Brooklyn Wanders

Sabina Spiteri wanders through Brooklyn on her recent trip out of #deepestdarkestsuburbia
Brooklyn Bridge
Image by David Spiteri (Instagram: @dgspiteri)

Whenever I think of Brooklyn, I think of Kate Spade, you know “Cobble Hill’, “Cedar St”, “Cameron St” … or maybe, it’s because I’m slightly obsessed with handbags (and shoes). However, whilst I’ve heard of these places by living my life vicariously through handbags – interesting idea – I’ve not been to Brooklyn, save the once or twice for lunch and a visit to the beautiful Jane’s Carousel in 2015 – an absolute must, by the way. We have walked the Brooklyn Bridge, something we thought we should do during our last days of our New York City (NYC) expat stint. We walked it and then took the subway straight back. Sorry Brooklyn, how little we thought of you!

This time, we were not skipping Brooklyn

This trip to NYC, we decided we should explore Brooklyn a bit more – like a whole day more. Not a lot of thought or research went into it. Coming from Midtown East, we took the No.4 subway to Union Square and swapped to the L train for Brooklyn. The Man, quite the keen photographer had been reading The New York Photographer’s Travel Guide: The Best Places to Photograph from a Professional Photographer, Tour Guide, and Lifelong New Yorker by James Maher and decided he wanted to explore the area around Morgan Avenue Subway Station. It was there we alighted. Note, not a spot for tourists, but definitely go if you’re into street art. I’m not, but I knew it was where I needed to be when I found Mike Brady’s wood paneled car!

Brooklyn Brady's Car

Hey Mike Brady! I found your car!

Seinfeld art. Pic by @dgspiteri

Topical.. pic by @dgspiteri

If you have the time during your wanders, I’d love you to stop for a coffee at the Swallow Café (49 Bogart St, Brooklyn, NY 11206) or indulge in some fine chocolate at Fine and Raw. I’ve also read that Roberta’s Pizza (where we found Mike Brady’s car – sorry I’m still pretty happy about that find!) is a bit of an institution. It may be a good lunch stop. And if you go or have been, drop in a review in the comments below, I’d love to know!

Swallow Cafe, Brooklyn

The best shop in the world

Next stop, coffee! We hiked it back to Bedford Avenue, a bit more civilized! Just outside the subway station though, I honestly found THE. BEST. STORE. IN. THE. WORLD. Aptly named Mother of Junk! Honestly, I could spend the whole day here! Sifting through, well, junk!! There were bedpans, dirty jars, old assorted buttons and badges, marbles, suitcases, you name it, they’ve got it! AND OMG, I kid you not, random, discarded photos of random people. Seriously, how could you not want that?! How fabulous! If we were still living in NYC, I’d be carting out these gorgeous vintage suitcases (a bargain at USD$40) stacked up at the front of the store and a massive bell shaped vase (USD$10!), medicine bottles… and just ….I don’t know, tonnes of stuff – ok maybe not the bedpans! I lost the Man who was deep in a tower of ties from the 60s and 70s – head spinner!  I LOVED IT ALL! Anyway I forgot about my coffee – insane right? That’s how lost I was in this shop!

Mother of Junk

Who needs one of these?

Box of marbles anyone? Remember when these were all the rage in primary school?

Best find ever! Random photos!

Can someone bring these to deepestdarkestsuburbia for me please?

There’s a Toby’s Estate for all you Aussies. I’m sure the coffee was great, but the place was too hip for me. I’m a bit closer to 50 than the people there and not carting a Macbook Pro, iPad or hipster gadget. We decided to keep walking – it was buzzy though, people spilling out onto the footpath buzzy. I like my coffee moments a little quieter. Never fear, there are tonnes of independent coffee shops to experience in the area. Go explore!

(More) shopping

As you walk on, besides people watching whilst meandering these streets, there are some fab shops to stumble upon and indulge in as well as a feast of cafés and brunch or lunch options.

My favourites:

  • BAGGU – for reusable grocery bags with funky prints. They do ship worldwide! I’ve used mine for years and gifted some too. In Singapore, you can buy these from Read Shan Shan Yap’s interview here.
  • Mociun – Beautiful ceramics and textiles. Take it all home!
  • Goorin Bros Hat Shop – Go on! You need a hat! I know you do. And yes, you need those feathers to go with it too!

Goorin Bros Hat Shop

Decorate your new hat!

Food, glorious food!

We popped into Sweet Chick because we all need posh fried chicken for lunch. With waffles to boot! (Hello big bottom of mine.) I’ve never had fancy waffles before either, and by fancy, I mean flavoured. I never thought you could! Bacon-cheddar waffles, this is exactly why I need to go to bootcamp. It was all deep-fried goodness. For those who know me well, this is my heaven! The Man had a very tasty deep-fried something or other in a sandwich and a mountain of fries. It was all good. Another lunch option I had wanted to explore in Brooklyn but never got the time to do is Sunday in Brooklyn – how many lunches can one have in a day? Oh don’t tempt me! Let me know how it is if you get a chance to visit!

Dear God! Look at all that deep fried goodness!

One day is not quite enough

We walked down to the East River State Park after our fat-laden and delicious “I need to come back to try the Sweet Chick bucket” lunch. The park is another fabulous place for photos, particularly at night and it looked like a great place to stop in summer with an ice cream, a picnic (or a babka from Northside Bakeryoh dear god, how Jerry Seinfeld!). There is quite a lot of construction going on here. Hotels being built, I was told by a security guard walking by. Might be a nice idea in the future to be based in this vicinity for further exploring and something different.

It was a great day wandering through this small area of Brooklyn. I didn’t feel I could quite tick Brooklyn off yet though! Maybe another day or two in the future. We had a fabulous Spring day here. Shorts weather, the Man and I like to say and we have not experienced many “shorts weather” days in London! The sun was out, it was warm and just so pleasant to be out walking.

Brooklyn, I’ll be back!




Sabina, originally from Australia, has lived in London, NYC, Singapore and now resides in Surrey, deepest darkest surburbia, UK. She packed her entire belongings up in a ski bag nearly twenty years ago to do the “backpacking thing” in London and never went back home. She is now chasing the dream as a wannabe writer in the deepest of deep, Surrey. Sabina is passionate about coffee, food, exploring cities and skiing.
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