Monday, April 27, 2009

Brooklyn Heights Esplanade

This past Saturday, we went to Brooklyn Heights, one of New York City's most historic neighborhoods. The first thing you notice when you get off the Clark Street stop is how calm, relaxed and clean the neighborhood here is. Our street almost, in contrast, seems like a war zone. You could probably eat off the streets. More amazingly, we only heard a car honk its horn once. Yes, tranquility and serenity can exist in New York, if you can afford it.

We took a nice walk on Brooklyn Height's Esplanade in the 85-degree-weather. The long boardwalk has some of the best views of New York City. We can only imagine how beautiful it must be with the city's night lights. In 1965, Brooklyn Heights won designation as the city's first historic district. There are streets here that are the same as it was in the Civil War. Brooklyn Heights was once the neighborhood of many writers including Walt Whitman, Arthur Miller, Tennesse Williams and artists like Bob Dylan and Mary Tyler Moore.

You look to one side, you see the Statue of Liberty in the distance.

You look to the other side, you see the Brooklyn Bridge.

Below, you see this - the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

And at the heart and center of it all, you see this - one of the most famous skylines in the world.

What's lacking from the image above is what was once the skyline that included the Twin Towers (shown in the photo in the photo below).

Equally amazing are the beautiful and seemingly large unique apartments right at the promenade. Not only do they have the zillion-dollar views shown above, most of the apartments also had terraces, great outdoor space, beautiful windows and intricate details. We're sure these apartments are inhabited by the high income bracket or the very lucky, but this is the place we'd like to move when we're ready to have kids - quieter and cleaner than Manhattan but just minutes away by Subway when we need more action (because the area is a bit too tame for people like us that just moved to the city and actually enjoy the sensory overload).

When we see apartments like these, we wonder "who are they? what do they do for a living? what the hell is their income? what does it look like inside? do they appreciate it?" Sigh.

And here's something you rarely see.

We were disappointed by the restaurants on Montague Street and the surrounding streets. We finally settled on Taze Turkish restaurant. This is their outdoor seating with sweeping views of . . . other peoples' apartments.

We decided to go with their lunch special, which includes either soup or salad, one appetizer, and one entree for $14 (a great deal considering for all these items, the total would be about $31). We started with a delicious hot weather salad - Taze's Turkish Shepherd's Salad ( finely diced tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, onions, and parsley tossed in olive oil and vinegar). Taze's refreshing iced tea was also extremely sweet and tasty.

This is one of the best stuffed grape leaves (stuffed with rice, pine nuts and currents) that we tried. The flavor and texture were absolutely perfect.

Their Sigara Boregi (filo scrolls stuffed with feta cheese and fresh dill).

Their chicken kebab lunch plate. Nothing exceptional but decent.

Their Kofte Kebab (char grilled Turkish meatballs). The only bad thing we tasted here was their house salad, which was made disgusting by their "salt" salad dressing. Someone had the very bad idea of thinking vegetables smothered in nothing but a lot of salt would be a tasty choice.

We were glad we got our food fuel, because our next stop on this warm Saturday was to walk back to Manhattan via the Brooklyn Bridge.