Explore: In the Heights of Brooklyn

Calling an area 'Blah blah HEIGHTS' always makes it sound more exalted to me, which is probably the exact reason why any place ends up with heights tacked on to the end of its name. I feel this way even though I grew up in Torbay, where the nicest part is down by the beach, a fair way away from the place known as Torbay Heights (that's not to say that Torbay Heights isn't nice, though. I don't know for sure, but it's Torbay. Everywhere's quite nice). Brooklyn Heights, however, is genuinely lovely. H1 and I paid it a visit over the weekend. I had never been there before, although I've been close to it on multiple occasions. It's such a private, tucked away sort of suburb that you really don't end up there unless you intend to be there, even though it's hemmed in by such frequently-visited places as the Brooklyn Bridge, and Downtown Brooklyn, and the East River.

Brownstones in Brooklyn Heights.
Brownstones in Brooklyn Heights.

On Saturday, the perfect spring day that it was, Brooklyn Heights was blooming. The streets were quiet, with only a few extraordinarily pleasant people out and about. Down by the water, in and around the Brooklyn Bridge Park, cyclists and runners and families abounded, but the feeling was still far, far quieter than Manhattan. More subtle, if you like. Less in-your-face, as befits such a genteel area.

In full bloom.
In full bloom.

H1 and I meandered past the beautiful brownstones, through the park, and then back onto Front Street to enjoy huevos rancheros at Gran Electrica, followed by a visit to the carousel on the Dumbo side of the park. I tired quickly, thanks to the lingering vestiges of my blasted cold, so we called it a day after a wander up and down the commercial strips of Henry and Montague Streets. 'Commercial', really. Although I'm not denying that there were indeed stores, bars, and restaurants lining both these streets, it was all very hushed still, even in the mid-afternoon of a sunny Saturday.

The Brooklyn Bridge in the foreground and the Manhattan Bridge in the background.
The Brooklyn Bridge in the foreground and the Manhattan Bridge in the background.
Looking out to the Statue of Liberty (which apparently technically resides in New Jersey territory - sacrilege!)
Looking out to the Statue of Liberty (which apparently technically resides in New Jersey territory - sacrilege!)

I tried to look in the windows of several real estate agents, but was stymied in my efforts each and every time by H1, who seems to consider it a waste of time to look at the prices and features of places in areas we don't want to live. Bizarre, I know. I tried to justify it by pointing out that Brooklyn Heights may well be somewhere we want to live - it's certainly lovely enough - but he simply bounced it back to me by asking if I would really want to live out of Manhattan, while still paying Manhattan levels of rent (in this sentence, Manhattan is synonymous with stratospheric).

Short answer, no. Even having a 'Heights' in my address would not lure me to Brooklyn, not at this stage of my life. Would I visit again, though? For sure. After all, when you're on the Brooklyn waterfront you can just turn around and get a good look at Manhattan - and that makes it well worth it*.

Looking back at Manhattan from the Brooklyn waterfront.
Looking back at Manhattan from the Brooklyn waterfront.

*Plus other things. I have to admit that I do like most parts of Brooklyn really, even though I like to amuse myself with my Manhattan-centric stance.