Brooklyn: Prospect Park, Botanical Gardens & Barboncino Pizza

Good morning. What to do when it’s 3am and jet lag has hit you hard? Start writing your trip recap of course! Unfortunately day 2 of being back, jet lag is in full effect. Coming from someone who thinks it should be illegal to wake up before 7am, this is my least favorite part of travel. But hey, I had an amazing 17 day honeymoon so I guess I can’t complain about lack of sleep.

The first stop of our honeymoon was an extended layover in Brooklyn, New York. The last time we were in New York, we enjoyed most of the “tourist” spots and didn’t venture much outside of that since we had a full schedule of things we wanted to see. This time around we planned to enjoy a more relaxing stop in Brooklyn before the trip and an extended layover in Manhattan on our way back. We really enjoyed our time in Brooklyn but there were three definite highlights from our time there.

Prospect Park

The husband and I have been hearing a lot about this park being the new (some argue better) “Central Park” so we knew we had to check it out for ourselves. Our first night in, we made sure to grab some Shake Shack for dinner (being a Cali girl, I’m shocked to say this but Shake Shack is my In-N-Out all the way!) before heading to bed. We woke up bright and early which allowed us to walk through the Green-Wood cemetery, which I highly recommend if you have the time, to get to Prospect Park. When we walked through Prospect Park, there was so much going on being that it was a Saturday. It looked like a school race was going on so there a ton of families but the amount of runners and bikers shocked me. The running path was filled with people enjoying the nice weather! Much like Central Park, the path is extremely large and also has small side running trails. We cut through to explore and find a spot to lay out, read and soak up the nice weather. We passed a lake, the boathouse and some statues before we found a spot next to the water. The weather was perfect and the park, although lively was peaceful, especially next to the lake. I still don’t know which park I like best but Prospect Park did not disappoint. On our way to get lunch, we walked through more of Prospect Park to see the sports facilities, even more statues and the zoo.

Barboncino Pizza
We found this place on Yelp and was a fairly easy walk from the park. I am actually not a big pizza girl but since the husband loves it, I’ve been coming around to it as I find more than just cheese pizza that I like. These pizzas were not your average take out pizza. One pie was topped with eggplant and zucchini, the other with red peppers, tomatoes, arugula, parmesan and olive oil. Holy cow, both were full of flavor and the perfect compliment to a glass of red wine! The decor and vibe of the restaurant were unique with rustic brick walls, exposed copper pipes, old fashioned light bulbs. From the outside what seems like a very small restaurant is actually a two level place with outside seating and a stone oven to cook their pizzas. The husband and I both agree this one of our top meals during the trip!

Botanical Gardens

The gardens were the one thing that we had on our schedule from our last trip that never happened so I was thrilled to make it this time around. As expected, the spring was the perfect time to visit. The flowers were in full bloom (although we found out we just missed the cherry blossoms) and green everywhere. Coming from a state in a drought, this is always much appreciated. My favorite part of the gardens was the Japanese Hill & Pond garden surrounding a lake filled with turtles, frogs and fish. In the center of the park, there is also a beautiful tree filled grass area, that many people were enjoying, just like the park. Lastly, I was impressed by the large space they had for a discovery center for kids. The gardens really offer something for everyone.

Tell me: Do you like pizza? If so, what’s your favorite kind? Do you prefer Chicago or New York style?

I still haven’t had Chicago pizza so a trip is definitely needed to try! :)

Three Places to Go in New York… and 3 to Skip

When we took our trip last year to New York, our week was jam packed with activities. Our list was filled with the usual tourist spots as well as some of the less frequented places. Unfortunately the cold hindered us a bit in what we did but made a huge dent in our list of places to go and things to see. In one month, we are headed back to New York for two days before our Greece trip and returning back to the city for a few more days. We plan to fill our time visiting a few spots we did not make the first time around. We also have added a few new places and plan to explore more of Brooklyn this time around. Today for Travel Thursday, I wanted to share 3 Places To Go in New York and 3 Places To Skip.

3 Things to See in New York...3 Things to Skip in New York-2

3 Places To Go in New York

Radio City Hall Tour – Since we purchased a New York Pass, we were able to take tours at almost all of the major spots. We stopped at Radio City, located  on an early morning, looking for some relief from the 10 degree weather. The husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the knowledge of the guide who worked in the hall. We were taken backstage, enjoyed an interview with performers of the Rockettes and were even taken to the are where the audio set-up happens. We got to watch some of the rehearsal of their spring show with the Rockettes. It was a blast!

Museum of American Finance – We stopped at the Museum before our walking tour through the financial district. Being an economics major in college and having taken many money and banking classes, I was geeking out a little. The museum was informational and interactive. There were so many displays of old currencies, the explanation of how money is made and how the United States banking systems work. It was the perfect compliment to the Financial District Tour we took after. I would highly recommend visiting as it is a smaller museum  that is worth the time.

Highline – The Highline is one of the places I am most excited about visiting again. When we last saw it, it was covered in snow and about 10 degrees outside. Seeing it in the spring, being used for readers, art classes and musicians, I believe I will love it even more. The Highline is a converted railroad track that has utilized the growing vegetation into a park for residents. This aerial park runs through my favorite areas in New York, starting at the Meatpacking District, spanning through Chelsea. All I keep thinking about is grabbing a book and enjoying the spring weather this time around.

Highline Planks and Planes

3 Places To Skip in New York

Empire State Building – We visited on our last night in New York. While the ESB is iconic, the lines are terrible, it was crowded when we got to the top and in comparison, Top of The Rock was better. Of course, I had to go just once but if I returned I would visit the Top of the Rock over the ESB.

Guggenheim – Maybe the Guggenheim was worth skipping to me because there are so many other museums that are worth the time. The nearby Met, MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) and the American Museum of Natural History. While the architecture of the museum is worth walking by, the museum is small and includes a walk through that requires you to circle upwards as you view the art.

Grand Central Station – My husband does not agree with me on this one and was surprised I am adding it. It was awesome to visit the inside of the iconic Grand Central but it was more to just to say I’ve been. We added the stop on the way to the NY Public Library in Bryant Park which made it more enjoyable. However, if you were looking for something to cut on a short trip to NY, this is one I would recommend.


Tell me: Have you traveled with a spouse, partner, friend or family member that liked a place you didn’t or vice versa?

Missed the last Travel Thursday posts? Check out the Travel page for past posts.