A Day in Columbia Waterfront

If the first thing that comes to mind as you wake is Marlon Brando in the “On the Waterfront,” and this may sound silly to your Manhattan friends, then Columbia Street Waterfront is just something out of the 1950’s film. The piers still have that unmistakably blue-collar appeal, with the series of green cargo unloaders a natural part of the aesthetic of the waterfront. The views and low-key industrial lifestyle are what must have drawn you to this rapidly burgeoning neighborhood.

Brooklyn Bridge Park and Piers 2, 5 and 6

Yeah, it’s technically not in the nabe, but Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6 is just so close (like three blocks away!) that you make it part of morning routine. The pier is state-of-the-art and has hands down the best dog run in New York City. On the weekends, you are likely to come here to grab a couple drinks at Fornino’s just before boarding the Governor’s Island ferry. Today, it’s all about you though, and of course, all about your Golden Retriever simply taking in the fresh air and people (and dog) watching.


Mex Carroll’s Diner

Alright. You may have snuck a cookie on your walk home, but if it was Margaret Palca’s, it surely hasn’t spoiled your appetite. Continue the decadent theme, and head on over to Mex Carroll’s Diner for breakfast. The Mexican diner is possibly the most popular breakfast locale in the area, with over 15 types of omelettes like their Jalapeño Omelette with jalapeño, bacon and onions. But if you know your Mex Carroll’s, you’ll opt for the Chilaquiles, fried tortillas with salsa and scrambled eggs. There’s also an impressive array of Belgian waffles, just so to make your choices more difficult the next time you come.


Carla Hall's Southern Kitchen

All the sports action has burned off those finger-licking Chilaquiles and now you are craving more grub. You heard the neighborhood’s newest culinary gem has opened, so naturally you make you way to Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen. Onwed by a former top chef participant and current TV personality, and the food at the eatery doesn’t disappoint. Delve right into probably the very best fried chicken you will have tasted in Brooklyn. The spot is BBQ-inspired but specializes in chicken and, more importantly, homemade hot sauces.


Bopkat Vintage

Time to shop? Your nabe has the most impressive boutique shops. The most unique is Bopkat Vintage, a female clothing store specializing in Bopkat fashion (read: 1950’s vintage garb.) Even if you don’t buy anything, the shop is definitely a must to browse. The original 1950’s-style clothing is at times so authentic that it may make you feel like you are in a museum.


Scooter Bottega

If you don’t have the budget for a new motorcycle, work your way to Scooter Bottega. Guess what they specialize in? The Bodega has a long line of Vespa’s and plenty of other mini-motorcycle types like Kymco, Setella, Buddy, Blur and Genuine Scooter Company. Even better, Scooter Bottega doubles as a repair shop, and they offer a variety of affordable maintenance plans. For any scooter enthusiast, the Bodega remains their one an only one-stop shop.

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Margaret Palca Bakes

This is what weekly rituals are made of. You and your pup make it to Margaret Palca Bakes for you daily coffee and weekly pastries. Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s a tad early for sweets. But there’s nothing like pastries at Margaret Palca. The long lines there begin early, so this may be just the perfect time to beat the crowd. Also, go with the time-tested: the fresher the baked good –  the better.


Van Voorhees Park

Time get your sport on, so walk a couple blocks over to Van Voorhees Park for your bi-weekly softball game. Nestled right in between bustling Columbia Street and the BQE intersection, the field overlooks the piers. The noise level could get high, but the park is a mini sports complex if you like, since you can make it your home tennis, soccer and basketball court as well.


Freebird Books & Goods

Trend or not, it seems that each Brooklyn neighborhood has its staple indie bookstore. These days, most of the shops have become social communities. You decide to take a dip into your local literary commune. Freebird Books & Goods has created such a following and buzz in the area after starting their Apocalyptic Book Group not so long ago. They offer more than the weekly book groups and writing workshops. There’s also a large selection of bestsellers and hard-to-find reads, and possibly most importantly, plenty of cozy seating to enjoy it all. 


Union Garage NYC

Some say that owning a motorcycle may be your sexiest possession. In fact, motorcycles of any sort (small or large) are the sexy thing in this part of Brooklyn. A quick trip to Union Garage NYC makes a case for that. The shop is filled with motorcycle apparel and accessories, and of course the motorcycles. The salespeople in the shop are true stars! They are patient and helpful – just ask them anything, they are likely to have a (good) answer.

A Night in Columbia Waterfront


Pok Pok NY & Pok Pok Phat Thai

There’s one thing you know the day you move to the Columbia Street Waterfront: you need to make a reservation (well in advance) if you plan to experience Pok Pok NY. Actually, this is really no secret. Everyone in New York City knows. The restaurant is possibly the most popular Northern Thai place in the Northeast, but you finally made it in the small corner restaurant. You dive into the Neua Naam Tok, a spicy flank steak salad and it’s an explosion of flavor. Boom Shakalaka!


Jalopy Tavern

Moments after leaving the Jalopy Theatre, you realize that there’s even the Jalopy Tavern. To appease curiosity and thirst, you enter with much enthusiasm. The rustic bar’s walls are filled with old murals and photographs, and there’s a bluegrass band in full tilt. Yes, please. The atmosphere is inviting so you stay longer for a couple craft beers. The cocktails are equally crafty but not overpriced, as more than half of the customer clientele are students.

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Jalopy Theatre and School of Music

Now that you have satisfied your taste buds, you journey to the Jalopy Theatre and School of Music. The community arts center has become a conglomerate of creativity of sorts. You have heard that the theater and school attracts a slew of folk and bluegrass artists. But you discover that the once small arts center isn’t so small any more. You learn that Jalopy has a vintage instrument store, an Internet radio station and its own record label! But you are here to witness the open mic night. Breathe in, and let it all out.

Words by Arte Vincent

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Erik Serras
Erik Serras
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Residential Division
Office: 718.840.2757
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