First up: the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Entrance is free from 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays (yep, I'm still a cheapskate, even here). According to a brochure we picked up there, it's 52 acres with more than 10,000 plants. I liked the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden (Gail and Joe-- that photo's for you!), and Paul enjoyed walking around the Herb Garden. It almost felt like we were back at his mom's house.
The trees and plants were green and lush, and I look forward to going back in the spring to visit the rose garden. But even among what must be one of the most peaceful places in Brooklyn, you could still hear the traffic not terribly far away.
Next up was the Brooklyn Brewery. Obviously my home-brewing husband was looking forward to the Saturday morning tours (also free) and samples (alas, $3). He hadn't been to the brewery before, but he had visited the neighborhood for work not long ago and assured me I would like it.
But first, the brewery. The tour is in one large room of a warehouse and the "bar" is an adjoining room with picnic tables and taps. I believe the bar is only open on Saturday afternoons for the tours and on Friday nights. Oh, and there's a skinny and extremely tame cat that has the run of the place and seemed to like to nuzzle against the guests and sit on the table where you buy your beer tokens.
It's in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, near Queens and just east of Manhattan. I fell in love with the neighborhood on the spot. But besides the rents being out of our price range, we agreed that we're probably not cool enough to live there. As Paul said, we would probably always have to eat at vegan restaurants where they used humanely-slaughtered beans. The place did have a lot of vegetarian, vegan and environmentally-friendly options (we ate lunch at a cafe where we ordered organic pancakes and organic french fries). I like that. And I really enjoyed all the one-of-a-kind specialty stores and the young crowds (I find that "hipster" is often repeated when referring to this neighborhood).
Another possible problem to living there-- I probably don't have the required number of ironic t-shirts. They were so prevalent that I think we started ignoring them and then had trouble remembering the good ones when I tried to make a list (examples: "Jesus was homeless" and "Relationships are hard work" with pictures of tools). But I'm sure I could up my collection. I would probably start with the shirt in the photo. (It's not true-- I love