Brooklyn, New York

Name: Brooklyn Cruise Terminal
Address: Pier 12, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Phone: (718) 246-2794
E-mail: BCT@nycedc.com
Website: www.nycruise.com

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Airport transportation:

LaGuardia will be the most convenient at 40 minutes, with Kennedy being second at about one hour and Newark being the most inconvenient at about one hour, 20 minutes to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. For ground transportation options, call 1-800-AIR-RIDE (1-800-247-7433).

Location:

Brooklyn is due west from Manhattan and is located in the northeast coast of the United States. Located in Red Hook, opposite Governors Island, the 180,000 square foot terminal can handle 4,000 passengers and opened in the spring of 2006. The Brooklyn terminal complex includes a rebuilt building, new bollards and fenders, an internal roadway, a 500-car parking area, and taxi and bus drop-off areas. The two lines that have moved all their operations to Brooklyn are Cunard and Princess.

Accommodation:

If Manhattan is where you want to stay, there’s a hotel to suit every budget and taste. If you want to splurge, spend a night at the beautiful Waldorf Astoria or the luscious Trump Plaza Hotel. But if you’d rather spend your money elsewhere, there are many mid-range hotels available including the Best Western, Embassy Suites and Marriott hotels. And don’t ignore some of the smaller chains with small properties that permeate the city like The Surrey Hotel on the Upper East Side. Other small boutique hotels can be found in virtually every neighborhood in the city.

But if it’s near the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal you want to be, there are several selections that include Comfort Inn, Fairfield Inn and Suites, Marriott, Holiday Inn, La Quinta, Super 8, Sheraton, among others – all within 1.3 miles from the terminal.

Overview: 

From Coney Island to the Botanic Gardens, Brooklyn has a surprising number of attractions for cruise passengers to explore before or after their voyage. The restaurants of Brooklyn Heights, art in DUMBO, the Brooklyn Museum in the Slope, and the nightlife of Williamsburg are all part of the new Brooklyn charm. The Brooklyn Tourism office (http://www.visitbrooklyn.org/) has a terrific tour guide to Brooklyn.

But, Brooklyn is in the shadow of it gargantuan neighbor, New York City. That’s where you’ll probably want to spend most of your time whether in the area for one, three or more days.

The first thing you have to understand about New York is that it’s more than just another place to visit. It’s a city/state, a world onto itself with the real and the imagined combine in one place and where you have to diminish it in your mind before you can successfully navigate its charms.

Few destinations match its scope. Paris, Mexico City, Tokyo, London, Sao Paulo, Singapore, and Hong Kong come to mind as destinations that are more than mere cities. What defines them is the fact you find anything from any other part of the world within their boundaries. And you can spend a lifetime at any of these places without ever having discovered all of what’s there.

So how does a mere tourist cope with a mega metropolis like New York in just a few days? It’s simple. Instead of being overwhelmed by the scope of the place – which you will be in first hours of arrival – think of the place as a series of villages.

One of the biggest mistakes first-time visitors make when planning a New York trip is to “see New York”. Good luck. You don’t “see New York,” you experience what it has bit by bit. If you try to devour it at a single sitting, you end up with metropolitan indigestion because there’s just too much to be seen and experienced. The city is in constant change. For example, parts of the city that once were undesirable – such as Harlem – have quickly become the in-places to live.

Go to a Yankees game and The Bronx becomes a village to explore. Attend the U.S. Open tennis tournament in Flushing in August/September and the borough of Queens becomes your objective. And when you visit the Metropolitan Museum, you enter the world of Central Park and the Upper East Side.

In New York’s sprawling Chinatown, in lower Manhattan, almost all Chinese goods found in China can be found there, including food, clothes, jewelry, souvenirs, etc. On the north side of Canal Street are many jewelry stores while on the south of Canal Street are small gift, handbag, perfume, watch stores and big supermarkets, etc. Mott Street and its surrounding streets are the best places to shop where most of things can be bargained.

Visitors to Greenwich Village usually expect to find the 1960s still in full bloom. Sorry about that, but while this small area below 14th Street and west of Broadway has been a mecca to the creative, rebellious and bohemian for more than 100 years, starving artists can’t afford to live there any longer. Alas, most of the fabled Beatnik-era ambiance is gone, but you’ll still find coffeehouses like Caffe Reggio and Cafe Figaro – places that inspired writers Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs. You can still plan a day around the history of the place, its shopping, and its fine restaurants.

One thing is guaranteed about visiting this city: If you choose your hotel wisely, it will make your time there memorable. Pick a location that’s removed from your main interests or your ability to tolerate noise, and it’ll be a long slog. Even though New York offers some of the best public transportation in the world, you don’t want to waste too much time just getting back and forth to where you want to visit.

You’ll constantly hear the terms, “midtown”, “downtown” and “uptown” thrown about when visiting New York. The terms have real meaning. Midtown is Manhattan’s main business district and you will be there when you walk along Fifth Avenue from Central Park south to about 14th Street. Downtown (below 14th Street) contains Greenwich Village, SoHo, TriBeCa and Wall Street, the financial district. The phrase Downtown can also simply mean south of wherever you happen to be at the moment, while Uptown refers to all points north.

If you want to be in the middle of the action, then by all means find a hotel in the heart of the Midtown area. 42nd Street and Broadway is the heart of the theater district and this area is noisy and swarming with people at all hours of the day.  However, the Marriott Marquis Hotel offers some peace and quiet high above the fray.

If you want tranquility, find a hotel in the Upper East Side, just off Central Park. This is one of Manhattan’s finest neighborhoods, where restaurants are plentiful along Second Avenue and where you can window-shop to your heart’s content. The Upper East Side stretches from 59th to 96th Streets, between Central Park and the East River, and with its world-famous museums, elite schools, luxury boutiques, and proximity to Central Park, the family-oriented Upper East Side can be one of the best places to explore.

It is a convenient location for exploring Central Park, as well as the many museums constituting Museum Mile. Madison Avenue is home to many couture and designer shops and even if you can’t afford to buy anything, the window shopping is extraordinary. Park Avenue is lined with gorgeous pre-war apartment buildings and gardening down the median makes it a great place to stroll.

One of New York City’s great assets is its easy access by foot. It is mostly laid out like a grid—uptown/downtown streets intersect with cross-town streets, making it easy to navigate even for the first-time visitor. That changes in Lower Manhattan, in the Battery area, where streets are a bit less grid-like.

The city is also quite flat, and exploring it on foot is the best way to get a real feel for the different neighborhoods. It’s also the least expensive way to get around and sometimes, depending on traffic and distance, the fastest. And, should you decide to pack it in, there’s always the option of either the subway or a taxi – the latter being relatively inexpensive and plentiful.

New York is one of the most magical places on earth, where you’ll find that money will get you anything, but there’s also much free activity to be found within its boundaries. A live-theater ticket will cost you upwards of $100 to see performances of the latest plays on Broadway. But, there’s also plenty of theater in smaller off-Broadway venues at a third that cost.

And so it is throughout the city. Plan your visit well, manage its assets with some thought, and you’ll find yourself in love with the place and its gregarious residents.

The Financial District, at the southern tip of Manhattan, is where you can find Wall Street and New York Stock Exchange. Visiting Mulberry Street in Little Italy is like taking a trip to another country without having to pay for a plane ticket. And Harlem, at the north end of the island, is the home of the famous Apollo Theatre. It’s also where former President Bill Clinton keeps his office.

Lucky for you, getting around to all of New York’s attractions is as easy as pie since there are almost 4,000 buses, more than 700 subways (www.mta.info) and 12,000 taxis to take you where you’re going. But if you have the time, walking is a great way to get around New York. Remember that your journeys from place to place in this city will be as interesting as the destinations.

Shopping:

New York is a shopper’s paradise with everything you could hope for. Chinatown’s bustling streets are bursting with inexpensive treasures. A short walk away you’ll find the cobblestone streets of SoHo where cutting edge designers show their wares. Or, if you have a child in your life who deserves a special treat, spend some time at the renowned kid’s store F.A.O. Schwartz, the store made famous in the Tom Hank’s movie “Big.”  And, of course you have your choice of Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Sak’s Fifth Avenue to fill your bags.

Things to do:

If your feet need a rest after shopping New York’s many theaters have something to suit everyone. At the Lincoln Center you can see the Metropolitan Opera, The New York Philharmonic, the New York City Ballet and more. Visit their website at www.lincolncenter.org to see what shows are on during your visit. Last minute, same-day discount tickets to one of the stunning Broadways shows can be found at the famous TKTS booth on 47th Street and Broadway.

With more that 150 museums in the city, New York will send art lovers over the moon! Stroll the famous spiral walkways at the Guggenheim Museum (1071 Fifth Avenue, at 89th Street, (212) 423-3500). Designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, this award winning building is itself a work of art. Or check out one of the world’s foremost modern art collections at the Museum of Modern Art (11 West 53rd Street, (212) 708-9400). Make a note that The Guggenheim is closed on Thursdays and the Museum of Modern Art is closed on Wednesdays.

If the arts aren’t your thing, there are tons of other activities to keep you busy.  On a clear day a visit to the top of the Empire state Building gives you a view of the city from above (www.esbnyc.com). For an inexpensive close-up look at the Statue of Liberty take the Staten Island Ferry that passes right by the famous lady (www.siferry.com). And there’s nothing like taking a romantic walk or carriage ride through the winding paths in Central Park (www.centralparknyc.org/). The Circle Line Ferry is a great way to see Manhattan from the water (www.circlelinedowntown.com).

Special Places:

New York is famous for so many reasons but if you want to really take a bite out of the Big Apple try one of the city’s fabulous restaurants. At the top of the Rockerfeller Center you get a stunning view with your meal (www.topoftherocknyc.com). Or eat at one of the Grand Central Station’s restaurants under the famous sky ceiling. For atmosphere head to artsy Greenwich Village for an espresso at a local coffee house or an ethnic meal at one of the neighborhood’s many eateries.

Even non-sports fans will get caught up in the excitement of seeing a game at one of this city’s world-class arenas. New York is home to teams from each major league sport.  Both the Rangers and Islanders take to the ice at Madison Square Gardens. During basketball season the Knicks play there too. Or, if you prefer the baseball diamond, you have two teams to choose from: cheer for the Yankees at their stadium or the Mets at Shea Stadium.

— Ray Chatelin

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