a tourist and yes I’m going to get that icon photo in DUMBO. This street view has made an appearance throughout the entertainment industry, including transcending itself as Dan Humphrey’s loft in Gossip Girl. But my ultimate favourite has to be Once Upon a Time in America (it’s on the front cover!). Such an epic movie, you need to see it.
I was worried the street would be crowded by the time we got the subway down around 11am. It wasn’t too bad though, we managed to grab a few snaps and walk around a little, taking in the sheer size of the Manhattan Bridge.
We also managed to walk around to the little rocky beach in DUMBO Park. You can get amazing views of both the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, as well as Downtown Manhattan across the East River. And if you are lucky, you might also spot an Instagram model shoot and a wedding shoot just like we did!
Brooklyn Flea Market
Our morning had mostly consisted of taking photos, posing and staring at the awe-inspiring views of Brooklyn and Manhattan. So, it was time to do a bit of [my kind] of shopping – at the flea market!
I had heard of the flea market while researching things to do in New York on Pinterest, and it immediately caught my eye. I love exploring the alternative side to cities, and this sounded right up my street.
It was everything I imagined and more. DUMBO stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, and the market was exactly that. The stalls were overflowing with a random mix of vintage clothing, photos, cameras, comics, music, toys and everything else you can imagine from a 90’s bedroom.
Nothing was orderly and everything was mixed up. If you love rummaging for a gem or digging for a bargain, this is the place to be. I was in heaven! There was just so much bric-a-brac laying on makeshift tables, in boxes, on top of shelves and even leaning against the bridge wall itself. What made it even more authentic was that low groan of trains rumbling by overhead!
We picked up a few things, including a vintage Spiderman comic book as a gift and some iron-on USA patches for my backpack!
The stalls seemed to spill out over and around the street. But as you furthered from the overpass, the stalls seemed to merge in with locally brewed coffee stands and handmade food. Bliss. Just what I needed after an hour of sifting through vintage goods.
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge
As I mentioned, we were keen to kill a few birds with one stone so next on our bucket list was walking the Brooklyn Bridge. The Brooklyn Bride is one of the oldest road bridges in the US and connects Brooklyn with Manhattan across 1,825m of pure suspension.
I wanted to cross the bridge as early as possible to avoid crowds and rush hour traffic (even though is was a Sunday!). I would say this was semi-successful. The bridge would’ve been a lot quieter if people didn’t stop every three feet for photos. I must admit I did stop to take photos but was respectful of others taking photos or those just cycling or walking through. I could see a lot of locals getting annoyed!
Nevertheless it was another amazing experience ticked off our bucket list!
We also decided to walk into the city (rather than out of it) so we could get amazing views of lower Manhattan and the downtown skyscrapers. I would highly recommend this route but try to go as early as possible so you don’t feel pressured to keep moving. Ending in the city also meant that we could walk straight to the 9/11 Memorial to book our museum tickets for later in the week.
If you liked this post, see what I got up to at the Natural History Museum!
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