Just a quick trip over one of three bridges (the Brooklyn, Manhattan or Williamsburg) from Manhattan is Brooklyn, New York City's most populous borough, with some 2.5 million residents (as of a 2006 census). Long a haven for immigrant groups of all backgrounds, Brooklyn has been increasingly gentrified in recent years but remains a cornucopia of hundreds of different ethnicities and nationalities scattered over a network of distinct neighborhoods. There's no time to cover all of them here, but a few are of particular interest to visitors to New York City.
Right over the Brooklyn Bridge is Brooklyn Heights, with its quiet tree-lined streets, stately brownstones, and beautiful Promenade winding along the East River, and DUMBO (the name stands for "Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass), with pizza favorite Grimaldi's, the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, and the adjacent Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park. Just past Brooklyn Heights sits so-called "BoCoCa" (a combination of three neighborhoods: Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, and Carroll Gardens), whose central artery is the boutique-, restaurant-, and bar-lined Smith Street. A little further south is Red Hook, a little out of the way but worth a visit for restaurants like Alma (with its spectacular skyline views) and the superb street-cart food at the Red Hook Ball Fields in the warm weather. Further into the southern part of the borough is Park Slope/Prospect Heights, where visitors can stroll through sprawling, inviting Prospect Park, visit the Brooklyn Museum and Brooklyn Botanic Garden, dine at neighborhood favorites like Franny's and Applewood and take in live music at Southpaw and Barbès.
Williamsburg, further north, offers a different but equally inviting experience, with a network of galleries and a great selection of restaurants and other nightlife. Noteworthy destinations include Dressler, Fette Sau, and Aurora. For a more kitschy look at Brooklyn, take the subway all the way out to Coney Island, with its old-time amusement park, wide boardwalk, and of course, Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs.
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