Brooklyn Adventures

Coney Island boardwalk

If you've been to New York City, but never left Manhattan then you are really missing out. Exploring New York's boroughs is the best way to see the non-touristy side of the city and uncover hidden gems which will make you never want to leave!

So jump on the F Train and let's go!

Subway F train in New York heading to Brooklyn

My uncle, aunt and cousin had a four-storey brownstone in Brooklyn for my entire childhood, and we spent a lot of time there when we visited America, from Australia. They had a garden, that's right a garden in New York! Sure it was about the size of my current bedroom, but it was a green space filled with plants, bugs for my cousin and I to collect, and a swing set! I remember running outside to try and catch the first snowflakes on my tongue at Christmas time, and trips down to Terrace Bagels for the best bagels you'll find...and I do mean anywhere in the world. Had my family not moved to upstate New York I'm sure I would have moved in with them the second I finished school in Australia (whether they asked me to or not)!

Terrace Bagels in Brooklyn

So needless to say I have a real soft spot for Brooklyn. I'm a little torn about it's relatively new hipsterfication because it means prices have increased and I'm not sure I'm cool enough to blend in there now. But on the plus side, there is even more fantastic food, more art galleries and cool museums than you could poke a stick at, and some pretty fantastic boutique shopping.

One of my favorite places to visit is the Brooklyn Art Library. Each year they do a project called the Sketchbook Project where artists from around the world fill a sketchbook and send it to live in the Brooklyn Art Library. You can check out people's sketchbooks like any regular library and browse through all the wonderful artwork. And if you'd like to peek inside some of the sketchbooks I have submitted over the years, head over to: blog.brownpaperbunny.com

Sketchbook Project at the Brooklyn Art Library

Around the Art Library you'll find loads of cute shops and great restaurants too, so spend some time wandering around.

Then, if you're in the mood for some grungy, old-world amusement make your way down to Coney Island. It received some damage during Hurricane Sandy but seems to be back up and running now. So walk along the boardwalk, try your hand at some games, or stop to see the mermaid in freak alley.

Freak Alley at Coney Island Brooklyn New York

Recently I decided to visit Coney island for the first time, and jumped on the train only to meet a young Puerto Rican couple who were taking their very large boa-constrictor and diamond python down to make some money selling photos to tourists. We got talking about all the poisonous snakes in Australia and I ended up spending the day with them, carrying one of their snakes as we walked up and down the boardwalk. I find that I often have more adventures when I travel by myself because I am  forced out of my comfort zone and don't have a friendly side-kick or travel partner to rely on. If you've never traveled by yourself I definitely recommend it, even if you just play tourist in your own town. You might learn some things about yourself.

Snakes on Coney Island Brooklyn New York

Diamond python at Coney Island Brooklyn New York

Before heading back to Manhattan, make sure you stop to eat some ice-cream at the Brooklyn Ice-Cream Factory and walk through the parks along the river and take in the beautiful views of the city.

Brooklyn Ice Creamery under the Brooklyn Bridge, New York

Brooklyn Ice Creamery, Brooklyn, New York

Views of New York Skyline and Brooklyn Bridge.

Then, ditch the subway and walk back to Manhattan over my favorite bridge in the world, the Brooklyn Bridge. It has such a rich history (read more here) and offers beautiful views of the city.

Brooklyn Bridge, New York

In this photo you can just make out the Statue of Liberty on the left-hand side.

Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty from the Brooklyn Bridge New York.

View of the Manhattan bridge and the Empire State Building from the Brooklyn Bridge.

View of the Manhattan bridge and Empire State Building from the Brooklyn Bridge

So, if you're heading to New York before the weather starts to cool down why not do some exploring through Brooklyn, you'll be pleasantly surprised. Check out Instagram for more photos: www.instagram.com/sweetdivergence