A Sunday Morning in Adult Brooklyn
Around 5:30AM, the sun peeks out from beyond the Verazano Bridge to greet Adult Brooklyn.
By 6AM, the soccer dads and moms are running in tandem down Atlantic Avenue until they reach the Brooklyn Waterfront. From there, they run along the shores of the East River, a vista of Downtown Manhattan flanking them to the Northeast, until they reach the Ample Hills Creamery on the threshold of DUMBO. At which point they turn around and go back the other way, likely stopping at Swallow Cafe on Atlantic for a Matcha before returning to their brownstone to wake the children.
By 7AM, a line has formed in front of Court Street bagels that stretches down the block. Those that don’t feel like waiting head to Shelsky’s at the corner of Atlantic or Mile End Deli on Hoyt. The Grub Hub and Seamless bikers fly up and down the sidewalks on their motorized bicycles, delivering breakfast to houses with “Black Lives Matter” signs in the windows.
At 8AM, at the corner of Hoyt and Atlantic, shopkeepers begin to arrange tables and chairs on the barricaded street in anticipation of the breakfast and brunch crowd. Parents walk their children to Boerum Park and watch them play on the jungle gym while they read the New Yorker on their mobile phone. A few blocks away, new police officers relieve the night shift in front of the Gowanus public housing project.
By 9AM a new line has formed—this time outside the Trader Joe’s on the corner of Court and Atlantic. The 35-and-up crowd holding their reusable shopping bags try to tame their children as they await the opportunity to shop for reasonably priced foodstuffs. Up the street from Trader Joe’s is a third line—this one for the COVID-19 testing center, which is frequented by anxious parents who are already triple-vaxxed.
Negative test result in hand, they may head next door to the Stumptown Coffee Rosters—which still isn’t allowing people to sit inside for some reason—before heading to Equinox or Chelsea Piers Fitness for a pilates class and a schvitz in the sauna.
By 10AM, adults who are caffeinated and exercised peruse the boutique shops aligning Court and Smith Streets. The options are staggering: overpriced throw blankets at Collyer’s Mansion, interesting prints made from artists who live in the outer boroughs at Sterling Place, antique furniture restored and sold at an extreme markup at Cabin Modern, and designer clothing at the unfortunately named Haus of Hanz. There’s also the option to visit the Invisible Dog Art Center on Bergen Street, where vendors who typically sell their wares on Etsy meet IRL to sell moms and dads “Tax the Rich” baby onesies and overpriced salt lamps. Across the street the homeless emerge from the Bergen Street Subway stop and barter with the Dunkin Donuts workers for a free cup of coffee.
A few blocks over at the Trek store, dads in skintight cycling outfits tune up their $5,000 bikes in preparation for a 5-mile bikeride across the Brooklyn Bridge and back. The “Books Are Magic” store further down Smith begins to fill in with the Carroll Gardens crowd clad in tortoiseshell glasses and fedoras.
By 11AM I may wake up, go downstairs, and pay $4.50 for a cold brew at Absolute Coffee. I pick a charming tree-lined street to walk down, and greet the pure breed dogs trotting unleashed a few paces ahead of their owners. I ask a friend to meet for brunch, but they say they’d rather meet in Williamsburg. I say Boerum Hill is a lot cooler than people give it credit for as I walk past a scholastic book fair being held outside the Cobble Hill Success Academy charter school.
No takers on brunch, I decide to head out to the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights. I walk down Atlantic past the expensive brunch spots, the store that only sells camping equipment, the florist that once charged me $50 for a bouquet, the pizzeria that once charged me $85 for two pies, the 3-4 nursery schools, the 2 dog ice cream parlors, and the bars that all close at 11PM.
The Promenade is truly beautiful. As is the waterfront, the brownstones, the tree-lined side streets, and the babies being pushed along in strollers. “A lovely neighborhood” I think to myself as I head to the subway to take me far away.