Translated, the seal of Brooklyn means “Strength in Unity” or at least that is what they told me because I don’t speak Dutch. Brooklyn is the most populated borough in New York with about 2.6 million people. If it was it’s own city it would rank as one of the most populous in the nation. Which sounds like a trivial thing to say, but significant in that Brooklyn was at one point it’s own city. In fact, established by the dutch in 1645, it predates the island of Manhattan.
Brooklyn became a borough of New York City on January 1, 1898, about 15 years after the famous Brooklyn Bridge was built. As a borough Brooklyn is definitely part of New York City, but it also has a distinct feel that keeps it’s own identity. Kind of gritty, kind of hipster, Brooklyn is a Borough that feels lived in. Not to say that people don’t live in the other boroughs, but you feel it more in Brooklyn. It was in Brooklyn that I saw more people in the parks, in the stores, and on their stoops talking to each other. Lots of talking, in lots of different languages.
On almost every corner there is a deli. The deli is like a 7/11 in that is meant for convenience food, but they make it to order for you hot or cold. Some have tables and chairs where you can sit but most food is meant for take out. In between the corner delis you will find small restaurants and trendy coffee shops. Also, in the mix you will find plenty of parks (that are almost always attached to a public school) and warehouses (where you buy stuff that is not food).
Part of the metro goes through Brooklyn but the main form of transportation is the elevated trains that go through all 69 square miles. The most famous locations in Brooklyn are the bridge and Coney Island, but also important are the continental plaza (where Washington regrouped after his defeat) and the artsy Williamsburg.
Brooklyn was our “home” base for our New York trip. We stayed at the Bklyn (no, I spelled that right) House Hotel. It was I would describe as a hipster hotel. The rooms were a bit small, but it had cool graffiti (urban) type art throughout the hotel. It took us about an hour to get to anywhere in Manhattan (the main island) via the elevated train. It cost us about $40 a day less to stay in Brooklyn over Manhattan. Denise said she felt safe and enjoyed going over the bridge every day.