Brooklyn 202 tour
This tour expands on Brooklyn 101, adding adjacent neighborhods. We see row houses, mansions, parks, colleges, and a great sculpture garden.
This extensive tour of neighborhoods in the Brownstone Brooklyn belt combines major segments of the Brooklyn 101 tour (Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights), plus the Fort Greene & Clinton Hill tour and/or the Cobble Hill & Carroll Gardens tour, and/or the Atlantic Ave. & Downtown Brooklyn tour.
Brooklyn tour highlights
We typically meet near Brooklyn's magnificent Grand Army Plaza, the psychic center of Brooklyn. We'll see some marvelous architecture and get a feel for Park Slope, the city's most livable neighborhood ( according to NY magazine), an epicenter of the borough's gentrification yet also boasting the country's largest co-operative grocery.
(Alternatively, we can also do the route "backwards," starting in DUMBO/Fulton Ferry, and making our way deeper into Brooklyn.)
We'll visit Brooklyn's most famous park, Prospect Park, a cousin to and contrast with Olmsted & Vaux's earlier Central Park, and see the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch. On Saturdays, there's a Greenmarket outside the park.
If it's open, we'll step into the Brooklyn Public Library's Central Library. We'll continue past the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (maybe go in) and see the Brooklyn Museum's imposing facade and possibly enter the vestibule
We subway to Atlantic Terminal and explore Fort Greene (row houses, arts, Spike Lee's HQ) and possibly its neighbor, Clinton Hill, including the Pratt Institute and its magnificent sculpture garden. (Note: the Pratt campus is currently closed to visitors, so we'll see it from the street.) Both have great architecture and trees.
(Alternative: skip much or all of Fort Greene/Clinton Hill and instead go to Cobble Hill & Carroll Gardens, two charming but very much not undiscovered neighborhoods near Downtown Brooklyn, which have historic churches, good bakeries, and tree-lined streets.)
We then travel by subway to the institutional heart of Brooklyn, home of Borough Hall, Brooklyn's old City Hall, and see part of Downtown Brooklyn: older skyscrapers, new developments, and an array of governmental buildings.
Our route takes us into Brooklyn Heights, the city's first historic district and still a vital residential neighborhood. At the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, we find glorious views of the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge. After a look at Brooklyn's most famous church, we descend to Fulton Ferry and adjacent DUMBO for a quick survey. There are numerous options to snack and eat. And you're near the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge.
The scope of the tour is variable: I have conceptualized it as a 4-5-hour tour, building on the 3-hour Brooklyn 101, but it can be shorter (if we cut some things), or longer.
Distance from Midtown Manhattan: 25-35 minutes, by subway
Basic tour length: 4.5+ hours (see fees), longer if we stop for lunch
Starting place: B/Q to Seventh Avenue, 2/3 to Grand Army Plaza; can also start at Brooklyn Museum/Botanic Garden or Atlantic Terminal
Ending place: Varies, but typically near Fulton Ferry
Highlights: History, architecture, waterfront views, parks, arts institutions, civic life
Before tour: Visit Brooklyn Museum or Brooklyn Botanic Garden
After tour: Eat in Fulton Ferry/DUMBO: ice cream, pizza. Walk Brooklyn Bridge. Take NYC Ferry to Wall Street, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Long Island City, 34th Street
Potential tour extensions with me: DUMBO, Williamsburg, Crown Heights, Brooklyn Bridge, Atlantic Avenue
Why I like leading this tour: Brooklyn is still too big to capture in four or five hours, but this puts a lot together in a vigorous walk. We'll earn our lunch/snacks!