You’ve already tried something new with learning MMA. So, naturally, you now want to learn to dance salsa. Welcome into the melting pot! The best studio in the area? La Nueva Salsa de Hoy Dance Studio. The studio offers a beginners’ program (that may even work for the likes of me, and my two left feet), and the staff is trained, and willing to gently push you to perfect your steps.
I feel like waking up a little more, so I head over to Parkette Brooklyn. The small cafe offers the best coffee around. The baristas take pride in their espressos and Stumptown brews. The pastries? Beyond delectable, adorably presented Dough Doughnuts. But the decor takes the cake here. I can never have enough of the tin roof, circular marble tables, massive windows, or muzak.
The name of the game in Sunset Park is being active – and nothing spells “Sunset Park” better than cycling. The best bicycle shop in the area is Mr. C’s Cycles. Mr. C’s is home to an impressive collection of premium bikes – from Cannondale to Bianchi. What makes this shop special? Their fitting studio, sure to give you the best custom fitting for your new bike.
Time for the traceur in me to live a little. I head over to Industry City, literally a mini city. If you have ever been to Chelsea Market in Manhattan, there is no doubt you will fall in LOVE with this once delapidated warehouse that has been painstakingly transformed into an artistic and commercial hub. The Brooklyn Nets have claimed the top floors to use as their practice facility (with the waterfront views you can’t really blame them.) There’s so much to see and do. You have eateries like Blue Marble Ice Cream, Burger Joint, Ends Meat (an Italian Salumeria) and Fashion Chef (gourmet pastries). Food choices feel like they are endless, though there are just 10 storefronts. Add to the menu shopping, Design Within Reach, Brooklyn Brine (pickles), and Roche Bobois (furniture). The resident artist enclave includes the Industry City Gallery, art classes at BHQFU and Roof Top Films. The famed Open Studios Collective has their office stationed in the IC too. For the control freak always on the look not to miss out on any developments – with the sheer numbers of events constantly taking place at the IC, best sign up for their newsletter. If you still have any strength left for your parkour, shuffle over next door to the Bush Terminal Park and Piers, and take in the stunning city views and the many excitements of a sports complex like no other.
When in Sunset Park. I’m taking my morning stroll to none other than the Sunset Park and Pool. The park is easily in the top-5 most gorgeous in the city. There of course are stunning views. The greenery perched atop the hill unfolds before me the views of the Statue of Liberty, Staten Island Ferry and the lower Manhattan. Right behind the hill is the Sunset Play Center, the park’s most parlayed landmark and centerpiece. I’m happy to be here at sunrise, despite the obvious crack in my timeline.
Pumped up on caffeine, I crave tranquility so I make a sharp turn toward the I Am Yoga studio on the Sunset Park/South Slope border. An affordable choice for yogis, with intimate class sizes, my caffeinated self loves the personalized attention. I promise myself to focus on bettering my yoga skills, a promise I suspect I won’t keep long. Approachable teachers and staff are sure to make you comfortable, regardless of whether you are a beginner or not.
Diversity is what makes Sunset Park tick. This sun-splashed melting pot of Hispanic, Indian, Polish, Norwegian and Chinese communities, where languages, cultures and delicious tastes converge, is also home to Tacos El Bronco, quite possibly the most popular eatery in the nabe. The place churns out the most authentic Mexican street food you are likely to have in the whole of New York City. The star Broncos here are the scrumptious tacos al pastor, super tender taco de lengua (cow’s tongue, similar in texture to short rib) and savory shrimp tacos. You’re welcome!
Begin your journey back home by passing by Sweatbox Brooklyn and its gigantic front-door mural of a boxer. With a rich history in boxing (Mike Tyson’s stomping grounds are minutes away), your curiosity is likely to carry you inside into the boxing training facility. This truly is a hidden gem. The spot effortlessly mixes state-of-the-art with the old-school Brooklyn boxing lore. And of course, the pacifist hippie in you will instantly want to sign up for a MMA training session. The gym is no joke! Knowledgeable trainers are there to drive you to be the best.
You will be hard pressed to find pretentious eateries in Sunset Park. Some of the best food comes out of those muted restaurant storefronts like Kofte Piyaz. The Turkish cuisine here is undoubtedly the best you’ll have a chance to delight to in Brooklyn. Reacquaint your palate (or experience for the first time) with Cacik (yogurt, cucumber and garlic crushed with mint oil). And don’t pass up a chance to have the Turkish meatball main course. The mouth-watering experience alone is worth the visit.
Let loose, look at the hour! First off, there aren’t many spots in the area that offer craft cocktails. But if you can get past that, like most of us can, you’ll find solace in plentiful old-fashioned watering holes. And the most fun is to be had and shared at The Spot Bar & Lounge. The young, friendly confines offer plenty of beer and a full bar to go with a pool table. The lounge also, of course, offers plenty of space to dance and stretch your legs. That is, if the day has left any dancing energy in you intact.
After overhearing a fellow diner talk about Prince Tea House, I decide to skip dessert, and head right over. The tea is served in porcelain teapots, over a candle - to keep the brew warm. Oh, their dessert list is heavenly! Sure to leave you indecisive are green tea crepe cake and caramel crepe cake. As you’re scrambling to order, you realize why there’s a wait to sit here. In fact, the server tells you there’s a two-hour limit to finish your tea and sweets. I savor my timed delights.
There’s nothing like bowling… but there’s nothing like bowling at Melody Lanes! The old-school bowling alley is staple in Sunset Park and it will instantly bring memories of your childhood back. A long line of projection screens adorns the back of the lanes to screen classic and new films during your impromptu night of bowling.