With its Empire State Building, world-famous museums and incredible shopping, it’s easy to see why visitors to New York City often limit themselves to Manhattan. In the process, visitors are also limiting their New York experience; the attitude, the food, the diversity, the history, the culture – it’s all in Brooklyn, and you’d be crazy to think you’ve really seen New York without making your way across its iconic bridge. Fuhgeddaboudit!
CitySights NY’s Brooklyn Tour is a perfect introduction to the largest and most populous of all of the boroughs for the uninitiated. Picking passengers up in lower Manhattan, the double-decker bus makes its way along the east side and over the Manhattan Bridge. Why not the famous Brooklyn Bridge? Well, for one thing, the Brooklyn Bridge is the most beautiful of the three river crossings and you can actually see and photograph it from its slightly less attractive sister bridge. Another reason is more boring—buses (and other commercial vehicles) aren’t actually allowed on it.
There’s no better view of Manhattan than from Brooklyn and passengers are given a magnificent photo op when the bus cruises along the East River just west of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. The South Street Seaport, the emerging One World Trade Center and the Woolworth Building are just a few of the magnificent buildings on display.
Once in Brooklyn proper, the tour really kicks into gear. The borough’s rich cultural diversity is well represented on one of its major thoroughfares, Atlantic Avenue. Antique shops rub shoulders with Middle-Eastern markets and hipster boutiques.
People don’t really think of Brooklyn as a particularly green place, but the incredible oasis that is Prospect Park should cure anyone of that thinking. With 585 acres of fields that are home to ponds, forests, rolling meadows, bike paths, an antique carousel, seasonal activities, concerts and even a zoo, visitors could spend a week at the park and still not experience everything it has to offer. Conceived as a memorial to the defenders of the Union in the Civil War, the elaborately carved Soldiers and Sailors Arch at Grand Army Plaza is the gateway to the park. On the ground, bold statues surround the massive arch, including a bust of President John F. Kennedy. No tour of the park would be complete without a look at the Parade Ground, where baseball legends Joe Torre and Sandy Koufax got their starts. Nearby attractions include the Brooklyn Public Library, housed in a 1941 Art Moderne building; the 52-acre Brooklyn Botanic Garden, with its Japanese Hill-and-Pond garden; and the Brooklyn Museum, known for its Egyptian and feminist art collections.
Surrounding the park are incredible mansions and stately apartment buildings. Not surprisingly, these pricey abodes, as well as the nearby brownstones lining the streets of Park Slope, are home to some of the city’s – and world’s – elite. Keep your eyes peeled; you never know who you might see jogging into the park.
After a visit to Flatbush Avenue – home to Junior’s and its world’s finest cheesecake – CitySights NY’s Brooklyn Tour takes you back to Manhattan, where passengers can take stock of what they saw and plan their next excursion across the water.
As of April 1, 2013, pre-recorded narration is also available in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Mandarin, Russian, Japanese, Korean and Hebrew.
Approximately two hours.
Good for kids?
This is an entertaining hour-and-a-half long tour of Brooklyn, but there’s no hop-on/hop-off option, so toddlers may get a little restless.
Did you know?
Brooklyn is sometimes known as the “Borough of Churches,” because it has three times as many religious institutions and organizations as Manhattan.
Until 1898, Brooklyn was its own city. Today, if it was its own city, it would be the fourth largest city in the country.
Fredrick Law Olmstead designed both Central Park and Brooklyn’s beautiful Prospect Park. Like many Brooklynites, Olmstead preferred the former.
Brooklyn is now the second most expensive place to live in the country. The first? Manhattan, naturally.
Brooklyn Tour Pickup Hours and Location Information