Last week, I was looking at photos from my last trip abroad, which was to the USA almost three years ago. I noticed that I hadn’t written about my last week in New York (NY). It’s difficult to believe it was such a long time ago. I was again reminded of the photos when I heard about yesterday’s Brooklyn subway shooting.

I didn’t go to Brooklyn on my first trip to New York. This time I went several times. My hosts had already taken me to Brooklyn for brunch at the best bagel place in NY. I later went to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, the Transit Museum and Coney Island.

A few times, I found myself in the south of Manhattan and would wander across Brooklyn Bridge, which is a beautiful sight. On one occasion, there was a downpour and I huddled under one of the Bridge’s supports with many other tourists trying to stay dry. When I got to the other side, I’d find a place to sit on the Brooklyn Promenade or somewhere along the Brooklyn Bridge Park Greenway, looking across East River at the Manhattan skyline.

On one trip in search of Brooklyn’s brownstone houses, I asked someone walking his dog where they were. He, like so many Americans I met, was chatty and knowledgeable about his area. There was the obligatory comment about my “British accent”. Apart from pointing out where the closest brownstone houses were (there were many in NY), he mentioned that not all of them were actually made of brownstone. Sometimes they were made of brick and had cladding resembling brownstone.

Brooklyn has a different vibe from Manhattan. Manhattan has changed considerably since my first visit. It has become more corporate and more expensive. That has changed the landscape of shops and facilities you see. Times Square, for example, is strictly for tourists. Brooklyn is more down to earth. I felt that’s where the normal people lived — probably because they’d been priced out of Manhattan.

It’s easy (and safe) to walk around Brooklyn. I went to the Time Out Market for a bite before walking around the curiously named Dumbo (short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), which has become Brooklyn’s technology centre and then onto Vinegar Hill (once “Irishtown”) to see its historic houses in Hudson Avenue.

If you want to follow my complete USA journey, start in the Grand Canyon.

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