I set out for Brooklyn looking for a change of pace, as I have often done during this illustrious New York City summer. What I found felt like a whole different world.
The first month in this great, wonderful city has granted me a wealth of opportunities to explore and discover. Brooklyn’s actually been involved in that equation on a number of occasions, whether it was merely heading in the direction of the borough on the Brooklyn Bridge only to turn back around after taking a step or two on the far side, or for a more lasting stay as part of my Catholic Church project that I’m completing.
Finding St. Augustine Catholic Church for Mass on a recent Sunday placed me in the heart of Brooklyn – or perhaps more accurately, one of Brooklyn’s hearts. I got off of my subway train at Bergen Street, in the Park Slope area and near one of Brooklyn’s larger hubs. I wasn’t aware of this at the time; however, because of Brooklyn’s unique and neighborly feel.
The time I spent exploring some of Brooklyn’s central regions that pleasant
afternoon hit me with a constant comparison point – which, to me, felt like a mixture of hometown Columbia and the neighboring Big Apple, taking the absolute best of both contrasting locations. I felt comfortable and independent in Brooklyn’s calm streets, compared to sometimes feeling trapped at especially busy points during a normal weekday on Manhattan’s bustling speed. I was greeted several times by passerby (is this the Midwest after all?) and couldn’t help but smile as I passed through quaint and friendly shopping and residential areas.
Before returning to Manhattan, I had to check out a spot I’d admired from afar. Brooklyn Bridge Park, on the far western edge of Brooklyn along the East River and directly South of its namesake bridge, was beckoning through its picturesque location. The small park across from the tall buildings of Manhattan was very ‘Brooklyn’ in essence and lined up in accordance with all that I’d already seen that day. Not overly huge (maybe only 5% the size of Central Park) and pretty unassuming in nature, the park provided just the right amount of charm without overdoing it. I took a relaxing stroll through the park and back to the subway – which reminded me that it was New York City I was in, after all.
Manhattan’s high-flying, in-your-face attitude is riveting and is probably the main factor that attracted many of us to go so far from home for this amazing summer. While the ‘Center of the World’ is incredibly thrilling in its own right, Brooklyn delivers an equally fulfilling experience of a completely different breed.
– Zach Garcia