A Local’s Guide to Brooklyn, New York City

Jen Mankins is the owner of Bird Brooklyn, a local fashion boutique. Here, she shares her favourite neighbourhood spots including the best boutique hotel, green space, bookstore and bar.
 

Jen Mankins, photo by Jessica Antola

 

As owner of Bird Brooklyn, a fashion boutique with four locations in New York City’s most populous borough, Jen Mankins knows her side of the East River well. The long-time local—who moved to New York City from Texas after college to pursue a career in fashion— shares a few of her favourite spots in Brooklyn.

1. Boutique hotel

“I’m partial to the Wythe Hotel. It’s one of Brooklyn’s first boutique hotels and it’s really focused on food and community—they have a screening room, a great space where people have community events and a fabulous restaurant called Reynard.”

2. Green space

“Prospect Park is the heart of green spaces in Brooklyn. But there’s a hidden gem called McGolrick Park. It’s really small, but it’s so special. You feel like you’ve been transported to a different time—it’s neighbourhood-y and picture-perfect.”

3. Live music

“In Williamsburg, Baby’s All Right is a smaller club where you can see emerging musicians.”

Photo courtesy of Baby’s All Right

4. Best bar

The Long Island Bar was an old longshoreman’s bar for years. [The owners] restored every inch of it to be exactly like it was. It’s the perfect bar—it’s very chill, never too crowded.”

5. Secret restaurant

Karasu is extra special because it’s a secret. It’s behind one of my favourite neighbourhood bistros called Walter’s. Go through Walter’s, past the door to the kitchen, past the back room and then there’s an unmarked door. It has a bit of a speakeasy vibe—they do the tonkatsu especially well, or any of the cocktails.”

6. Cool bookstore

“One of my good friends—a great writer named Emma Straub—opened a bookstore called Books Are Magic right across the street from Bird [Cobble Hill location]. It’s an amazing community bookstore.”