Ask a Local: The Ten Best Things to do in Brooklyn

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For many, a trip to New York means a visit to Times Square to take in the lights, Broadway shows and pricey restaurants. To get a true feel of New York though, head over to Brooklyn, the home of Jay-z and Biggie and a breeding ground for the coolest art, music, fashion and food. Gregg Bishop, the Deputy Commissioner of Business Development Division at NYC Department of Small Business Services knows Brooklyn. Take a look at The Ten things he loves to do in this famous city. 

1. A great first date spot: Dinner always makes a great first date, and the best spot is Madiba on DeKalb Ave in Fort Greene Brooklyn. The vibe in this South African restaurant should put all the first date jitters away. The cosines is fantastic and the drinks are a little strong. I love the lamb but the other choices on the menu will taste just as good.

2. Best park(s) for taking a walk or bike riding without getting robbed: Brooklyn is safer than ever, so not to worry about getting robbed. A great place to go bike riding or take a leisurely stroll is the Brooklyn Bridge Park Greenway. Situated on the northwestern tip of the greenway, it has amazing views of lower Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty and of course the Brooklyn Bridge.

3. When I want a delicious breakfast, I head here: Buttermilk Channel’s chicken and cheddar milk waffles are a must have. Located in Carol Gardens at 524 Court Street, it’s a short walk from the F/G train to Smith/9th Street. Come early because this spot gets packed really quick and sorry, they don’t take reservations.

4. You have to try this food while in Brooklyn: Brooklyn is all about food, but you can’t come to the most populous borough in New York City and not have a slice of authentic NYC pizza. You can’t get more Brooklyn than a slice from Di Fara. Located in the Midwood section of Brooklyn off the Ave H stop of the Q train, it’s a no frills pizza joint that’s a Brooklyn secret. With slices topped with fresh basil and olive oil, you’ll never look at pizza the same again. Get there early because the lines will form before they open.

5. A nice restaurant/bar for a business meeting: The River Café located in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) is a great venue for your business meeting. Located right by the water with views of lower Manhattan, you’ll feel like a power broker, with the food to match.

6. JFK or LaGuardia Airport? LaGuardia for a short cab ride into downtown Brooklyn. JFK if you want to take the train.

7. For a night out with friends, this is the place to be: Head to Williamsburg for a great night out. Sea Thai Restaurant on 114 North 6th Street serves up the best chicken basil, and on the weekends has a live DJ. Once you’re done, walk around the corner to Brooklyn Bowl (61 Wythe Avenue) and bowl a few of the calories off. Check out their calendar to see who’s on the turntables (Talib Kwelie, Biz Markie, or the BowlTrain with DJ Questlove).

8. Some unique places for shopping in Brooklyn are: Brooklyn Circus is a favorite spot to shop. Located on 150 Nevins Street, Brooklyn Circus is everything Brooklyn, and brings classic and modern styling together.

9. A great local coffee shop is: Nestled in the heart of Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Gratitude Café is the new kid on the block but has a lot of old school charm. Comfortable seating and homemade pastries make this spot a great place to unwind. If you’re lucky, you might have that cup of Brooklyn coffee to the sounds of Sam Cooke.

10. The best parts of town to view amazing street art are: Hands down Troutman Street in Bushwick has some of Brooklyn’s best street art. Take the L to Jefferson and take a stroll through the vast outdoor gallery called The Bushwick Collective, starting at the intersection of Troutman Street and St. Nicholas Avenue. After the walk, have a meal at The Rookery (425 Troutman Street). I highly recommend the Egg Sammy with home fries.


As Deputy Commissioner of the Business Development Division, Gregg Bishop is responsible for NYC Business Solutions, Business Incentives, and Business Recovery. These programs are designed to make it easier for businesses to start, operate, and expand in New York City.

Gregg is no stranger to travel and has visited numerous domestic and international cities from Los Angeles and Miami, to Argentina, Canada, Japan, England, Italy, and of course his home country of Grenada. Follow him on Instagram @greggbishop.