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Six Reasons to Take the L Train to Brooklyn

Thanks to Girls (Lena Dunham’s Hannah lives in Greenpoint) and the opening of the Barclays Center, home to the Brooklyn Nets, Brooklyn is on everybody’s radar. One time Brooklynite Suzanne Bearne shares six reasons why you should hop on the L train to Brooklyn when you’re next in Manhattan.

A treasure trove of independent shops

Among the overwhelming number of hipsters and the warehouses-turned-cafes full of twentysomethings hunched over their MacBook Airs, Williamsburg’s main thoroughfare, Bedford Avenue, brings you a cool collection of irresistible boutiques. From the delightfully named bookshop Spoonbill & Sugartown (which featured in Girls) to cooking equipment heaven Whisk, and notebooks and candles at cute jewellery and gifts store Catbird, you’ll soon be dishing out your dollars.

Peruse one of New York’s coolest markets

Brooklyn is known for its cool markets so get thee to Williamsburg’s waterfront to check out Brooklyn Flea, a regular weekend market with jewellery, art and craft stalls. The New York Times describes the market as “One of the great urban experiences in New York” and admittedly the market is also superb for people watching. And what’s that over the water? Yes, the market comes with the stellar backdrop of Manhattan’s skyline.

Sample the local beer

Brooklyn may be awash with stylish cocktail bars but the borough also serves up a much-loved craft brewer in the form of Brooklyn Brewery in Williamsburg. During my last stint there, my guide, beer enthusiast Dan shared the story of how the producer of draft ales and beer was founded in 1987, adding “there were a whole less moustaches and coffee shops then”. Swirl around the delicious brown stuff in your glass before sampling it and soon enough you may come out feeling a little tipsy.

Tasting the local food

Brooklyn is wonderfully brimming with fantastic restaurants. A trip to this borough isn’t complete without stopping by at Roberta’s – a much-hyped about pizza restaurant, known for its delicious wood-fired pizzas. And then there's the Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour. Stopping off at Grimaldi's and L&B Spumoni Gardens (both Brooklyn institutions) you'll sample some of the best pizzas on the planet. Find out more here.

Happening nightlife

From swanky cocktail bars and grungy dives to small theatres, Brooklyn is abundant in its choice of places to head out to on an evening. For live music, head to the Music Hall of Williamsburg, where the likes of James Blake and Grimes have played. For something a little more fancy, perch yourself around the wooden bar at oyster house and cocktail bar Maison Premiere and watch the bartenders dressed in their smart black and white uniform create tasty concoctions.

Watch the Nets score a hoop

Nowadays a trip to Brooklyn wouldn’t be complete without catching a basketball game at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Be like a Brooklyn-ite and chant and jump up and down with the crowd when the Nets score.

Make it happen with your own holiday to New York.

Written by Suzanne Bearne

Suzanne Bearne is a freelance journalist specialising in retail, fashion, small businesses and travel. She’s also a travel blogger and can be found blogging at and tweeting at @sbearne.

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