Bay Ridge is like the shy kid in school who, unbeknownst to everyone, leads a double life as a Broadway singer. In other words, this southern Brooklyn neighborhood has a lot more going on than you might expect. Waterfront parks give way to eye-popping views of the New York harbor and Verrazano Bridge, long-standing neighborhood institutions share the streets with popular newcomers, and there’s a general, “I don’t care what people think of me” vibe to the neighborhood that makes it authentically New York. So if you’re planning on paying a visit to Bay Ridge, here’s one way to spend the perfect day:
First stop,Mike’s Donuts!
Serving glazed beauties since 1976, regulars and newbies alike flock here to get their morning donut fix. So pull up a stool, grab a cup of hot coffee, and sink your teeth into a fluffy donut. Crowd pleasers include the classic glazed, fruity-pebble sprinkled, and coconut. Better yet, a donut and coffee will only run you $2.50. Just don’t forget to take out some cash before stopping by.
Make your way to the Narrows Botanical Garden
This riverfront garden is a much-welcomed oasis in a city known for pizza-eating rats, so give yourself some time to wander the meandering paths and smell the roses, so to speak. After a stroll in the garden, take a leisurely walk along the East River until you reach the base of the Verrazano Bridge, one of the city’s most stunning and impressive feats of engineering.
Visit the whimsical Gingerbread House
Taken straight from the pages of a fairy book, this imaginative home is one of Bay Ridge’s most talked about architectural gems. Completed in 1917 in the Arts and Crafts style popularized in Great Britain and Europe in the mid 19th century, this house is built from rustic stone and topped with a beautiful undulating rooftop, reminiscent of the thatched roofs found in the English countryside. If you spot a little elf in the window, you’ve reached the right place.
Pick up a new book at The Bookmark Shoppe
Looking for your next subway page-turner or a small gift for your friend’s birthday? Pop into The Bookmark Shoppe, a long-standing community bookstore with a small town vibe. While the selection isn’t massive, it’s a good mix of classics and contemporary reads. Not sure what to get? Just ask the owner, she’s more than happy to give a recommendation.
Pay Homage to Cinema history at Lenny’s Pizza
It’s hard to talk about Bay Ridge without mentioning Saturday Night Fever. This iconic disco drama starring John Travolta unfolds in the streets and dance halls of a bygone Bay Ridge. And while the light-up disco floors are certainly gone, you can still scarf down two slices from Lenny’s Pizza, an old-school slice shop that was put on the map after Tony, played by Travolta, ordered two slices on top of each and proceeded to strut up 86th street in the opening scene from Saturday Night Fever. Two slices and a soda will cost you $5.
Did you say charcuterie board? – The Owls Head
To fulfill your weekly meat, cheese, and wine quota, head over to The Owls Head. Tucked away on a side street, this cozy wine bar is the perfect place to chill out, enjoy a drink, and nibble on some tasty bites. And if wine doesn’t float your boat, they also have a good selection of craft beer and one or two ciders on the menu. As for food, you can’t go wrong with the charcuterie board and mini pies from Four & Twenty Blackbird.
End the day with a show at the Brooklyn Firefly
Delicious Pizza ✓ Live music ✓ Chill atmosphere ✓ Open since 2016, the Brooklyn Firefly has quickly become a neighborhood staple. The inviting space, simple menu, and a showcase of local musicians keep the place pretty busy. So stop in, order a pie and a drink at the old-timey bar and sit back and enjoy some live music. The perfect place to end the perfect day in Bay Ridge.