10 Reasons to Visit "America's Coolest Neighborhood" Sunset Park

Explore Sunset Park

World Market
••• Alison Lowenstein

A few miles from the brownstone lined streets of Park Slope there's a vibrant neighborhood, which has been recently named the “Coolest Neighborhood in America.”  With the the rebirth of Industry City, a multiple building complex which now houses a food hall, distillery, various craft and arts related fairs, as well as thousands of square feet of studio space for Brooklyn’s artists and makers, Sunset Park is quickly becoming a destination for edgy travelers. From the arty transformation of the waterfront factories into shopping centers and art studios along Third Avenue to Brooklyn's Chinatown on Eighth Avenue, there is something for everyone to enjoy during a trip to Sunset Park.

This area which is sandwiched between Greenwood Heights and Bay Ridge, is also experiencing a hotel boom with hotels slated for various locations including Industry City and discussions of a light rail system running through Sunset Park, there's no doubt this area will visibly change within the next...MORE few years. However, you don't have to wait for this cool neighborhood to transform, because it's already cool. The beauty of Sunset Park is the diversity, the community, and the authenticity, so before it becomes overly hyped, visit this section of Brooklyn when it still lives up to the hype. From shopping to ethnic eats, add these ten activities to your itinerary and definitely put Sunset Park on your list of must-visit neighborhoods to visit in Brooklyn.

  • 01 of 10
    Liberty View Industrial Plaza
    ••• Alison Lowenstein

    The recently opened Liberty View Industrial Plaza has multiple shops including Saks Off Fifth, Buy Buy Baby, and a spacious Bed, Bath and Beyond (if you're a Bed, Bath and Beyond addict like Abbi in Broad City, this shop will quickly be a favorite). Although there are many retail chains in this intelligently redesigned Industrial space, they have carved out areas of the shops for locally produced products.

    The ultra hip shopping center is also home to the Bay Market Kitchen, "a place where the community comes together to enjoy casual American cuisine, handpicked specialty products, locally roasted coffee, and craft beers—all native to Brooklyn and neighboring boroughs." As the mall begins to fill with new tenants, this will quickly become a shopping haven for locals. The parking lot is an amenity if you're driving around Brooklyn.

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    Gone are the days of the speakeasy and making alcohol in your bathtub, now you can score some good gin at a local distillery. Brooklyn's distillery scene is expanding and Sunset Park is home to two distilleries, Industry City Distillery and Breukelen Distilling. Although you can't tour or visit Breukelen Distilling, they produce whisky and gin that is made in Sunset Park. If you're looking for a factory tour and tasting, head to Industry City Distillery. The tasting room is open to the public. Enjoy an Industry Martini made with their notable vodka, as you gaze at the amazing views of New York bay from the tasting room. The tasting room is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 4pm-10pm. If you’d like a hard hat tour of the distillery, they’re given at 3pm on Saturday. Due to limited space, you must reserve a spot on their website. 

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    If you have a sweet tooth, you should spend an afternoon at the Food Hall in Industry City. The Food Hall on the ground floor of this mammoth industrial home to artists and makers has outposts of Blue Marble, Colson Patisserie, One Girl Cookies and Liddabit Sweets, all of which could satiate any fan of sweets. If you're looking for savory fare, pop into Ends Meats for a sandwich made with Italian style meats. I should note that the Food Hall is open weekdays, and on weekends some of the restaurants are closed. 

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    Foodies flock to the food court attached to the Fei Long Supermarket. With nine choices including the popular Shanghai Dumpling House, you can feast on various Asian specialities at the food court. Grab a seat as you dine on noodles, teriyaki, rice dishes and other good eats. If eating dumpling inspires you to cook, you can easily spend hours perusing the aisles of the Fei Long Supermarket, packed with speciality items and everything you'll need to make your own dumplings at home.

    If you'd rather an afternoon of dim sum instead of dining at a food court, head to Eighth Avenue and get a table at Pacificana for their  dim sum. After the dim sum service is over the restaurant serves traditional Chinese American food. This stretch of Eighth Avenue in Sunset Park is filled with many Asian restaurants, so you really have your pick. It's also a great place to celebrate the upcoming Lunar New Year

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  • 05 of 10

    Prospect Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park might be the most visited parks in Brooklyn, but Sunset Park is one of New York City's best parks. Watch the sun set over the Manhattan skyline from this verdant park. In the summer, locals flocks to the Art Deco style pool constructed in the 1930s, which is open to everyone. The park also has an indoor rec center for the winter months. On warmer days, you can play basketball or simply stroll through the park. 

    Another great park to visit, although you can't see a winter sunset because the park closes at 4pm is Bush Terminal Park. The waterfront park in an industrial part of Sunset Park, which was once a port, opened as a park in 2014.  Enter at 43rd Street, and stroll along the waterfront esplanade or check out the nature preserve at the park. 


     

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    Fill up on Tacos and Tamales

    Sunset Park is home to a large latino community and is known for its plethora of Mexican restaurants. Folks travel to Sunset Park for incredibly tasty and inexpensive tacos and tamales. Favorite spots include Tacos el Bronco. If you’re heading there for lunch the $1.50 tacos should appease all taco lovers. And if you think you can’t get good food for under two bucks, Tacos de Bronco made the list of top Mexican restaurants in NYC by Food Network Magazine. Don’t want to sit down for a proper meal? They also have a food truck parked on 5th Avenue in Sunset Park. For a fun brunch, go to Maria's Bistro Mexicano in Sunset Park. They offer an unlimited Bloody Mary and Mimosa brunch. The combo of liquor and Mexican staples like Huevos Rancheros and Tamales, makes Maria's Bistro Mexicano the perfect place to start a decadent weekend.

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    Gamers can make a pilgrimage to this Sunset Park arcade which recently relocated into a larger space on Fourth Avenue. Next Level "is equipped with nine cabinets that focus on head-to-head button-mashers such as Street Fighter IV and Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Consoles like Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 are set up to play contemporary titles, which can be selected from Next Level's extensive library." The arcade also hosts tournaments, but if you just want a fun day playing video games alongside fellow gamers, it's $5 for the first hour or $10 for the day. If you need to rent a joystick, its $5 per joystick or $3 per pad. They also have a board game and card area for those who like to play games that aren't set in the digital world. 

  • 08 of 10

    Bowl a Strike

    The one thing that is seriously missing from Sunset Park is nightlife. There's a Tiki Bar on Fourth Avenue, but besides that, there's a dearth of good bars. Unlike Park Slope's Fifth Avenue, where you have your pick of fun cocktail spots, Sunset Park is still a bit sleepy. However, if you want to drink at an old school bar, make your way to Melody Lanes. The old school bowling alley houses a bar and an arcade. Locals hang out there, but if you really want to have a fun night in Sunset Park, rent some bowling shoes and try to get a strike or a spare. In the evenings, they have glow bowling. 

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  • 09 of 10

    Industry City has attracted a lot of artists to the neighborhood, but it's not the only place to see local art work. Stop in the art gallery Tabla Rasa that" profiles works of emerging, mid-career, and established artists of Brooklyn, New York, and the United States." It's housed in a  a turn of the century carriage house on 48th Street. Or check out the open studios and other events at The New York Art Residency and Studios (NARS) Foundation on 46th street, look at their website for upcoming dates for these programs and information about what is on view at their gallery. 

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    The newly opened High Points Wine and Spirits in Sunset Park (677 40th Street off 7th Ave), is run by a local family, and offers free tastings on Fridays from 6-9pm of everything from Brooklyn distilled whisky to Spanish port. If you're looking to start your weekend with a free tasting, this is the spot. Afterward you can dine at one of the many ethnic restaurants or head to the distillery at Industry City for a drink at their tasting room. This wine shop is a great new addition to the neighborhood and also hosts events, check their calendar to see what they'll be hosting in the new year.