Birthday weekend, part 2 – Exploring Brooklyn

Like I said, by the time we finally turned out the lights on Friday night, it was well past 3:00am.  For some reason this prompted Amanda to ask if we needed to set an alarm and wouldn’t it be nice to just sleep in for a while?  Fortunately, I saw through this trick question (it was actually two questions masquerading as one) and said, “Yes even though Yes.”  Because it’s better to take a power nap at 6:00pm (which I did) than to sleep past 9:30am and feel like you’ve wasted the entire day.

In other words, we set the alarm. 

Which meant that we were up and out of the hotel in time to have a meal that we could plausibly call “breakfast” instead of going straight to lunch.  We found a place called Woodland that seemed to satisfy the hipster quota of servers with gauges and tattoos (that quota being 100%, this is Brooklyn after all).

Open-faced chicken sandwich on English muffin with fries.
I took this photo for the name of the restaurant, but it
also serves for sartorial comparison:  If Amanda wants
to be a Brooklyn hipster, she’s going to need WAY tighter
jeans and WAY brighter sneakers.  Her scarf is a good
start, though.

As we brunched, we tried to plan our day.  We had stayed out in Brooklyn on purpose so that we could explore a new part of New York.  But neither of us had had time to make advance plans, and so we started talking about things we’ve done in other cities when we didn’t have plans.  For example, when we were in Paris for Thanksgiving and just spent the entire day walking around eating delicious food . . . .

Planning problem solved! 

Having just finished breakfast, though, we needed a theme to get us started.  Because “fried dough” is never the wrong answer, we charted a course to a bakery called Dough, locally famous for its doughnuts. 

This being Brooklyn, we soon came to a flea market that triggered every “browsing” instinct in Amanda’s soul and, before you could say Little Red Riding Hood, we were off the path to grandmother’s house and into the hipster woods.


Not that there were wolves here.  Just lots of knit caps and flannel shirts and facial hair and tortoiseshell glasses and ironic onesies for babies and t-shirts for adults with dinosaur silk-screen prints and outrageous second-hand clothes and bins full of “repurposed” junk that was called “art” that I would never actually put in my house and all sorts of delicious food that was called “organic” and “artisanal” that I definitely wanted to put in my mouth. 

We started with the mini-whoopie pies.
I got the rosemary and olive oil whoopie pie.
What’s this I spy?  FRIED DOUGH!
I got the hibiscus frosting with mystery goop.
Mission accomplished.
Asian-inspired organic hot dogs?  Yes please!


Mine on the left — topped with a mango salsa.
Artisanal sodas? 
I’ll have a taste, but pour me a cup of that hot cider!

Once we’d eaten our way through the market, we decided we felt chilly (cider notwithstanding) and in the mood for an art museum.  So we headed back towards the Brooklyn Museum of Art, passing fountains and triumphal arches along the way.

Note to Apple:  Your iPhone camera needs to be adjusted so that I can take photos
of triumphal arches without having to tilt my phone.

Now, I know I have pioneer ancestors, and I’m all for walking back to Jackson County, Missouri, for the rapture or whatever, but I think we can all admit that life is a lot better when you can buy hot Belgian waffles along the way.

Waffles in hand tummy, we arrived happily at the museum.
Where we waited in line for approximately forever in order to get into the permanent collections (there was a temporary exhibition on fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier that I would have loved to see, but the expected wait-time for that was even longer than forever). 
So instead we just went inside and saw a feminist installation that was basically a giant table with vagina plates and a super-interesting list of notable women from history.

We also saw some period rooms that had been shockingly reworked with site-specific pieces by another contemporary artist. 


There were other exhibits as well, and something that may have been a wedding or a bar mitzvah happening in the central atrium.  But by the time we’d made our way through the period rooms, we were running short on time, and the sugar high was wearing off. 

So we walked back to the hotel through the chilly night (because apparently cabs in New York stay in Manhattan and are virtually impossible to find in Brooklyn) to freshen up, take a nap and buy theatre tickets for our next adventure (Lookingglass Theatre’s The Little Prince, in Chicago in February) before heading out to Williamsburg to find the the mental hospital where we’d be spending the evening . . . .

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