Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Seven Countries in Seven Days, Without Ever Leaving Brooklyn

Posted By on Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 11:24 AM

No vacation for you!
  • No vacation for you!

People go places in the summer. People go to far-away places. People go to beautiful, far-away places.

Good for them!

We are not going anywhere this summer, at least nowhere far away. But that's totally cool because we don't even need to leave Brooklyn to get all the exotic adventures that we can handle.

No, seriously. This is about to get really exotic.



Oh, Paris.

There are so many things I want to do in you, Paris.

Especially in the summer.

But you are crazy expensive.

Brooklyn's best alternative to the incredible Parisian Marché aux Puces in Clignancourt is the Brooklyn Flea which spends its Sundays on the Williamsburg waterfront (East River Waterfront btw North 6 and 7 St.) Spend a couple of hours looking for treasures and pointing to little objets and saying with your best French accent, "Ah, c'est très Brooklyn!"

Then, head over to Maison Premiere (298 Bedford Ave btwn South 1st and Grand St) and indulge in some absinthe and oysters. Just like the French do!

Finally, read Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky and feel incredibly, tragically sad.

Just, whatever you do, DON'T listen to any Phoenix. Or you really might want to kill yourself.

Then again, that might just be me.



Get yourself over to Tacos Matamoros (4508 5th Ave, btwn 45th and 46th Streets) and order the tacos al pastor. They're deliciously overstuffed and come with fresh lime wedges and radishes and can travel with you as you cross the street and climb the many, MANY steps (just like an Aztec pyramid!) up to the top of the hill in Sunset Park, the highest point in Brooklyn.

Hopefully you're toting a six-pack of Negra Modelo and have timed this picnic just right, so that you can watch the sun slink down behind the Statue of Liberty with all of New York Harbor stretched out before you.

It's called Sunset Park for a reason.

Other things to do, that may-or may not!-make you feel like you're in Mexico:

Sunset Park Pool (7th Ave at 43rd St, Brooklyn, NY)

Melody Lanes (corner of 5th Ave and 37th Street, Brooklyn, NY)



Head down to Brighton Beach and see why it's called Little Odessa. I mean, I don't know what Odessa is like, but if there are as many men in thongs playing chess on overturned garbage cans on the boardwalk over there as we have in Brighton Beach, then I am saving up my money for a real trip next summer! Plus, I bet the Black Sea is, like, ice cold. Nice!


Challenge a be-thonged man to a game of pickup chess. Or not.

But definitely go to Tatiana and order the pelmenyi and pickled watermelon and a bottle of vodka.

Get crazy drunk till you feel your nose getting redder and rounder by the minute.

But don't worry because Tatiana Restaurant (3152 Brighton 6th Street Brooklyn, NY) has a hangover remedy for you: 1 tsp. lemon juice, 1/8 tsp. paprika and 2 cups of sauerkraut juice.

Don't skimp on the sauerkraut juice!

Then go beat yourself with white birch branches at the Mermaid Spa (3710-11 Mermaid Ave Brooklyn, NY) and sweat out all of that vodka in a sauna so that your vodka sweat hangs suspended in the hot sauna air and you breathe it right back in again.

That's called the circle of life.



Tokyo is one of those cities that actually has an energy comparable to New York's.

Or so I've heard.

I really, really, really want to go.

But it's not happening this year, so I'll have to satisfy myself with something that might not be the same, but will still be pretty great.

Start off your Japanese-themed day with a fortifying lunch at Chuko (552 Vanderbilt Ave Brooklyn, NY.)

Eat up. I'm a big believer in eating hot foods when it's hot out. That's just who I am. But it's how I think you should be too.

Then, get yourself down to DUMBO, and check out Zakka (155 Plymouth St, btwn Pearl and Jay Streets.) Zakka has stuff you don't see everywhere. Unless you're IN JAPAN. Which, you're not, but now it kinda feels like you are, right?

After this, hop the ferry over to Williamsburg and stock up on Japanese provisions like fresh onigiri at Midoriya (167 N. 9th Street btwn Driggs Ave and Bedford.)

Then you can make your own Japanese food! Or not!

Whatever. Either way. make sure to extend your staycation in Japan by reading The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea by Yukio Mishima.

You thought I was going to recommend Murakami, didn't you?

Well, you should also read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, but you already knew that.



What do we all know about Amsterdam?

Bikes, hookers, drugs, and canals, right?

Well, the first three are readily available in just about any Brooklyn neighborhood you choose.

But there's only one canal!

And breathing in its fumes gives you a pretty good buzz.

The Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club ( offers self-guided tours on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons.

So get ready to do some kayaking! It's just like (nothing like) Amsterdam!

After you've worked up an appetite, head over to The Clover Club (210 Smith Street btwn Baltic and Butler) for a Tom Collins and devilled eggs.

You're not going there because it is Dutch in any way—it's just delicious.

But nobody goes to Amsterdam for the food.

Unless they want to eat pancakes.

Because they're high.


Middle East

Oh, man. "Middle East." That's not TOO broad of a distinction, is it?

Well, whatever.

The main reason for this jaunt is to check out Tanoreen (7523 3rd Ave Brooklyn, NY) which is, while well known at this point, still incredibly delicious.

Eat anything lamb.

Eat all the lamb.

Then head over to Owl's Head Park, right on the water, and look out over said water, over at Staten Island and New Jersey, and think about how arbitrary the divisions of land are. And why we are where we are, and how that makes us different than if we were over in New Jersey.

We might be so, so different.

Then, read The Nimrod Flipout by Etgar Keret.

And laugh and laugh because this book is funny, but also, because it makes you uncomfortable.


Los Angeles

This one's easy.

Rent a car.

Drive onto the Belt Parkway during rush hour.

Fucking sit there and think of how lucky you are that you didn't have to vacation in Los Angeles.

Stupid LA.

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About The Author

Kristin Iversen

Kristin Iversen

Kristin Iversen is the Managing Editor at Brooklyn Magazine and the L Magazine. She has been described as "a hipster buzzword made flesh." This seems pretty accurate.

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