Millions of people head to New York every year on business, and I had done so many times myself in the past. While it’s always fun to see the city, I never really had a chance to spend time in parts of it outside of Manhattan, because my schedule was always tight. That’s why I was excited when I found out that I didn’t need to attend the last day of my convention in New York. I wanted to see Brooklyn, as I’ve heard and read a lot about the changes that are occurring there. The only catch was that I needed to find a Brooklyn hotel for a night, and I needed it that night. That can be a problem for many reasons, not the least of which is that availability can be an issue. I needed to solve for this quickly, if I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to explore.
I grabbed my phone and found HotelTonight. I figured it was worth a shot, so I gave it a try. I immediately found a wide range of choices for Brooklyn hotel rooms, but I was leery of having to go through what can be a difficult booking process on other outlets. I was thrilled to find out that with HotelTonight, I could book a hotel room in Brooklyn in a matter of a couple of minutes, as their specialty is last-minute accommodations. I was ready to move hotels and spend my free day in Brooklyn, seeing what all the buzz was about.
One of the things that everyone has heard about regarding Brooklyn is gentrification. It’s almost become a negative term, but in this case, I was quite impressed by what seemingly had been taking place in this unique neighborhood. Old warehouses had been converted into lofts, and not just lofts for living spaces. Art galleries, restaurants, bars and shops were everywhere in buildings that at one time in history were industrial operations. A lot of young people live here now, and all of them move about their days with busy schedules.
As much as Williamsburg seemed to welcome and even celebrate gentrification, Sunset Park gave off the opposite vibe. Sunset Park remains quite residential, and what you immediately notice is the diversity of its residents. People from all different parts of the world have settled here, and the area could be described as the quintessential example of the American melting pot. Regardless of where people were from originally, all of them were friendly, dispelling the notion at least for me that New York was not a friendly place.
When you think of New York, you think of a place that moves at a break-neck pace and people who are constantly in a hurry. It was noticeable, then, when I got into Park Slope, that the area seemed somewhat relaxed compared to what you hear about the city overall. If you want to see historic brownstones, this is the place to do so. I wanted to do that and I wanted lunch, as it was about that time of day. When you’re anywhere in New York for lunch, you may want the true deli experience. I got that after talking to someone about where I should stop. I could barely fit my mouth around the enormous, delicious pastrami sandwich I enjoyed. That was perfect. I was ready for my last couple of stops for the day.
Crown Heights is an interesting place because there is a lot of culture here, specifically museums and the like. In terms of cultural influence, the area seems to be swayed by the Caribbean vibe based on the restaurants I saw, the art I browsed and the stores that dotted the streets. I stopped into a couple of them and picked up some gifts for my friends and family. I spent the rest of the afternoon just walking around and taking in what seemed to be a place that was changing somewhat rapidly right before my eyes.
If you want real history, go spend some time in Brooklyn Heights. This neighborhood dates back approximately 200 years, and there are still buildings here that seem to be almost that old. I strolled through streets of more brownstones and then stopped at a nearby park, enjoying the skyline of the entire city. At this point, I needed to find a place for dinner, and someone at the park suggested that I try a Thai place that wasn’t far away. I walked in and saw that it didn’t appear busy, but that didn’t dissuade me, and I’m glad it didn’t. The food was outstanding and the experience was more than worthwhile.
As I made my way back to my hotel, I realized that Brooklyn was simultaneously all that I had imagined and yet nothing like I had imagined, and that made for a unique day of exploration. I also realized that I may not have been able to see all of this if I hadn’t found HotelTonight. Their choices for Brooklyn hotel rooms were fantastic, and their booking process was even better. What could have taken hours took minutes, and that left me more time to see the area. I would definitely be back in New York someday, and the next time I come, I’m going to use HotelTonight for my lodging.