It’s that time of year again, and along with the weather getting warmer and the promise of sunnier days ahead, cities around the country have begun to reopen. New York City recently made a full re-open and residents couldn’t be happier.

While it may take some time to fully re-acclimate ourselves into certain activities enjoyed pre-COVID, it’s a breath of fresh air to begin getting back to some form of normalcy. With restrictions lifted, Brooklyn businesses are ready to fully welcome back both residents along with those who live outside the borough, and what better way to do so then through local community events?

Last spring and summer were tough when it came to hosting events, and while some businesses were able to do so on a smaller scale, if at all, this year is looking brighter. Weekends no longer have to only be spent in your own backyard, now they can be enjoyed exploring the fun and unique things Brooklyn has to offer.

If you’re looking to show the borough some love, then what better way to do so then to spend the day (or night) with family and friends enjoying some of these fun-filled outdoor activities? We’ve rounded up some great ways to have a good time without having to travel too far from home.

Skyline Drive-In

Who doesn’t love a good movie and a little nostalgia? The Skyline drive-in movie theatre located in Greenpoint is a bit reminiscent of the popular drive-in theatres from the 1940’s and ‘50’s. As the sun sets and cars get situated in their spots, movie goers can enjoy some of their favorite flicks along with a gorgeous view of the Manhattan skyline. And what is a movie without some popcorn and snacks? Well don’t worry because this cinema experience has got their guests covered with concessions stands filled with drinks, eats, and treats!

Brooklyn Cyclones

As one of America’s favorite pastimes, baseball stadiums are welcoming back fans and what better way to spend a weekend then rooting on your favorite neighborhood team. The Brooklyn Cyclones stadium, located in Coney Island, is ready and excited to welcome back their fans. Along with in stadium seating, fans can also enjoy a game from the luxury suites or on the rooftop. And to kick off the season, we’re giving away six box seat tickets for a Cyclone’s game in June to celebrate the start of baseball and the beginning of summer. Keep a look out for the giveaway announcement on our Instagram to be entered to win!

 

Spill the Tea Comedy

They say laughter is the best medicine, and what better way to spend a night then attending, “Spill the Tea” an outdoor comedy show located at the only outdoor amphitheater in Williamsburg. Featuring some of the best stand-up comedians in NYC along with comedy professionals, entry into the event is free.

The Tiny Cupboard

If you want to keep the laughter going then head on over to The Tiny Cupboard, an underground/aboveground performance venue located on the border of East Bushwick and Bed-Stuy.  A tiny art studio, comedy church, and a large rooftop is used as a performance space and this summer the rooftop comedy shows are back. In addition, the rooftop comedy festival, hosted by The Tiny Cupboard and Penthouse Comedy Show, is going to be held from August 26 – 29th and will include live stand up shows, podcasts, and lots of laughter.

The Paint Place

If you’re looking for something fun for the whole family, head on down to the Greenpoint Terminal Market for some outdoor painting classes. Hosted every Saturday, experienced artists will help guide you in creating a one of a kind work of art to take home. Fun for all ages and experience levels, The Paint Place hosts a variety of themed events, from bachelorette parties and showers, paint and sip, and private parties for kids, there is a whole host of fun filled classes to choose from.

Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra

If you love music, then the Brooklyn Symphony orchestra should be on your summer to-do list. Founded in 1973, the orchestra is made up of a mix of talented amateur, semi-professional, and professional musicians. On the third Sunday of each month during the summer you can head on over to the BSO for a family-friendly outdoor concert at the Brooklyn Museum. The concerts are free and tickets are not required to attend.

Artists and Fleas

The fleas are back! This creative community of sellers is ready to welcome back shoppers looking for creative and unique finds. With two locations in Brooklyn, Williamsburg and Dumbo, what better way to spend an afternoon then with some shopping. Whether you’re searching for fashion, art, vintage finds, there is something for everyone at the outdoor fleas. With different sellers each week, the treasure finds are endless.

American Princess Cruises

Do you want something unique and different for the weekend? Why not spend the afternoon whale and dolphin watching aboard the American Princess Cruise line which leaves out of Pier 3 in Sheepshead Bay.  Now in its 12thyear, guests can set sail in search of these beautiful mammals and participate in the fun filled adventure. From helping the crew count how many whales and dolphins spotted, to capturing photos and/or video, this unique experience is definitely one way to spend the day.

In addition to these fun events, Brooklyn is filled with beautiful parks, beaches, street fairs, restaurants, and the world famous Coney Island.  If you’re looking to have a good time, you don’t have to go far to do so!

Celebrated yearly, Black History Month is a time to learn and understand Black history and culture while going beyond the stories of racism and slavery to spotlight and celebrate Black achievement. It’s an opportunity for Americans to gain a greater understanding of the details surrounding a part of our nation’s history.

 

Many important events in Black history have taken place during the month of February. Prior to becoming a month-long celebration, Black History Month began in 1926 as “Negro History Week.”

 

Celebrated the second week of February, it coincided with Black abolitionist and writer, Frederick Douglas, and President Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays—two figures who played important roles in shaping Black history.

 

By the late ‘60s, thanks in part to the civil rights movement, Negro History Week was celebrated by mayors in cities across the country. By 1970, the event evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses, with Kent State being the first.

 

Six years later, President Ford recognized Black History Month, and in 1986, Congress passed “National Black History Month” into law.

 

It is important for Americans to be aware of and understand the struggle for freedom and equality not just in February, but all year long.

 

During this dedicated month in our country to celebrate the achievements of African Americans, one of the ways to do so is by supporting Black-owned business owners. The past year has been especially hard for small businesses trying to stay afloat during the pandemic and being able to show your love and support is extremely rewarding.

 

In a multi-cultural city like Brooklyn, our neighborhoods are filled with many wonderful small businesses. In an effort to turn the spotlight on these innovative owners, we’ve put together a selection of businesses you’ll want to support today and every day!

History & Culture

Weeksville Heritage CenterThis historic site and cultural center situated in central Brooklyn is rich in history. Founded in 1838, Weeksville was a free African American community, the 2nd largest in the pre-civil war era.

 

By the 1850’s, Weeksville was a farming village that was home to 525 families who lived in wooden framed houses. Today, there are three remaining homes which sit on what was once known as Hunterfly Road.

 

It wasn’t until the 1940’s that most of the homes were taken over by urban renewal plans. The Kingsborough Housing projects were built and Weeksville was absorbed in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

 

In 1968, a historian re-discovered what was left of historic Weeksville, and through his work, the Hunterfly Road Houses were declared NYC landmarks and the Weeksville Heritage Center was born.

 

Their mission is to inspire, educate visitors on the history of Weeksville, and illuminate a pivotal aspect of Black history. 158 Buffalo Avenue, Brooklyn NY  11213

Food & Drink

Cuts & Slices Located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, this local pizzeria is the vision of owner Randy Mclaran, who took his passion for food and a decade of restaurant experience to open up Cuts & Slices in 2018. Offering an array of innovative toppings (think chicken and waffles, jerk shrimp, and even a vegan daily special), customers regularly line up outside for a cut or slice. 93 Howard Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

 

Happy Cork Wine & Spirits The brainchild of Sunshine Foss, the entrepreneur has created a unique and different type of business for Black and minority owned wines and spirits. Happy Cork, located in Bedford-Stuyvesant, gives off a boutique feel with its charming decor. Along with wine and spirits, the store also features a small marketplace of specialty items from local makers of color and women artists.

51 Buffalo Avenue, Brooklyn NY  11233

Home & Design

BLK MKT VintageFounded in 2014 by Brooklyn-natives, Kiyanna Stewart and Jannah Handy, the two entrepreneurs took their love of vintage wares along with their experience and opened a brick-and-mortar shop that specializes in heirlooms, cast-offs, and curiosities that represent the richness of Black history and lived experiences. While their store is currently closed due to the pandemic, their online shop is open for business. 465 Marcus Garvey Blvd., Brooklyn, NY  11216

 

Rituals + Ceremony A home goods and lifestyle store located in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, Rituals + Ceremony is the dream of entrepreneur Sarah Williams. Filled with unique and aesthetically pleasing products, Sarah wanted to create the kind of space she herself had been looking for; one filled with all things zen. Having found most of these kinds of places owned by white people, her vision was to have a similar spot she could walk into and see a familiar face. As many businesses have faced struggles due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the store is currently closed, but the online shop is open. 717B Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn, NY  11216

Heath & Wellness

HealHausFor anyone looking to nurture their mind, body, and soul, HealHaus offers a wide range of holistic practices that will help guide you on your journey. With a shared passion for healing and a desire to create a therapeutic and inclusive space inviting for all genders, good friends Elisa Shankle and Darian Hall designed a wellness center and cafe that is warm and welcoming. With an a la carte menu of experiences like Vinyasa yoga, mindful breath mediation, and couples therapy, people can explore different experiences that will help guide them in the healing process, all while feeling supported by those around them. 1082 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY  11238

 

Brooklyn BraisedThis farm-to-table meal delivery service is the brainchild of Christa Lynch that provides seasonally inspired menus offering healthy food options. Using ingredients sourced through a network of local farmers, the meals are prepared from their commercial kitchen and delivered to all parts of Brooklyn. Seeing a need in her Bed-Stuy community for healthy food options that fit into busy lifestyles, Brooklyn Braised is a proud minority, woman-owned and operated business that supports local and minority owned vendors across the country.

Style & Beauty

Papa Rozier FarmsThis Bushwick boutique specializes in all-natural beauty products, while serving as a vehicle toward a more radical mission, to help build up Haiti. Owned by siblings Rubens Amedee and Fredeline Amedee-Benjamin, the two felt helpless after the 2010 earthquake that devastated their birth country. After starting an organic farm on rural land owned by their late grandfather, the natural, handmade beauty products are made from primary crops grown on Papa Rozier Farms in Haiti. While temporarily closed until May, all of their products can be found on their website.   96 Knickerbocker Ave, Brooklyn NY  11237

 

Free Edge Beauty Studio – With extensive experience, Raven Voorhees runs Free Edge Beauty which takes a personalized, diligent approach to nail care. A Coney Island native, Raven provides her clientele with a natural approach to nail care, as well as educating them with her extensive knowledge. In addition to understanding what’s in the products used, clients can find designs that are unique and fun. Appointments are required and can be made directly online. 567 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11216

As one of the five boroughs that make up New York City, Brooklyn, is the most populous. If it were to be its own separate city, it would be the third-largest in the United States, right after Los Angeles and Chicago, although those stats may soon change. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the borough’s population has grown by 5.3 percent since 2010 and is likely to surpass Chicago in population for the first time since 1890.

Brooklyn, (otherwise known as “Breuckelen” in the 1600s) was one of six small towns occupied by Dutch settlers. The land changed hands up until the 19th century when American settlers moved in and the city began to rise in notoriety. As the borough went through a transformation, it was renamed to its present-day moniker and in 1868 consolidated with New York City.

Dating back over 350 years, Brooklyn was a popular destination for immigrants in the United States, and today, it continues to be a sought-after place to put down roots. With an estimated population of 2.6 million people, it has long been known as a melting pot for many different cultures.

The residents, all from different cultural backgrounds, are what make the borough so unique. From their similarities to their differences, and even their grit, native “Brooklynites” often take for granted their “uniqueness” because it’s always been a part of who they are.

Like a magnet, Brooklyn continuously attracts new buyers. The beauty, history, and accessibility to mostly anything one might want, or need are big selling points when it comes to finding the perfect location.

Throughout the years, the different cultures and ethnicities are what have made up the rich tapestry of this city. As the years go by, the cultural map of Brooklyn has changed as a result of its population. The constant influx in immigrants moving in offsets the number of residents who move out of state to other parts of the country. So as one group leaves in search of real estate elsewhere, newer groups come in and replace them, and what we once believed to be an area highly populated by one culture may no longer hold true. Yet despite the changes, which can be seen and felt throughout all neighborhoods, the one constant that remains is the borough’s spirit.

Breaking Down the Brooklyn Neighborhoods

For example, in the middle of the 20th century, the Brownsville section of Brooklyn was compromised of mainly people of the Jewish religion whereas today the neighborhood is home to many African Americans, along with Bedford-Stuyvesant. The Jewish residents, both Hasidic and Orthodox, have also planted roots in neighborhoods such as Borough Park, Flatbush, Midwood, Canarsie, Crown Heights, and Williamsburg while those who are not as religious tend to settle in the areas of Park Slope, Ditmas Park, and Windsor Terrace.

Brighton Beach, which at one time was mainly a Jewish neighborhood, is now home to the largest concentration of Russians in the state. What first attracted settlers were the neighborhood’s proximity to the water; it reminded many immigrants of Odessa, their hometown which overlooked a harbor on the Black Sea. Today, both Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay boast large Ukranian and Russian populations and businesses and are appropriately nicknamed, “Little Russia” and “Little Odessa.”

You may also find certain neighborhoods popular amongst more than just one ethnic group. Bensonhurst, known as the “Little Italy” of Brooklyn, is also home to the borough’s second Chinatown (the first, and largest being in Sunset Park). It’s here you can also find the largest population of residents born in China of any neighborhood in New York City. Other neighborhoods in the Southern part of Brooklyn where the Chinese American population is present include Bath Beach, Sunset Park, Gravesend, and Homecrest, an area sometimes considered a part of Sheepshead Bay.

In addition to Bensonhurst, other neighborhoods in Southern Brooklyn with a large Italian community include Dyker Heights, Bay Ridge, Carroll Gardens, Marine Park, Mill Basin, Gravesend, and Bergen Beach.

Along with having a large Italian presence, Bay Ridge is also home to many Arab American and Muslim communities, as well as a large concentration of Irish Americans. Other Irish neighborhoods include Marine Park, Vinegar Hill, and Gerritsen Beach.

In the northern part of the city, the neighborhood of Bushwick boasts the largest Hispanic community within the borough. Approximately 80% of the population are Hispanic while the remaining percent are of Puerto Rican, Dominican, and South American descent. Other neighborhoods with a large Puerto Rican and Dominican population include East New York, Williamsburg, and Sunset Park, a neighborhood that also includes a large Mexican presence.

According to the 2010 Census the racial and ethnic breakdown of Brooklyn was as follows:

The Census, a survey conducted every 10 years in which the country counts its population, provides critical data used to bring services, products, and support for the people and their communities. The next Census is currently taking place this year; once the latest information is released in 2021, we’ll have a better understanding of the changes that have taken place over the last decade.

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