On Presidents' Day, I had the day off and I decided to explore Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Despite the fact that it was bitterly cold (20 degrees at the most with wind chills in the single digits) it was crazy sunny and I wanted to get outside.
I had never been to Greenpoint before, and in the same way I begin most of my adventures, I picked a starting point: Five Leaves on Bedford Ave. I had read rave reviews about their brunch and I thought I would chance it, hoping it wouldn't be super crowded since it was a weekday. Well, all of Brooklyn must have also had the day off because it was absolutely packed. All of the outside tables were even full, and like I said it was cooooold. I wasn't in the mood to fight the crowds (and upon seeing the type of crowd, I know I'm definitely not cool enough to even really be there) so I kept on walking further into Greenpoint.
A friend of mine had once raved about Peter Pan donuts, so I decided to head there for lunch instead. The shop is super cute and a total time wrap, but it was also full so I had to take my donuts to go. I got a chocolate iced and lemon cream, and headed to the waterfront.
I am a sucker for a great skyline view, and the one from WNYC Transmitter park is a definitely worth seeing. It's a small park, but there is a nice pier jutting out into the East River — although I found out later that right next door is where the East River Ferry pier had mysteriously collapsed a day earlier (yikes).
I stood on the pier and ate my donuts as I basked in the sunshine, and thought that there was pretty much no better way to spend a day. Of course the wind blew powdered sugar all over my coat and my hands were borderline frostbitten after five minutes, but the view was so nice and the donuts so delicious that it was hard to be grumpy about anything.
I wandered around Greenpoint for a while longer, slowly making my way to the Queens/Brooklyn border. The area is very industrial and desolate, and I found a lot of great graffiti and beautiful, old buildings to photograph. I would love to go back when the temperature is more hospitable now that I have my new camera and just focus on taking photographs, but I managed to snap a few in between hand-warming sessions.
I eventually ended up at the Pulaski Bridge, which I decided to walk over to Long Island City, in Queens. It's a small bridge that links the two boroughs, with a pedestrian walkway on one side. It's not much to look at, aesthetically, but the views of Manhattan are pretty spectacular.
There are also welcome signs into each borough, although the one into Brooklyn definitely wins in the copywriting department. While the Pulaski is the least exciting (and shortest) bridge I've walked, it was nice to be able to cross another one off of my list. It was a long walk — about 3 miles from the Bedford L to Queens — but I try to go at a leisurely pace and there's always something fascinating to look at.
I ended up at Sweetleaf in Long Island City, which is quickly becoming my favorite coffee shop due to their insanely delicious iced Voodoo Child drink and cozy atmosphere. It was the perfect end to the perfect day off and I'm so glad I wasn't deterred by the cold (or the hipster mob at Five Leaves). Winter in New York is vastly preferable to the winters I've spent elsewhere, since there's rarely been a day where I haven't been outside at least for a little while. Spending the day outside in the sunshine can go along way towards eradicating the winter blues, or at least holding them at arm's length. Even though I'm totally ready for spring, this winter has been so amazing that I won't look back on it with anything but fond memories — even if I'm still finding powdered sugar on my coat from my donut-in-the-wind break.