Lay of the Land
Brooklyn is New York City's most populous borough. At 71 square miles, it's also a tad unwieldy, stretching from the East River all the way out to the Atlantic Ocean. The zones you're most likely to visit—Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope, Cobble Hill, and Fort Greene—are all located within 20 or so minutes from Lower Manhattan. Each neighborhood has its own distinct feel and subway stop. Downtown proper, peppered with high-rises, offers little in the way of attractions. In general, hit up greater Williamsburg for the kinds of cutting-edge displays of hip that no longer exist in Manhattan. To the south, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, and Park Slope are sedate, living embodiments of the "Brownstone Brooklyn" lifestyle. Hop aboard a double-decker to get a feel for the lay of the land—several companies operate a "Brooklyn Loop," which traverses the fabled Brooklyn Bridge and runs through Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, and Prospect Park (www.coachusa.com/newyorksightseeing).
WHEN TO GO
New York boils in summer and freezes in winter, but both extremes are quite bearable if you're well prepared. The advantages of humid, hot summertime include all the outdoor events Brooklyn hostsespecially the Prospect Park Bandshell concerts. Also, many Brooklynites, like Manhattan residents, get out of town on weekends, leaving you the run of the hippest restaurants. Wintertime is nice for the snow, which doesn't get quite as disgusting, sludgy, and black as Manhattan's, and for holiday decorations and atmosphereand shopping. But the nicest seasons are late spring and fall, with plenty of cultural events and pleasantly balmy weather
HOW TO GET THERE
The New York area airports are JFK (for international flights and some domestic), LaGuardia (for domestic), and Newark, NJ. The latter is less convenient if you're coming directly to Brooklyn. From Manhattan, it's easy to get anywhere in the borough via subway. Pick up a free map from any station booth.
Brooklyn lies across the East River from Manhattan and is accessible via seven subway lines (www.mta.info). A cab from Union Square in Manhattan to Grand Army Plaza will cost you around $15, to Brooklyn Heights $12, and to Williamsburg $15. Intra-Brooklyn transportation can be a bit trickier, as cabs are often hard to come by. Call a car service in a pinch. Northside (207 Bedford Ave.; 718-387-2222) is your best bet in Williamsburg; Cobble Hill Car Service (269 Court St.; 718-643-1113) serves the areas around Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill.
Brooklyn Tourism and Visitors Center
Brooklyn Borough Hall
209 Joralemon Street
Tel: 718 802 3846