East Brooklyn encompasses Cypress Hills, East New York, Canarsie, Bergen Beach, Flatlands, Mill Basin, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, and Barren Island. Even many New Yorkers from outside these neighborhoods seldom if ever visit, and these areas represent unlikely tourist destinations, unless you are visiting friends or attending a specific event. That said, there are some unique though lesser-visited attractions in the area.
- Cypress Hills is a small ethnically diverse subsection of East New York separated from the rest of the neighborhood by Atlantic Avenue.
- East New York like many Brooklyn neighborhoods is rich in its own history with homes where farms once stood and its many parks like Highland Park where children can roam free to play. The Gateway Mall is one of the few suburban-like malls in the city and the City Line subsection or Liberty Avenue is where residents can come and do their shopping for food and clothing. Alongside the projects, parks and new homes are popping up everywhere. Like Brownsville, East New York is one of most dangerous communities in New York City, though the crime rate has dropped quite a lot since the bad old days a few decades ago. Most visitors to New York City only pass through on their way to or from John F. Kennedy Airport on the A and J trains or the B15 bus.
- Canarsie is a West Indian neighborhood with somewhat of a "small-town" feel, largely composed of 1- and 2-family houses. The major commercial streets are Rockaway Parkway and parts of Seaview Avenue.
- Mill Basin and Bergen Beach are largely residential areas, predominantly occupied by Italian, Jewish, and Russian inhabitants.
This area has relatively poor subway coverage compared to most of Brooklyn. There are no subways to the Flatlands area--the closest station is Flatbush Avenue-Brooklyn College on the 2 and (rush hours) 5 --almost an hour away by walking (though buses along streets like Flatbush Avenue and Avenue H can bring you there faster)!
Canarsie is somewhat better served, with the L terminating at Canarsie--Rockway Parkway, which is about 25 minutes away from Jamaica Bay by walking (though the B42 bus goes to Canarsie Piers from the station). The L is somewhat difficult to access from elsewhere in Brooklyn, but the G, M, J/Z, and A/C all have transfers to it.
On the other hand, if you're visiting East New York, probably the area of least interest to travelers due to the high crime, you are spoiled for choice. The 3 terminates at New Lots Avenue, the closest station to the Bay (but once again, still a distance). The A/C and J/Z also have lots of stops in East New York. If you're traveling directly to Brooklyn from JFK, you will probably pass through here--rest assured, the trains are safe.
Long Island Railroad's Atlantic Branch has a single stop in this district at East New York. Trains stopping here are heading to or originate from Atlantic Terminal.
The BM1, BM2, BM4, and BM5 express buses come here from Manhattan.
Given the spotty subway coverage and high crime in some parts of this area, East Brooklyn may well be one of the few places best reached by car. The Belt Parkway and Shore Parkway circle Brooklyn and are very close to the attractions in the Jamaica Bay.
- 1 Bolla, 6202 Ave U (Ave U and Mill Ave), ☎ . Bolla's always poppin off, bro. Whether you're looking to grab some candy, or just drink beers in the parking lot, it's just always poppin!
- 2 Kings Plaza Mall, 5100 Kings Plaza ( train to Avenue U, transfer to B3 bus, trains to Kings Hwy for B2 bus, train to Avenue M for B9 bus, trains to Flatbush Ave for Q35/B41 buses, trains to Utica Ave for B46 bus).
- 3 Gateway Center Mall, 501 Gateway Dr ( to Crescent St for B13 bus, trains to Euclid Ave for Q8/B13 buses, trains to Broadway Junction for B83 bus, train to Pennsylvania Ave for B83 bus), ☎ . A suburban-type mall. While the mall itself is safe, use caution in the surrounding areas while you are on the bus to the mall.
- 1 Original's Pizza, 2351 Ralph Ave. Original's Pizza, or "OG's" as the locals refer to it, is home to some of the most authentic pizza you can find in South Brooklyn. You'll come for the plain, but you'll stay for the other creative slices they offer.
- 2 Dolly's Ices, Ave U and 58th St. A summertime favorite for South Brooklyn residents, Dolly's boasts a wide array of flavors which keep locals coming back for more.
- 3 Mill Basin Deli, 5823 Avenue T, ☎ . Known for some of the best pastrami in Brooklyn, the Mill Basin Deli is a true Brooklyn/Jewish Deli. If you find yourself in the area, a sandwich from here is a must.
- 1 Bill's Bar, 6326 Avenue N. A small watering hole found in Mill Basin, Bill's is one of the only bars in the area. Stop in here to get a taste of what the community is like.
- 1 Brooklyn Public Library (Arlington branch), 203 Arlington Ave (at Warwick; Subway: train to Cleveland St or train to Van Siclen Ave), ☎ . M 1PM-8PM, Tu-W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
- 2 Brooklyn Public Library (Canarsie branch), 1580 Rockaway Pkwy (at Avenue J; Subway: train to Rockaway Pkwy-Canarsie), ☎ . M-Tu 10AM-6PM, W 1PM-8PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
- 3 Brooklyn Public Library (Cypress Hills branch), 1197 Sutter Ave (at Crystal; Subway: trains to Euclid Ave), ☎ . M 10AM-6PM, Tu 1PM-8PM, W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
- 4 Brooklyn Public Library (Flatlands branch), 2065 Flatbush Ave (at Avenue P; Subway: trains to Flatbush Ave-Brooklyn College, then transfer to B41 bus to Flatbush Ave and Avenue P, train to Avenue M, then transfer to B9 bus to Flatbush Ave and Avenue P, or B train to Kings Hwy, then transfer to B82 bus to Flatbush Ave and Flatlands Ave), ☎ . M 10AM-6PM, Tu 1PM-8PM, W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-8PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
- 5 Brooklyn Public Library (Gerritsen Beach branch), 2808 Gerritsen Ave (at Bartlett; Subway: trains to Kings Hwy, then transfer to B31 bus to Gerritsen Ave and Bartlett Pl), ☎ . M 10AM-6PM, Tu 1PM-8PM, W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
- 6 Brooklyn Public Library (Jamaica Bay branch), 9727 Seaview Ave (at E 98th St; Subway: train to Rockaway Pkwy-Canarsie, then transfer to B42 bus to Rockaway Pkwy and Seaview Ave), ☎ . M 1PM-8PM, Tu-W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
- 7 Brooklyn Public Library (Mill Basin branch), 2385 Ralph Ave (at Avenue N; Subway: trains to Flatbush Ave-Brooklyn College, then transfer to B41 bus to Ralph Ave and Avenue N), ☎ . M 1PM-8PM, Tu-W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
- 8 Brooklyn Public Library (New Lots branch), 665 New Lots Ave (at Barbey; Subway: train to New Lots Ave), ☎ . M-Tu 10AM-6PM, W 1PM-8PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
- 9 Brooklyn Public Library (Paerdegat branch), 850 E 59th St (at Paerdegat; Subway: trains to Flatbush Ave-Brooklyn College, then transfer to B6 bus to Ralph Ave and Glenwood Rd), ☎ . M-Tu 10AM-6PM, W 1PM-8PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
- 10 Brooklyn Public Library (Spring Creek branch), 12143 Flatlands Ave (at New Jersey; Subway: train to New Lots Ave, then transfer to B6 bus to Cozine Ave and Pennsylvania Ave, or train to Rockaway Pkwy-Canarsie, then transfer to B82 bus to Flatlands Ave and Pennsylvania Ave), ☎ . M 1PM-8PM, Tu-W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.