Travels

NYC – Day 7 Part 1, Beautiful Brooklyn

The plan sort of went out of the window today. I had decided on a Brooklyn brunch, a walk across Prospect Park, then the G train to Queens to visit MoMA PS1. It started out well, I took the 4 train aiming for Grand Army Plaza, but the first one to arrive was an Express so I got off at Atlantic Avenue and walked in the direction of the park. In glorious sunshine, I saw the sights of Prospect Heights. Brooklyn really can be stunning. There seems to be more space than in Manhattan, although I can’t quite pinpoint whether it’s down to lower-rise buildings, wider streets, or the space between houses and the sidewalk.

The leisurely walk meant brunch was a little later than planned, but it turned out more delicious too. I stopped at the place on Vanderbilt that looked the most inviting, the Milk Bar. It had an open door, rustic wooden tables and a flat white on the menu. Apparently it is part-owned by an Australian, which explains the quality of the coffee. The food looked fairly standard, so I ordered a half-size portion (they offer half sizes!) of something called “full eggs”. With avocado, because what isn’t made better by the addition of avocado? The perky Australian waitress took her break at the same time I was eating and had the full size version, and I was kinda jealous. It was a crispy slice of granary toast, with ham, cheese, tomato and avocado, with a soft poached egg. Eminently replicable at home, methinks. And so good I may want to go back.

I had planned just to cut across Prospect Park to get to the train, but it was such a beautiful day that plan was begging to be scrapped. There were people basking in the sunshine (albeit in coats), biking, running, walking dogs and playing softball. Despite the cold, and the carpet of soft dry leaves, it felt like summer. I was almost certainly staying until sunset. The park is undulating, with streams, ponds, bridges, waterfalls and ducks. I like ducks. The winter light coming through the branches of the bare trees was stunning, and polarised glasses only helped accentuate the fiery glow as it landed on my skin.

The one downside to spending the afternoon in the park rather than taking the train over to Queens was I had no idea how to get back to Manhattan. I figured I’d work it out, so got on the first F train and hoped. When I saw a sign for the R, I bolted and then looked a bit foolish walking back and forth a couple of times between the F and R platforms before finally deciding which was the right answer. The subway is definitely more complex than the Tube. Imagine the Northern line further divided at both ends, and much longer. Well, almost every line is like that. And there are a lot more Bank/Monument stations than the regular interchanges, so different lines have differently named stations even if they are actually connected (which you can’t always see from the map). Throw in the Local/Express varieties, and the requirement to know whether where you are headed is further “uptown” or “downtown” than where you currently are, and it makes for a more complicated experience all round.

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