Author Topic: Taking my septugenarian parents to Brooklyn - any ideas?  (Read 1737 times)


  • Handlebar Stache
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Taking my septugenarian parents to Brooklyn - any ideas?
« on: May 26, 2017, 12:28:28 PM »
My dear parents -- age 70 and 73 -- who are both still pretty active and healthy have been dropping hints that they want to go back to New York.  I think this is kind of endearing for some odd reason.  (They visited last year as part of a tour and liked it, but didn't get to do all they wanted.  They said there were too many "old" people on their trip who couldn't get around.)  I've been a few times and in the YOLO spirit have offered to go with them in late September and be their tour guide.  They want to go on walking tours of Central Park, see some of the neighborhoods, try to go to a taping of the Stephen Colbert show (yeah, impossible, but I'd move the earth if I could make it happen for them), and I'm not sure what else.  I'll just squire them around with their reduced fare subway passes.

In the past when I've visited with my husband, we've always stayed near Union Square (Strand Bookstore, ya'll!).  I've decided to forego staying in Manhattan and have narrowed our lodging choices down to a few flats in Brooklyn, close to express train lines and parks.  It's more spacious, much cheaper, and we can cook some meals at night.  I like the neighborhood feel.  Most days we'll train hop to see what we want in Manhattan, then come back out to Brooklyn.

Other than the obvious things to do in Brooklyn (Botanical Garden and Prospect Park) do people have any other semi-Mustachian suggestions?  (Collectively, we enjoy cooking, bookstores, parks, botanic gardens, libraries, good eats, people watching, history...) 

I want it to be a memorable trip.  They're taking our family on a trip to Alaska this summer (all expenses paid) to celebrate their 50th anniversary and I want to make this nice for them and give them a few thrills (which don't have to cost a lot of money).


  • Bristles
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Re: Taking my septugenarian parents to Brooklyn - any ideas?
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2017, 12:30:31 PM »
Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Museum and the Botanical gardens for a start.
Greenwood cemetery.
Red Hook...very cool view of the East River and lower Manhattan.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Taking my septugenarian parents to Brooklyn - any ideas?
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2017, 12:54:52 PM »
We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, which I thought was pretty cool...


  • Senior Mustachian
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Re: Taking my septugenarian parents to Brooklyn - any ideas?
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2017, 01:31:22 PM »
I think we went from the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens to Coney Island - may not be so exciting in September.
Brooklyn Zoo?


  • Bristles
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Re: Taking my septugenarian parents to Brooklyn - any ideas?
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2017, 02:48:59 PM »
Checking out the Dumbo Waterfront is pretty nice, as is Smorgasburg in Williamsburg. The Staten Island Ferry, free, is a nice trip, and they give you enough time to get back on the boat so you don't have to stay in Staten Island until the next boat. If you are heading into Manhattan at all, the High Line is a great place for parents. The Brooklyn Museum is extra fun on First Fridays though a little zoo-y. Some parents like that others don't. Red Hook has a lot of nice vintage vibe to it and some good brunch options like Fort Defiance, also good for cocktails. Also check the summer concert schedule in Prospect Park. Those are free and fun usually. Enjoy!


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Taking my septugenarian parents to Brooklyn - any ideas?
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2017, 06:07:56 PM »
I wouldn't bother with the Prospect Park Zoo unless they're either 1) REALLY INTO ZOOS! or 2) don't have a good zoo locally.  Instead, for sights/activities centered around Prospect Park I'd suggest (roughly from North to South):

Grand Army Plaza - triumphal arch and fountain; farmer's market on Saturdays; the Montauk Club; Brooklyn Public Library main branch
Brooklyn Museum - especially if you see any exhibits or events scheduled that look particularly interesting
Brooklyn Botanic Garden - already on your itinerary, definitely worthwhile
Prospect Park Boathouse/Audubon Center - make a point to pass this lovely building as you wander through the park
Smorgasburg - the Williamsburg location was mentioned, but it's also in the park on Sundays

The neighborhoods surrounding Prospect Park are great candidates for your parents to explore.  For brownstones, obviously Park Slope but I'm also very fond of Prospect Heights; and I can't stress enough how lovely it is in Prospect Park South/Ditmas Park - think tree-lined streets and Victorian mansions.

Brooklyn happily has a ton of good local bookstores, so I'd suggest googling around for 'best of' lists and dropping in on those that make sense based on where you'll be staying/sight-seeing.  I like Unnameable Books in Prospect Heights, Community Books in Park Slope, Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene (and also now Prospect Lefferts, a very quick detour from Prospect Park), and I just know I'm forgetting others.  On the Manhattan side, if you find yourself in SoHo, stop by the Housing Works bookstore for sure.

Weather will likely still be gorgeous in September, so I second the idea that Coney Island might be fun for an afternoon, if they're into either the beach or the fun-fair atmosphere.  Otherwise, definitely head to DUMBO/Brooklyn Heights and do Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Promenade, and walk across one of the bridges.  I think the Manhattan Bridge is totally underrated, and if you walk from Brooklyn to Manhattan you'll end up on Canal Street ready for dim sum :)  But of course, the Brooklyn Bridge is iconic - you can't go wrong with either one.

Also YES to Greenwood Cemetery!  If they won't think you're trying to imply something.  It's honestly so beautiful and certainly full of history.