Walk in NYC # 3, from Brooklyn to Chinatown and Little Italy, is the 3rd of my three favorites walks to introduce New York City to newcomers.
It starts in Brooklyn, runs along the East River, crosses the Brooklyn Bridge and reaches Chinatown then Little Italy. It’s a 5 miles walk (from 3 to 4 hours of strolling and taking pictures, more if you stop to eat on your way) that will allow you discover 4 other well-known neighborhoods of the city.
Highlights: Downtown Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights and Promenade, DUMBO, the Brooklyn Bridge, Chinatown, Museum of Chinese in America, Little Italy, TKTS kiosk.
Metro: Jay St. Metro Tech Center, lines A,C,F, R (departure) and Spring St., line 6, or Prince St., lines R (arrival).
Bus: use an app like Citymapper to find the best options with bus #, waiting time, list of stops, and where you are in the city once you’ve boarded. You Metrocard will work and will be valid for transfers to the Metro and other buses, up to two hours. Express buses are more expensive, but you can buy your ticket at the stop. The drivers are generally very helpful!
Good to know: as everywhere in New York, it’s not easy to find restrooms, but there are some on the Brooklyn Promenade and at City Hall Park. Otherwise, try the fast foods and buy a drink there. You’ll be able to sit in the Brooklyn or Manhattan parks. To eat, the pizzerias near the Brooklyn Bridge, on Brooklyn side, are good options, as well as the restaurants in Chinatown.
A: Take the metro to Jay St. One Metro Tech Center and once there, find Jay Street on the right.
At the corner of Myrtle Ave, again on your right, you’ll see a TKTS kiosk much less crowded than those in Manhattan. If you want to buy half-price show tickets for your evening, it’s a good place to do it.
If not, a little before this kiosk, take a passage on your left to reach Borough Hall. You’ll cross it to find Court St. in front of you.
You are now in Brooklyn Heights, one of the most upscale neighborhoods of this borough with its neat brownstones.
B: Your path will take you to Brooklyn Promenade. Take a right on it for beautiful views of the brownstones and their wrought iron balconies on one side, Lower Manhattan on the other.
At Fruit Street Sitting area, continue to Columbia Heights
C: Once you’ve reached Old Fulton St., you’ll be at the limit of DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass).
First option: turn right to go along a series of pizzerias. If it makes you hungry, try Grimaldi, one of the oldest in the city with a queue that can however discourage you (have a look inside anyway, it’s worth it).
From here, continue straight ahead, pass under the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, turn left on Prospect St and find the entrance (which should be indicated if you are lost) to the Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian crossing.
Second option: turn left on Old FultonSt then right on Water St. You’ll go under the Brooklyn Bridge to reach the carousel of Jane at the water edge, then Pebble Beach, two photogenic places where you can also take a break.
From there, find Washington St, it will take you towards the bridge and the entrance of the pedestrian crossing.
D: You are now on the Brooklyn Bridge and it’s well worth the time it will take you to cross it, taking photos, avoiding tourists and cyclists, watching the traffic below you, looking for the love locks on the grates.
E: At the exit of the bridge, go straight to Center St., take it on your right and go along a whole set of imposing administrative buildings until your reach Hogan Pl. Take it on your right again, then cross Columbus Park toward the Pavilion.
You’ll see there ruffled Chinamen playing cards and their wife cluttered with bags full of vegetables bought from local merchants.
Take Mulberry St. on the left and Bayard St. on the right (see if you can find the tea shop, unique) and you will be right in Chinatown.
F: The path indicated on the map is only a possible variant to get you to Bowery St. which you can follow to go to Kenmare St. If you go through Mott St. for exemple, you’ll find a chopstick shop, then the Museum of Chinese in America at 215 Center St. (worth a visit if you have the time and the interest); then an herbalist at 211 Grand St.
In any case, you’ll see lots of exotic grocery shops, cheap restaurants, bakeries filled with often excellent cakes, and souvenir shops.
About these, once you have agreed on a price, take your goods before paying otherwise it may be that once you have given your money, the merchant adds the taxes and refuses to refund you if the practice does not suit you (there are signs indicating taxes, but they are not always visible).
G: Once you are at Kenmare St., turn left, Little Italy is not far and you’ll recognize it by the colors of its flags and its innumerable restaurants.
H: The contrast between the two neighborhoods is radical but if Chinatown really looks like an Asian city, Little Italy is more like a shop window for tourists.
However, the decorations are typical and nothing forces you to stop there to eat (despite all the offers that you’ll get).
Take Mott St. in one direction then Mulberry in the other, between Kenmare St. and Canal St., and you’ll see most of what there is to see.
I: Your trek can now stop at Spring St. Station or Prince St. Station a little further away if you want another option for subway lines.
If you liked the photos of this walk, there are more about NYC at https://citywalks.space.
Before you go, don’t forget your guide and see how to thank him at the bottom of the page. Then enjoy the rest of your day!