5 Lesser-Known Things To See In Brooklyn


The buzz about Brooklyn has been building for years and while newbies to the borough keep moving in and exploring, some lesser-known things to see in Brooklyn remain just that. Iconic Brooklyn is wonderful –- Prospect Park, Brooklyn Bridge, Coney Island and the like. But these lesser-known Brooklyn destinations are certainly worth the trek.

1. Green-Wood Cemetery, in Greenwood Heights, where you’ll see a large colony of wild monk parakeets living in the Gothic entrance gate.

%Slideshow-79702%

2. Masstransiscope, the tunnel from the Dekalb Station to Manhattan is outfitted with panels that seem to make the wall come alive as you’re passing by if you’re looking.

3. Mosaic House, in Cobble Hill, where you can gaze upon a house completely decorated in mosaic art on its first floor.

4. Sunset Park in Sunset Park, where you can take in one of the best views around of not only Manhattan, but Downtown Brooklyn and the Statue of Liberty.

5. Floyd Bennet Field, near Marine Park, where you can explore New York City’s first airport in its current abandoned and eerie state.

'America: Facts Vs. Fiction': Brooklyn Bridge Cable Scandal

Instant Film Makes A Comeback

Instant film photography tool
Courtesy of Impossible Project

Mobile phone apps like Instagram have made it possible to make our digital images look “vintage” using filters and effects, but they can’t quite capture the particular nostalgic quality of actual film. Photography lovers have mourned the loss of Polaroid instant film since it was discontinued in 2008. Several former employees teamed up to experiment with a new kind of instant film with the Impossible Project in 2010, allowing many owners of vintage cameras to keep taking pictures. The film is available at select camera stores around the world, but might be more for those who appreciate the art of film rather than speed: color pictures take up to a half-hour to develop.

Next month, the Impossible Project will take digital old-school when it introduces the Instant Lab, an app and tool that will allow you to print analog instant photos right from your iPhone. The device will be exhibited at Photoville, a pop-up photography “destination” in Brooklyn September 19 to 29, and available for purchase soon. The Instant Lab could be perfect for travelers who want to travel light with a camera phone but keep their trip photos from collecting dust on a hard drive.

Brooklyn Bridge: Musical Instrument?

Human Harp

If you have ever crossed the Brooklyn Bridge you know that it’s a stunning piece of architecture. But if artist Di Mainstone has her way, it will be more than just that. It will be a musical instrument.

Mainstone’s Human Harp project, documented beautifully by the Creators Project, aims to transform bridges around the world into instruments, allowing people to interact with architecture in a new way and “play” them, which means that come next year, hopefully you’ll be able to pretend the Brooklyn Bridge is a harp.

In fact, when the Brooklyn Bridge re-opens in 2014, you will be able to strap on a harness – developed by Mainstone – that connects retractable strings to the bridge itself, making music as you move.

If all goes well, the Human Harp may soon be coming to a bridge near you.

5 U.S. Beaches You Can Get to Without a Car

Beaches with a car - Chicago's Oak Street Beach
Flickr, Tom Gill

Summer may be winding down, but there are still a few weekends left to spend at the beach. Rather than sit in traffic or rent an expensive car, you can ride public transportation to many beaches in the U.S. Seasonal routes are especially likely to be popular, so go early and pack light.

Boston – CapeFLYER train to Cape Cod
Reintroduced this summer, the CapeFLYER train goes every weekend from Boston out to Hyannis, connecting to ferries for Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard and buses up and down Cape Cod. Fares are from $18 from South Station, with a few bucks’ savings if you buy round trip. You can bring a bike, get concessions onboard and get free Wi-Fi. The train will run through Columbus Day, October 14.

Chicago – El train to Oak Street Beach
Not everyone thinks of this city smack in the midwest as a beach town, but thanks to Lake Michigan, there are more beaches around Chicago than Bermuda. There are many to choose from, but Oak Street Beach is the most central with the most spectacular skyline view. It’s a few blocks from the El train at Clark and Division, though a bus up Lake Shore Drive will get you there closer. Beaches are free and open until Labor Day, but you can enjoy the water views year round. CTA fares are $2.25, with deductions for transit cards.Los Angeles – Big Blue Bus to Santa Monica
While it’s a major car city, there are ways to get to Santa Monica and Venice Beach from downtown Los Angeles without wheels. The Big Blue Bus serves all of Santa Monica and connects to Venice Beach as well. Fares are just $1, with day passes available. LA Metro has rapid buses to Venice Beach, with fares from $1.50. A new light rail line will connect Santa Monica to downtown LA, getting you on the beach even faster.

New York – A train to Far Rockaway
New Yorkers are lucky to have lots of options for sand and swimming, from Brooklyn‘s Brighton Beach to Long Island‘s Jones Beach, and Rockaway Beach in Queens has long been an urban favorite. While it suffered a lot from last year’s superstorm Sandy, it’s back in a big way, with many boardwalk concessions reopened and a new boutique hotel. A $2.50 subway fare gets you there on the A train, and there’s also a weekend-only ferry from downtown Manhattan if you’d like a more scenic (and spendy, at $20 one way) ride.

Washington, D.C. – DC2NY bus to Delaware beaches
While a bit much for a day trip, budget bus company DC2NY offers seasonal shuttles to Delaware‘s Rehoboth (one of Dr. Beach‘s favorites in the country) and Dewey beaches from Washington, as well as Wilmington and New York. The trip takes about 2½ hours, leaving Friday night and weekend mornings through Labor Day. Fares are $39 each way, but you do get Wi-Fi, a power outlet and a bottle of water.

What are your favorite beaches to visit without a car?

How To Avoid Getting Attacked By A Mockingbird


Reports of mockingbirds attacking people who were walking through Transmitter Park in Greenpoint, Brooklyn started coming in over the last couple of weeks, but mockingbird attacks aren’t limited to New York City. That’s because mockingbird attacks aren’t contingent on a specific location but are instead determined by the time of the year and the creatures within closest proximity to the nest. Mockingbirds breed during the spring and early summer months and they defend their nests vigorously during this time.

A 2009 study published in Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences described the ability mockingbirds possess to recognize individual features of humans as well as other species. Individuals who come too close to a mockingbird nest are subject to an attack within a couple days should they continue frequenting the area, according to the study. The best way to avoid a mockingbird attack? Never get too close to a mockingbird nest.Mockingbirds aren’t the only animals to watch out for when you travel. Check out the following stories about animal attacks: