Last week, my husband and I were in our apartment thinking about the upcoming weekend. We had no plans, which has become the norm for us during Covid, and we tried to think of how to fill the days. We wanted to enjoy the opportunities around our neighborhood before the arrival of winter and weather that precluded many outdoor activities.
With only bikes and time at our disposal, we hatched a plan.
On Saturday, we decided to bike to Coney Island. From our apartment in north Brooklyn, the bike was about one hour, and we made it easier on ourselves by using e-bikes (courtesy of Citi Bike). We went through more familiar neighborhoods like Cobble Hill and Prospect Park, and then traveled into unfamiliar territory in south Brooklyn. There is a bike route all the way from Prospect Park South straight down to Coney Island via Ocean Parkway, and we biked safely through Flathbush, Midwood and Gravesend right to Brighton Beach. Unlike during the summer months, the Coney Island boardwalk was quiet, sparsely populated with some locals, a few restaurants open for outdoor dining. While Luna Park was closed, as were most of the other side street attractions around the park, there was plenty to see and do. We biked up and down the boardwalk, paused to smell the sea air and explored along Mermaid Avenue before biking home.
On Sunday, we biked to Red Hook, about fifteen minutes away. My husband brought his kindle and I brought a book and we went to Pioneer Works, Dustin Yellin‘s arts space that occupies a 19th century former iron works factory. Another great feature of Pioneer Works is its garden, free and (just recently) reopened to the public. The garden was built atop a former parking lot and is dotted with sculptures throughout. It almost feels like a game to spot the different works of art, some large and clear at first glance, others peeking out behind greenery. On weekends, visitors can also make use of the pop-up cafe courtesy of Pintail Coffee. It’s a great place to sit and read, meet up with friends or explore if you have the time.
It was nice to not only get outside, but to also explore new places without making elaborate plans or spending money. It was a reminder that there is so much to do and see right at our fingertips in NYC, and that sometimes slowing down and doing the simple things can often be the best.