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Hope & Anchor
Though Red Hook is a popular day-trip destination and largely inaccessible by public transportation, bike parking around its hottest spots—the Lobster Pound, Fort Defiance, the mighty Fairway—is in short supply. The single inverted metal U in the sidewalk out in front of Hope & Anchor is an oasis to the weary cyclist.
Best Advocate for Prospect Park
Titze, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, devotes much of her free to time to rescuing troubled wildlife in Prospect Park. In the past two years, she has saved dozens of animals—including 52 water fowl, three squirrels, five dogs, and three turtles—from injury and even death due to irresponsibly discarded fishing equipment, including illegally barbed hooks. But that’s not her only concern. She is currently on a mission to educate people about a dangerous and invasive plant species, azolla caroliniana, that has taken residence in the Lake with potentially catastrophic consequences. Hopefully, Titze can increase awareness. Also, stop fishing in the Lake, people! You don’t actually eat those fish, do you? Do you?! Because, really, you shouldn’t.
Best Way to Relive Middle School on Your Way to the Beach
We thought that the days of riding the big yellow loser cruiser were over once our friends started getting their driver’s licenses. And we never thought we’d miss it. That’s all changed with the entrance of the Rockabus, a classic yellow school bus which shuttles beach-goers from Williamsburg out to Rockaway Beach and Fort Tilden. Sure, it’s a little more expensive than the subway, but there are no transfers and it’s a much more fun crowd than you find on the A train. Or, like, the Jitney.
Best WhipLash-fast Gentrification
Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights
Gentrification is an unavoidable part of life in Brooklyn, but sometimes an area changes so fast, even jaded olds are shocked. Have you been to Franklin Avenue lately? There are stores called “The Owl and Thistle General Store” and “Lily and Fig.” Franklin Park, Candy Rush, Guero’s (a taco place so gringofied the guy on the phone pronounced it gare-ohs), the big fancy new Chavellas, shiny condos popping up everywhere—it is literally unrecognizable from three years ago. And aspirational rents are following suit. One friend’s landlord just asked for a $400 rent increase, despite the fact that they have mushrooms growing out of their bathroom floor. I guess by “best” gentrification we actually mean “worst”?
Best Voyeuristic Point of View for the Student of Gentrification
Moore Street between Bogart and White
From atop these Bushwick loft buildings, one has pretty wide-open views of Manhattan and great swaths of Brooklyn. But one also has a view of everything that goes on before, behind, on top of and around Roberta’s, the universe’s favorite bastion of pizza, rooftop gardening, exclusive dining and indomitable, undeniable, unwavering coolness (and so on). As such, some things one might observe include: lush wedding parties; regular arrivals of bridge-and-tunnel visitors in pseudo-VIP black field-trip buses that say something like Party Van; limos of all sorts; Hummers of all colors; lines of people waiting to be allowed to be part of things; possibly mid-life-crisis-like rich guys leaving Benzes unattended with rag tops down; lost people looking at phones with bewilderment wondering if they’re on the right block; etc. These activities quite obviously indicate that the coolest thing on the planet is in the vicinity. Also, sometimes portable pissers line the block. How lovely.
Best Surprise Empire State Vistas
From the intersection with DeKalb all the way downhill to Flushing is, really, one of the strangest views in—or is it of—the city: from the higher areas, you’re at the same altitude, it seems, as the ESB spire, or quite nearly, and looking directly at it.
Best Place to Donate Your Time
The Doe Fund
Under the credo “Ready, Willing & Able,” The Doe Fund has locations all over the city, and of course you can always help out with cash. But at their Bushwick facility alone, you can also pitch in on mock interview and résumé-building events to aid in job training for formerly homeless or incarcerated individuals. There is literally no downside to this. Go do it now!
Best Traveling Party Photo Booth
Everyone already loves photo booths: they’re fun and the pictures are inevitably flattering, duh. But what if the booth was portable, the pictures filtered to be even more flattering, AND all your photos got turned into gifs? That’s what’s going on here, and it’s just as delightful as it sounds.
Best Happy Ending
The Prospect Park Ghost Dog and Sean Casey Animal Rescue
Prospect Park’s “Ghost Dog” became a local legend and celebrity after spending years wandering the park alone. His feral days came to an end in May, when he was taken in by Sean Casey Animal rescue, Windsor Terrace’s beloved safe haven and adoption center. After a little medical care and socialization he’ll be ready for adoption, and people are already lining up. Aww!