Hello Fellow Travelers:
Welcome to our world of adventure, good eating and fine wines. This newsletter provides you with “The Welge Report for Brooklyn & Queens, NY”.
Please share it with your friends, customers and associates. You can also access this information on our blog plus lots of other helpful travel tips at: thewelgereport.com/blog/index.php
Recognition: We extend special thanks to the people who manage and/or own the institutions, museums and restaurants featured in our guides. In some instances we have relied on their descriptions and photos.
Brooklyn & Queens, NY
Birding Opps: Info for our birding friends. Eastern warblers, passerines, waterfowl, raptors plus 270 other species have been observed in Brooklyn.
The Brooklyn Bird Club was founded in 1909 by Dr. Edward Victor. The Club recently helped Prospect Park, a 526 acre urban oasis, to be declared “An Important Bird Area” by the National Audubon Society. Visit (brooklynbirdclub.org) for much more information.
City Birder (http://citybirder.blogspot.com/) is a fun blog with updates on the Red-necked Grebe.
As you would expect the NYC Audubon (nycaudubon.org/go-birding) weighs in with birding sites in all of the boroughs.e
Grape Experience - New York has hundreds of wineries that produce 200 million bottles of wine yearly. Close by are regions that include Long Island (liwines.com) and the Hudson Valley found on a more comprehensive website (newyorkwines.org)
Transportation: Getting around Brooklyn, NY and all of the boroughs is a breeze (mta.info/maps/submap.html)
Shopping: Do you want to buy the Brooklyn Bridge?
Probably not, but George C. Parker sold the Brooklyn Bridge twice a week for 30 years.
Business Information: Here is help in regard to your business: (1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/categories/business.page
Day One: Check out the Brooklyn Museum – W-Su: 11-6, Th: till 10, 200 Eastern Parkway, 718-638-5000.
The Brooklyn Museum, housed in a 560,000-square-foot, Beaux-Arts building, is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the country.
Its world-renowned permanent collections range from ancient Egyptian masterpieces to contemporary art, and represent a wide range of cultures. Their special exhibitions are often controversial and always interesting.
Let’s take a look next door at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden – Tu-F: 8-4:30, Sa,Su: 10-4:30, 150 Eastern Parkway, 990 Washington Avenue.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) has 52 acres that include a number of specialty “gardens within the Garden.”
Plant collections, the Steinhardt Conservatory and the C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum are housed in a three climate-themed plant pavilions .
The Garden has more than 200 cherry trees. The Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden was the first Japanese garden to be created in an American public garden.
It is a blend of the ancient hill-and-pond style and contains a waterfall, a pond, an island, wooden bridges, stone lanterns, a viewing pavilion, a torij, or gateway and a Shinto shrine.
Other specialty gardens at BBG include: the Discovery Garden, designed for young children, the Herb Garden andthe Lily Pool Terrace.
The Native Flora garden is the first of its kind in North America, the Osborne Garden is a 3-acre Italian-style garden and the Rock Garden is built around 18 boulders left behind by the glacier during the Ice Age.
Lunch is at Mayfield – L: Tu-F, D: Nightly, BR: Sa, Su, 688 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn, 347-318-3643.
Start with the oysters (above) or the local fluke ceviche. Next we like to share the grilled octopus with pork belly, white beans and arugula. Enjoy a glass of proseco with either.
Then the whole roasted brook trout with fingerlings and béarnaise or the buttermilk fried quail with spoon bread and collards.
The ’10 Paul Zink pinot blanc is a good fit.
Brooklyn Historical Society – W-Su: 12-5, 128 Pierrepont Street, 718-222-4111.
The Brooklyn Historical Society documents the history of Brooklyn and Long Island from European settlement in the 1600s through to the present day.
Strengths include family paper collections recording Dutch and English settlement on Long Island plus documentation and records of commercial, residential, community and civic development.
They have extensive Civil War era holdings documenting Brooklyn residents involvement in the war.
BHS also holds an extensive collection of ephemera and other materials related to Brooklyn icons such as Coney Island, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Brooklyn Dodgers.
The BHS Fine Art Collection contains approximately 400 paintings and several thousand prints, drawings and other works on paper ranging from the 17th through 20th centuries.
The Photography Collection documents the environments of Brooklyn and Long Island from the 1870s to the present.
An interesting stop is the New York Transit Museum – Tu-F: 10-4, Sa,Su: 11-5 130 Livingston Street, 10th Floor, 718-694-3451.
The New York Transit Museum is the largest museum in the United States devoted to urban public transportation history.
Its galleries feature popular exhibits such as “Steel, Stone, and Backbone” which recounts the tale of building New York City’s 100+ year-old subway system.
Interactive exhibitions such as “On The Streets” provides an in-depth look at New York City’s trolleys and buses.
Cousin Tracy suggests dinner at Bar Corvo – D: Nightly, Br: Sa,Su, 791 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-230-0940.
It’s been a long day so kick back with a finger or two of your favorite beverage and some crispy beef tongue fries, fried spicy chickpeas and rosemary roasted nuts.
For your main try the wild boar spezzatino with baby turnips, carrots, celery, and red onions over polenta or the pork chop with braised kale, horseradish and a creamy polenta.
Your wine is the Produttori del Barbaresco, Barbaresco DOCG ’08. For dessert do the fritters with raspberry jam and crème fraiche.
Day Two: Breakfast is at Marlow & Sons – B,L,D: Daily, 81 Broadway Brooklyn, 718.384.1441.
Your choices include: a scone with crème and jam, a baguette with butter and jam, granola with yogurt and fruit, eggs, greens and meats.
Let’s go contemplate at the Socrates Sculpture Park – Daily: 10-Dusk, 32-01 Vernon Boulevard at Broadway, Long Island City (Queens), 718-956-1819. The photo below is before, wait until you see it now!
Socrates Sculpture Park is the only site in the New York Metropolitan area dedicated to providing artists with opportunities to create and exhibit large-scale sculpture and multi-media installations in an outdoor environment that encourages strong interaction between artists, artworks and the public.
The park’s existence is based on the belief that reclamation, revitalization and creative expression are essential to the survival, humanity and improvement of our urban environment.
Across the street is the Noguchi Museum – W-F: 10-6, Sa,Su: 11-6, 9-01 33rd Road (at Vernon Boulevard), Long Island City, 718.204.7088.
In 1985 Noguchi opened The Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum (now known as The Noguchi Museum) here. The Museum was established and designed by the artist. It marked the culmination of his commitment to public spaces.
It has a serene outdoor sculpture garden, and many galleries that display Noguchi’s work, along with photographs and models from his career.
Time for lunch at Taverna Kyclades – L & D: M-Sa, 33-07 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria, 718-545-8666.
We could not help ourselves despite all of Chef Tracy’s suggestions, and ordered the Fried Calamari as an appetizer. It’s wonderful.
We also shared a small Greek salad with romaine, cucumbers, kalamata olives, onions, tomatoes and feta. For our lunch main we went with the fried whiting and the grilled sardines.
Each came with a choice of these sides: rice, lemon potatoes or horta. Greek wines are a bit of a mystery for us, but we felt the Hatzimichalis Chardonnay went with well with our choices.
When we’re this close to Flushing Meadow where Dee and I met in 1965 at the New York World’s Fair, we have to do a walk about. We have been back a few times to attend the tennis U.S. Open, but that was with thousands of people and a fixed agenda.
We worked at the Illinois Pavilion where Disney’s Lincoln proclaimed liberty 5 times an hour, 10 hours a day to 25,000 visitors a day.
Usually we dined and played on the fairgrounds where there were hundreds of excellent restaurants. Over 27,000 of us worked there every day from all over the world.
Two places that our group ate at outside the gates were Jeante’s, an Italian joint on Northern Blvd, and Mickey’s, a hole in the wall where the specialty was really spicy shrimp served on Wonder bread that was a 3 AM delight.
The Unisphere is still here as is the Queens Museum of Art, home to the Panorama of New York, the New York Hall of Sciences and, of course, the Tennis Center.
Dinner is at Frankies 457 – L & D: Daily, 457 Court Street, Brooklyn, 718-403-0033.
In the beginning there is Frankie’s Antipasto with cured meats, cheeses, veggies and olives. And then Frankie gives us pork braciola marinara (only Th-Su) or squid ink linguini with calamari, mussels, clams, tomatoes and chilis.
Our wine is David Sterza, Valpolicella DOC Superiore Ripasso ’09. For dessert we are served red wine prunes and Mascarpone.
Day Three: Breakfast is at Egg – B & L: Daily, 135 N 5th St, Brooklyn, 718-302-5151.
Homemade buttermilk biscuits with pork sausage, the three egg omelet with broiled tomatoes and hash browns or the Anson Mills (see our 7 Great Sites for Holiday gifts) stone ground grits, eggs and a meat choice are all beyond good.
Since the 1830’s Coney Island has been on a roller coaster – boom da bust, boom da bust. The names of the players involved are a longer list than most movie credits.
Two who come to mind are Robert Moses, who built our NYWF and rearranged the highway systems in the boroughs and Fred Trump, the Donald’s father, plus many other politicians and bankers.
Coney Island may be the only place in world where carnival rides are protected as landmarks. The Wonder Wheel – built in 1918, The Cyclone Rollercoaster – built in 1927 and the infamous Parachute Jump – built for the 1939 NYWF.
It was disassembled and rebuilt but it hasn’t operated since 1968. This is the home of Nathan’s Famous.
Despite it all Coney Island is a great beach with unobstructed sun all day and it still offers lots of family fun.
Another famous place to visit in Brooklyn is the Green-Wood Cemetery – Daily: 7:45-5, 5th Ave and 25th St, 718-768-7300.
Visiting Green-Wood you will discover a peaceful oasis in urban New York and 175 years of history and beautiful landscape.
Green-Wood is 478 spectacular acres of hills, valleys, glacial ponds and paths, and showcases one of the largest outdoor collections of 19th- and 20th-century statuary and mausoleums.
Green-Wood has 560,000 permanent residents, including Leonard Bernstein, Boss Tweed, Charles Ebbets, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Horace Greeley, Civil War generals, baseball legends, politicians, artists, entertainers and inventors. It is a magnet for history buffs and bird watchers.
Historians and you shouldn’t over look the Brooklyn Navy Yard – Bldg 92 – W-Su: 12-6, Carlton and Flushing Ave. at 63 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn, 718-907-5922.
The Brooklyn Navy Yard is a 300-acre site that was established in 1801 as one of the nation’s first five naval shipyards.
The exhibit “Brooklyn Navy Yard: Past, Present and Future” explores contributions made at the Yard to American industry, technology, innovation and manufacturing and the Yard’s impact on labor, politics, education, and urban and environmental planning.
Here you will learn the story of this waterfront site from its use by Native Americans to its role in the American Revolution and from the great naval ships designed and built here to its emergence as the innovative industrial park you see today!
We saved our favorite restaurant for our last dining experience in Brooklyn. Shortly after Stone Park Café – L & D: Daily, 324 5th Ave, Brooklyn, 718-369-0082, opened for business, the New York Times awarded it 2 stars.
Since then it has gotten consistently better. For starters we enjoy the rib slider with quail egg, spinach and house pickled vegetables or the lamb sausage with smoked cranberry beans, lamb bacon and arugula and a mint yogurt vinaigrette.
Share a half bottle of the ’10 Land & Reed cabernet franc with either.
Picking an entrée here is no easy choice. The whole grilled fish stuffed with lemon and herbs is one and the other is the pan seared Chatham cod with bacon, leeks, potatoes and oyster crackers.
To complement our entrées Josh recommends the ’10 Erbaluce, La Rustia, Orsolani Piedmont. Dessert is their chocolate brioche pudding with caramel ice cream.
Until next time, best wishes and happy travels,
Dick & Dee Welge
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