Arriving in New York and exploring Brooklyn

After our short break in Dusseldorf we got a flight to NYC which was to be the last stop on this adventure.  We flew from Germany as we wanted to use our Avios points that we’d been collecting and the taxes that you pay are *much* less if you don’t depart from the UK.  So we took advantage of that and flew with Air Berlin to NYC.

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Alex excited in our first NYC cab!

New York, especially at Christmas time was a huge dream for us and something I don’t think we’d have ever considered if it weren’t for the fact that we landed an amazing house sit for a month on Staten Island!  Our sit didn’t start until 2 days before Xmas so we had a few days to explore and so we decided that we’d have a couple of nights in Brooklyn and a night in Manhattan before heading to the suburbs that is Staten Island!

We managed to find a really nice apartment in Brooklyn in the Bed-Stuy area using AirBNB.  It was a one bedroom basement flat and it was really reasonably priced.  We arrived and went straight to bed, hoping to not suffer too much from jet lag.

Our first day saw us explore the area and get some food in.  It’s always interesting to find where best to buy food – there wasn’t anything that great nearby so we ended up in one of those convenience stores that seem to have a little of everything, including some groceries.  We managed to find some pasta and sauce and some cereal to keep us going!

brooklyn apartment steps
outside our Brooklyn apartment

Our first day out in Brooklyn also saw us experience our first (unfortunately not the last) bit of racism directed towards us.  I didn’t personally take much notice, but it really riled James and got him angry.  As we were walking around someone shouted at us about being white in the neighbourhood.  Just a passing comment, not a direct confrontation, but not nice in any case.

The area that we were in was certainly not a tourist area and seemed like a poor neighbourhood.  I’m glad we got to see what it was like, but I was also glad it was only for a couple of nights!

The area that we stayed in was also close to the subway so we went in one day for our first view of Manhattan, but I’ll write about that next time.

Before we left Brooklyn we decided to go along to a flea market to explore another little area.  It was a little bit of a walk, but we enjoyed walking past all the brownstone buildings especially with their Christmas decorations up.

The flea market seemed like it was in a much more upmarket and trendy area than where we stayed, definitely had a different vibe about the place.  I loved looking round at all the vintage items for sale and wished I could have brought it all home with me!  Only thing was I didn’t have a home which is why I bought very little!

Brooklyn flea market
Brooklyn flea market

Just after we walked back to our apartment and were safe inside watching some (crazy) american telly we heard loads of sirens outside.  We didn’t think anything of it until we heard on the news later on that two policemen were shot and killed – it was probably about 5 blocks away from our apartment!

Brooklyn was certainly an eye opener for us, it was raw and blunt and probably not what most people go to New York to see and certainly not what spending all your night in Manhattan would be like!  I like travel for us to be more than the sights, but Brooklyn was an experience for sure!


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