We live in the best borough in the world! Instead of spending money on a plane ticket, we decided to take a much needed staycation in Brooklyn. Hotel Williamsburgwas generous to sponsor Greenpointers for a two night stay, while we toured the area. We were tempted to lock ourselves in the hotel room and listen to records all weekend. The gigantic plush king size bed was a main attraction and we found ourselves making giant Xs and saying, “I miss you, where are you?” The window from the bedroom into the bathroom made urinating very interesting and the view of McCarren Park’s red tailed hawk pair was a score! We had an intinerary, not a very ambitious one. The beauty of the staycation is you don’t have to fit it all in because there is always next weekend.
Friday night we took the East River Ferry over to Dumbo for a nostalgic ride on Jane’s Carousel. There isn’t a better view of Brooklyn than from the ferry and there isn’t a better spot for an old timey carousel than under the Brooklyn Bridge, which is housed in a modern glass building. And $2 per ride makes this a great budget attraction. While waiting for Vinegar Hill Houseto open (not a great budget attraction) we visited Shibui Japanese Antiques, a great place to see amazingly crafted wood furniture and objects dating back thousand of years. A walk around Vinegar Hill, the neighborhood, is like going back in time to an old quaint fishing village with old cobblestone streets and that “are you sure we are in NYC?” vibe.
Dinner at Vinegar Hill House is always a pleaser. The cheese plate with salami and quail egg is always amazing, but the stand-out dish was theBucatini with Chorizo Ragú and Seared Octopus. Just get it, you will drool.
We rode our bikes home on the scenic bike path through the Brooklyn Navy Yard and down Kent Ave into Williamsburg, stopping at the former Monster Island building to take a look at the new graffiti and the well cared for feral cat population.
We intended to dance the night away at the Brooklyn Soul Club party at Kinfolk Studios, but once we hit that bed… we fell right to sleep. Waking up in a hotel that is a walk from your home makes packing, or non-packing easy. I wished I remembered my toothbrush until I had a cocktail and the Ricotta Pancakes for brunch atFive Leaves. (Quick comparison: it’s hard to compare the food between Five Leaves and Vinegar Hill House, both have exquisite menus and make me proud I live in Brooklyn, but the service at Five Leaves far exceeds that of Vinegar Hill House. Everyone is a regular and I think that sets apart many Greenpoint establishments.)
Into a taxi and off to massages at Body By Brooklyn in Cobble Hill. The spa had all the unspoken rules that make you feel like you’re doing everything wrong, but the saunas and hot tubs were relaxing, it wasn’t huge and packed with kids like Spa Castle, and our massages were perfection.
What do you do after a massage? Nap in a giant bed and not feel like you’re missing out on crossing things off your vacation check-list. For dinner we met the parental units at Paulie Gee’s for some amazing pizza. The Greenpointer (not because of the name) is a pizza I crave and it always delivers. And no matter where you hail from, down the street or Japan, Paulie will chat with you like a regular and remember you the next time you come in.
Last day we woke up early for a stroll in McCarren Park, then breakfast burritos at Urban Rustic and just in time to make a noon showing of Princess Bride at Nighthawk Cinemas, a full service movie theatre, where the running joke is they should hire little people as waiters. But the satisfaction of an afternoon cocktail while watching Fred Savage on the big screen, eases your pity for the crouching service.
For lunch we hit up Nights & Weekends because I was craving the Croque Signora, the perfect inter-cultural marriage in sandwich form between a Cuban and a Croque Monsieur: pulled pork shoulder, speck, gruyére, mustard & pickles on a perfect brioche bun topped with a fried egg. This is well balanced and perfect to share with the blood orange salad. We had already “checked out” of our sweet hotel room and would spend the evening at home, but traveling there didn’t involve a long car ride or torturous wait at the airport. It was Super Bowl Sunday and we planned on making mac n’ cheese, but fancy, so we headed to the Brooklyn Kitchen. If you’re in Brooklyn, and a cooking obsessed human (or dog, it’s pet friendly), then don’t miss out on this locavore meca. I know the prices can be “holy…!” but the quality of the meats from The Meat Hook is amazing, and it’s fun to look around at all the cool gadgets and vintage cookware.
A perfect end to a perfect staycation was sitting on the couch, truly relaxed from zero travel, with a mound of mac n’ cheese and glass of champagne, courtesy of the Hotel Williamsburg, and thinking that if our wallets wouldn’t burst into tears, we could do this every weekend. Brooklyn rules!