When I lived in Brussels, many of my European friends would ask me for recommendations about what to see or do in New York City. The main thing I advised is to cross the bridge into one of the many neighborhoods which define New York. I began my frequent travels to NYC in 1996, as a college freshman, joining my friends for the weekend. From Indian food in Queens to Pizza in Brooklyn, these trips developed a special fondness for the Boroughs. In no other place in the world can you have such diversity of food, people, and activities. In many ways, many of those communities represent America at its best: a mix of cultures with the same aspirations.

Although many years have passed since my first crossing of the Holland Tunnel on my 1986 Cutlass Supreme, I always manage to find something new and amazing beyond Manhattan. This past weekend, it was the birthday of the woman who has truly defined New York to me: my best friend Jaime. I had my first Dim Sum in Chinatown with her and spent many nights with her family in Brooklyn. The Dutchman had been to NYC once, but never beyond Manhattan.  This was a very short trip (48 hours) but it really gave the Dutchman a sense of life beyond Manhattan and for me, as always, something new to explore.

After spending Saturday catching up with friends, we spent Sunday enjoying Brooklyn before heading home. We started our day at Dassara, a ramen restaurant in Carol Gardens.  I got started with the spiciest Bloody Mary I’ve ever had followed by fried chicken buns.  We also shared a delicious chicken ramen with chicken and waffles. To work our brunch we went for a little walk on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Despite the cloudy day, it had a spectacular view of Manhattan, truly looking forward to returning in the summer. We finished our walk at the Fulton Ferry Pier with more beautiful views of New York City.

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