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Brooklyn Bus Adventure: B49

January 19, 2012
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I think I am going to start a new recurring thread about my adventures in Brooklyn! I have been living in Brooklyn Heights for over two years now, and immediately upon moving into this picturesque little hood, I realized I have been a Brooklyn girl for quite some time without even knowing it… But the Heights is just the tip of the Brooklyn iceberg, so it’s time to reach out and start exploring!

I know that statistics say that Queens is the most diverse borough in the city, and county in the country, but Brooklyn must be a close second. During my excursion on Saturday, I ate at a Turkish seafood restaurant, passed through a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, and ended up speaking Russian in the grocery store (ok, well not speaking, but hearing :))

BUT a little back story. I have finally decided to get my driver’s license, in New York of all places, at the age of 28. Yes, I know what you are thinking… But when it’s time, it’s time! I found a deal on living social for a driving safety class and driving lesson earlier this month, and bought it immediately before checking where the driving school was actually located. I’ve heard of Kings Highway, and might have even passed it before, but really had no idea where it was… Which is deep in Brooklyn! I made the trek out there to receive some safety tips from my new instructor Alex (despite the Saturday subway interruptions on the Q), and decided to keep the southward momentum going. When asked for a restaurant recommendation in Brighton Beach, Alex hesitated…

“Well, you know… All of those places over there, they are overpriced. They’re just gonna rip you off. If you want some fresh seafood, I’ll tell you the place to go.” So he put me on the B49, and the adventure began!

I rode the bus “all the way to the water” as instructed by Alex, and then walked east on Emmons Ave along the canal to his favorite establishment. I knew I was in for a treat, as I passed old school bait shops and fishermen bringing their haul in for the day. After a few minutes, I happened upon the sun kissed restaurant Liman. With fishing nets, buoys and lanterns on the ceiling, and woven rugs lining the walls, the interior of Liman is a great mix of its cuisine and culture, and somehow doesn’t feel kitschy or artificial – more like a well-loved, pieced-together place. Even at the awkward hour of 4pm, the place was pretty busy with birthday parties and grown men eating with their mothers.

I ordered a whole St. Peter’s fish and glass of Sauvignon Blanc. The extremely attentive Turkish waiters deftly de-boned my fish and provided light conversation. With their special garlic sauce, the fish was a hit, alternatively crispy, flaky, fatty in the belly, so that each bite was something new and delicious. I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed it, since I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. But the sun was setting and I had a destination in mind, so got the check and head out towards the water!

It was a beautiful walk back along the canal with the sun setting, and swans gliding through the water. I had one of those moments, which I find especially rare in New York, where I felt I was the only person around. Those few moments of quiet bring such peace, and felt worth the trip alone…

I passed quickly through the sleepy neighborhood of Manhattan Beach, admiring the stained glass of a beautiful Synagogue, and made my way into Brighton Beach. I realize I will definitely need to make another trip out there this summer to experience the neighborhood in its full glory, but even in winter, it was amazing to feel transported into another place through the unfamiliar language and that coy feeling of being an outsider. I pretended to fit right in until the shopkeeper of the bakery started speaking to me in Russian. My cover was blown, but I was happy to buy some poppy seed pastries (my favorite!).

After stopping at the Brighton Bazaar for the aforementioned blintzes, and other random groceries, I meandered a few blocks along the boardwalk. The icy cold sea breeze stinging my cheeks brought me a strange pleasure (even though I couldn’t see the water, I was happy just to know I was so close), until I couldn’t take the cold anymore! Being back in the brightly lit car of the subway made the day’s encounters seem that much more magical… I can’t wait to find the unfamiliar again in this little part of the world!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sass permalink
    January 20, 2012 10:23 pm

    Take me to Brighton Beach, please!

  2. March 2, 2012 7:43 am

    We need to go this summer with Anna and dance on the boardwalk!

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