In a section of Brooklyn nestled between Green-Wood Cemetery and Bay Ridge, there lies one of the most diverse neighborhoods in New York City. Sunset Park is small, but this tiny community makes up for its size by providing great food, activities, and some of the best views of New York City that you can get. Spend a day seeing the area’s sites with NYTG Neighborhood Guide: Sunset Park (and download our map here).
NYTG Neighborhood Guide: Sunset Park
Take the Brooklyn-bound R train to 45th Street, walk two blocks north and a block east, and you’ll find yourself at the foot of the neighborhood’s namesake. Sunset Park is 25 acres of green space that features winding bike paths, a public swimming pool, and summits with phenomenal views of Manhattan, Staten Island, and New Jersey. The Sunset Park Landmarks Committee offers guided tours of its historical sites and the neighborhoods that surround it.
5th Avenue borders the park on the west; the street is known by locals as “Little Latin America” for the abundance of South American-inspired restaurants, shops, and bakeries that line the pavement. Check out International Restaurant for an authentic Cuban sandwich, or go to El Comal to try a chamoyada, a Mexican treat made with shaved ice, mango, and chili powder that’s hard to find anywhere else. Tacos El Bronco, located further west on 8th Avenue, also serves up some of the best Mexican food in the borough.
Walk one block east from Sunset Park to get to 8th Avenue, often referred to as “Brooklyn’s Chinatown”. Here you’ll find Buddhist temples, traditional Asian markets, and restaurants. Stop into Ba Xuyen for some of the best Vietnamese food in Brooklyn. Kai Feng Fu Dumpling House on the corner of 8th and 48th Street serves all kinds of Chinese soups, pan cakes, and buns, but their house specialty can’t be missed; at $2 an order, you can get all the pork, chicken, mushroom, or shrimp dumplings your stomach can fit. Stop at Tbaar at the corner of 49th Street afterwards for a bubble tea, or head to Pacificana down the block at 55th Street to further stuff yourself with dim sum. Soothe your impending bellyache with a mixture from Ten Ren Tea & Ginseng Co. on the corner of 59th Street, or buy some loose tea leaves to take home.
Before it became the family-friendly neighborhood it is today, Sunset Park was a hub for New York’s shipping and manufacturing industries. You can still get a taste of that at Industry City, a sprawling six million square feet of renovated space on the waterfront. This area has been transformed into a business and cultural center, complete with offices and art galleries mixed in with residential space. It serves as the winter home of Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg, and hosts events throughout the year like wine festivals, craft fairs, children’s movie nights, and open studio days where artists showcase their work. Industry City even has its own food hall, where you can sample snacks from local vendors like Blue Marble Ice Cream, Red Rabbit, and Colson Patisserie. If you can’t find anything there to cure your sugar craving, go to Green Fig Bakery Café for a Chocolate Cigar and accompanying cappuccino.
Sunset Park may not be known for its nightlife, but there are a few choice venues to check out before you leave. Melody Lanes on 37th Street is one of the last authentic bowling alleys in New York City, and Brooklyn’s Tiki Bar on 4th Avenue has all the kitschy cocktails and décor that its name implies. Head south on 4th towards Bay Ridge if you want a more traditional drinking experience – Irish Haven seems like such a typical townie tavern that it was used as a mob hangout in several scenes of The Departed. Drink your fill with locals who inspired Leo and Jack’s performances, and catch the N/R train at 59th Street to head to your next destination.
So concludes NYTG Neighborhood Guide: Sunset Park — check out other NYTG Guides
Feature image courtesy of Kim Snyder.