Mon. Oct 18th, 2021


This article is part of a guide to New york by FT Globetrotter

By The leading hotels in the world, we love cities for their energy, vitality and history. As a born and bred New Yorker, I feel that way too. I grew up on Long Island, lived in Manhattan for ten years after college, and spent the past 12 years with my family in Brooklyn. Before the pandemic, I spent every weekday in Manhattan at our Midtown headquarters. I could never have imagined that I would live anywhere else.

While the pandemic has devastated the hospitality and restaurant industry over the past year, it has also been inspiring to see the creativity, ingenuity and perseverance of NYC restaurateurs and hoteliers. They gave me hope that the future of my beloved city would still be bright.

Since I had not been able to work much for the past 18 months, I had more time to discover the gems in my own backyard in Brooklyn and elsewhere in the city. I shared my favorites here with you.

Food and Beverages in Brooklyn

The Mezcal cocktails at Claro are elevated, says Knapp

The outdoor garden at Court Street Tavern, one of the oldest pubs in Brooklyn

Claro, in Gowanus

284 Third Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Claro is the place to find an amazing Oaxacan-inspired menu and excellent Mezcal cocktails. The courtyard is a hidden gem and the service is quiet and friendly. (Website; Directions)

Court Street Tavern, in Carroll Gardens

449 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Court Street Tavern is one of Brooklyn’s oldest pubs. It has a large outdoor garden with cozy seating and is a welcoming environment for children and adults for brunch or dinner. In addition, they broadcast sports or big events from TVs in the garden, and they have live music and even an ice skating rink in the winter. (Website; Directions)

A great bowl of glory at Pasta Louise. . .

. . . a restaurant that opened during the pandemic and quickly became one of Knapp’s favorites

Pasta Louise, in Park Slope

803 Eighth Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215

My new Go-to Friday night. They opened during the pandemic and served delicious fresh pasta and homemade sauces. The owner has a inspirational story and they are wonderful supporters of the local community, so I like to support them. (Website; Directions)

Blue Sky Bakery, in Park Slope

53 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217

A favorite breakfast stop since 2010; I love their ever-changing range of freshly made muffins. Insider tip: arrive early because they are sold out quickly, and close at 2 p.m. (Website; Directions)

For a night out in Manhattan

The Greenwich Hotel is one of Knapp’s best spots in Manhattan. . .

. . . where the cocktails on offer are best enjoyed in the private courtyard © Max Burkhalter (2)

The Greenwich Hotel, in Tribeca

377 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10013

A visit to this hotel is always at the top of my list. His restaurant, Locanda Verde, offers a casual Italian tavern setting with delicious, rustic cuisine. Guests staying at the hotel can make use of the private courtyard, a beautiful, sacred shrine in the heart of the city center. I visited the Greenwich Hotel last year for my wife’s birthday and enjoyed handmade cocktails in the sophisticated dressing room and then walked outside to the courtyard, even though it was a little too cold in December. In warmer months, it is the ideal place to enjoy a drink outside. (Website; Directions)

Some ideas for family outings

I have two small children, five and three years old, and I will not forget to play and explore my favorite places. During the pandemic, it was important to find space, fresh air and areas to spend the children’s energy.

Brooklyn Bridge Park is always worth a quick play for the kids. . . © Jon Arnold Images / Alamy

. . . while adults can enjoy views of the bridges and skyline of Manhattan © Cultura Creative / Alamy

Brooklyn Bridge Park

A fantastic location on the water. It is ideal for a picnic, cycling and scooters and a quick playground. From Brooklyn Bridge Park we regularly hop on the ferry Governors Island to explore with the children. The ferry is a hit with little ones and the island activities, such as the giant chips, playgrounds and museums and galleries make for a fun day trip. (Website; Directions)

Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket

Prospect Park West and Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

On Saturdays, we regularly swing by the Greenmarket to pick out locally sourced fruits, vegetables, breads and cheeses. And sometimes we even let the kids pick up a cookie or candy at one of the delicious pastry vendors. (Website; Directions)

Local products can be purchased at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket. . . © Richard Levine / Alamy

. . . which takes place every Saturday near the entrance of Prospect Park © Hemis / Alamy

Brooklyn Walks

A walk through the cute streets of Park Slope with brown stones is a regular activity for my family. However, during the pandemic, we also started spending time in Greenwood Heights. This neighborhood boasts a rich history, beautiful architecture and has retained much of its original character. For lovers of history in New York, pay a visit to the Green-Wood Cemetery. Many famous people are buried, including Leonard Bernstein, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Charles Ebbets.

Brooklyn Botanical Garden

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a must-visit as it blooms. . . © Eric Pasqualli / Alamy

. . . and offers 52 acres to explore © Getty Images / iStockphoto

We love exploring this urban botanical garden, starting in spring when the flowers start to bloom and then again in summer when everything is in full bloom. Its 52 acres offer endless exploration, and the educational activities for children is a great way to get in touch with nature in NYC. (Website; Directions)

My list of places to experience in New York can go on. There is something extraordinary about the city that is appealing to those who live here and travelers worldwide – the culture, the pace, the vitality and the endless opportunities for discovery. Although the pandemic has certainly challenged New York – and cities around the world – I have no doubt that it will return stronger than ever.

Shannon Knapp is the President and CEO of The Leading Hotels of the World

Share your Brooklyn secrets with us in the comments

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