Cobble Hill & Carroll Gardens tour
Shopping, food, row-house streets, historic architecture, Italian flavor, a new restaurant row, and charm in the shadow of downtown Brooklyn.
Two row-house neighborhoods below Brooklyn Heights deserve attention in the same tour. After all, they were both once part of the vast undifferentiated mass once known as South Brooklyn. Indeed, if you look closely at the bank that has now become Trader Joe's, you'll see signage indicating South Brooklyn Savings Bank.
We walk down the major shopping streets (Smith Street, the new Brooklyn's first restaurant row, and Court Street), a look at the gardens that gave Carroll Gardens its name, and the opportunity to stop in some unusual shops and traditional bakeries, signs of the extant Italian-American influence.
The neighborhoods include some classic churches, a church turned synagogue and a multiple churches converted into housing, two historic districts, some progressively innovative housing for the working class, and the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE), which cut a huge gash in the district.
We dip into Boerum Hill and see one of Brooklyn's most delightful art projects.
This is a terrific area for snacking and/or lunch, including opportunities for coffee, baked goods, cheese, tacos, and more. There's also great dessert.
Beyond the new cafes and restaurants, there are some classic outlets reflecting the longstanding Italian-American community, an oasis of sorts, as rents have risen so much that the first wave of gentrifying businesses have been pushed out.
Distance from Midtown Manhattan: 20-30 minutes
Basic tour length: 2.5 hours (see fees)
Starting place: Varies, but typically near Bergen Street/Smith Street (F/G train)
Ending place: Typically near Smith/9th Street stop (F/G)
Highlights: History, architecture, shopping, neighborhood charm
Before tour: Visit Brooklyn Heights or Transit Museum
During/after tour: numerous options to snack
Potential tour extensions with me: Brooklyn Heights & Bridge, Brooklyn 101, DUMBO, Atlantic Avenue