Sunday 20 October 2019

Brooklyn Rules: Bowling and bites in New York's hippest 'hood

From hip hotels to hi-tech bowling alleys, Gillian Tsoi skips Manhattan for a short break over the bridge in Brooklyn

Iconic: Brooklyn Bridge in New York
Iconic: Brooklyn Bridge in New York
1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
Domino Park

Gillian Tsoi

In fashionable Williamsburg, we don ugly shoes before hitting the bowling alley.

There, we feast on BBQ ribs, crunchy fries, sinful mac-and-cheese and succulent prawns, all washed down with G&Ts and Cokes. A funk band works its magic on stage, entertaining a crowded dancefloor. Welcome to the hi-tech Brooklyn Bowl, a hip hybrid of ten-pin bowling, gluttonous food and rock 'n' roll. It's what American dreams are made of.

Guilty pleasures

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1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

Lazing on a hammock, I take in the jaw-dropping view from my trendy suite at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge. To the right, just minutes away, is the magnificent bridge; to the left, the Statue of Liberty stands majestically in the distance. I've just returned from the hotel's rooftop bar, where guests relax in the infinity pool, anticipating sunset over the Atlantic. Others sip on cooling cocktails, or tuck into lobster rolls and poké bowls. Mellow beats play in the background, and punters stay to enjoy drinks and dancing and the city's panorama until late. But morning welcomes a different scene as yogis roll out their mats for sunrise practise. At this hip, eco-friendly hotel base in Brooklyn, it's all about balance.

Top Tip

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Domino Park

Take a stroll in Domino Park, set along the East River on the site of the old Domino Sugar Refinery. With sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline, the park features playful fountains, a beach volleyball court and clever playground using reclaimed materials from the original factory, a nod to Williamsburg’s industrial roots.

Insider intel

On the Williamsburg Bites tour, a local will guide you to the best eateries, offering cultural tidbits about the neighbourhood along the way. We ate at a traditional Polish bakery, authentic pizzeria and artisan chocolate factory, and devoured smoky Sloppy Joes and cheesy bagel-bombs before finishing up in a retro-style ice-cream parlour. After much indecisiveness, I chose the home-made miso-and-cherry flavour: a sweet scoop of heaven.

Top tip

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge? Start before sunset, so you get to experience the skyline by day and night. Allow a good hour for the 1.5km walk, and take the subway back. See also


I took the Williamsburg Bites tour in a 35°C heatwave: pick a cooler day to really savour the adventure!

Get there

Gillian was a guest of the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge (; B&B in a Dumbo king room from €485) and Aer Lingus, which flies up to four times daily to New York (; 'Saver' fares from €159 each-way). For more ideas on what to see, do and eat in New York, see

Read more:

The New York Bucket List: 25 things to do in the Big Apple before you die!

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