A button-filled bike ride through NYC’s hippest borough
With six miles of greenway along the East River waterfront, there’s no better way to enjoy Brooklyn on a Saturday than by bicycle! Keep an eye out for custom buttons along the way to commemorate your journey.
Our tour starts in Williamsburg where the boutique shopping is some of the best in town. Catbird at 219 Bedford Ave has been selling beautiful jewelry made from fair trade and conflict free materials since 2004. Stop in to browse their delicate earrings, necklaces, rings and other gift items and look for adorable custom buttons featuring DJ-ing cats and illustrated swans. Next, pedal six blocks up Bedford to N. 11th Street to find Beacon’s Closet, a vintage clothing mecca stocked with groovy retro threads for guys and gals. Pick up a 1” button featuring their bespectacled baby face logo at the checkout counter.
Now that you’ve worked up a thirst from all that shopping, just across the street is Brooklyn Brewery. Enjoy a free tour of the brewery and cap it off with a refreshing pint of Brooklyn Summer Ale or Greenmarket Wheat in their tasting room. It’s even better straight from the source. Look for custom buttons with the brewery’s iconic logo designed by Milton Glaser, the graphic designer best known for creating the famous “I ❤️ NY” logo.
Before you wobble back onto your bikes, it’s time to stroll over to the waterfront and fill up on artisanal foodstuffs at Smorgasburg in East River State Park, a weekly pop-up localvore food wonderland. Try favorites like Red Hook Lobster, Chickpea & Olive, and Dough doughnuts.
Next you could work off those calories by heading south on the Kent Ave bike path… or, you could hitch a ride on the East River Ferry. For only $4, plus one buck to bring a bike, you’ll enjoy cool breezes and breathtaking views of Manhattan as you cruise under the Williamsburg, Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges towards DUMBO. Hop ashore at Old Fulton St to explore the cobblestone streets of one of Brooklyn’s oldest neighborhoods. Once a bustling manufacturing district, DUMBO (which stands for Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass) is now a bustling hub for tech startups and creative firms. It’s also a lovely spot for snapping selfies in the park and sipping locally roasted, cold brewed iced coffee from Brooklyn Roasting Company. Visit their headquarters at 25 Jay Street and get invigorated by the aromas.
From here, pedal south through Brooklyn Bridge Park enjoying winding pathways landscaped with native flora framing gorgeous views of New York Harbor and downtown Manhattan. Continuing south down the Columbia Street greenway, make your way to the sleepy seaside neighborhood of Red Hook. On Van Brunt Street you’ll find quirky boutiques like Erie Basin, an antique jewelry and curiosities shop, Foxy & Winston where owner Jane Buck sells screen printed and letterpress creations, and Wooden Sleepers, a shop that specializes in vintage menswear and supplies for rugged all-American living. To celebrate the opening, Wooden Sleepers owner Brian Davis teamed up with designer and Busy Beaver pal, Jon Contino, to create a set of vintage-inspired buttons that look right at home among the store’s weathered and worn aesthetic.
You can’t pay a visit to Red Hook without swinging by Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies, a little shack near the waterfront that sells an amazing treat called the swingle – a mini key lime pie, dipped in chocolate, and frozen like a popsicle. Take one out onto Valentino Pier where you can enjoy a sunset over the harbor.
With the day coming to a close, it’s time to head inland and visit the shores of another Brooklyn waterway, the Gowanus Canal. Back north to Union Street, head east until you cross over the murky— er, peaceful waters of the canal. At 514 Union St is the expansive Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, a kitchy bar that pays tribute to the pleasures of Florida retirement with ten shuffleboard courts, tiki cocktails, board games and lots of retro charm (including vintage-inspired shuffleboard club 1” buttons). Shuffle and drink the night away, and when you get hungry, check out one of the visiting food trucks there until midnight. A relaxing end to our Brooklyn Tour de Button!