Brooklyn vs. the Hudson Valley

Anything Brooklyn can do, we can do — and have done — better!

From the New York Times to blogs like Gawker, the media is full of stories about city folk forsaking Park Slope and Williamsburg and moving into trendy towns like Beacon, Kingston, and Tivoli. And why not? To (badly) paraphrase an old song, “Everything Brooklyn’s got, we’ve got better” — and to prove it, here’s a comparison of the two regions. (Spoiler alert: We think the Valley comes out on top.) 

Brooklyn’s got:

The Valley’s got:

The Brooklyn Bridge When it opened in 1883, it was the largest suspension bridge in the world, and the only way to get from Manhattan to Brooklyn on foot. To show the bridge was safe, P.T. Barnum led 21 circus elephants across it; today, close to 7,000 pedestrians use it every day. Tongue-in-cheek offers to “sell” the bridge allegedly stem from a 1901 scam, in which a pair of con men actually tried to market it to clueless tourists.

The Walkway Over the Hudson The longest elevated pedestrian park in the world was built in 1889 as a railroad bridge; when it opened, it was the longest bridge of any kind in North America, and the first to span the Hudson. Both bridges were built using Rosendale cement. In 2013, just under 700,000 people admired the view from the 212-foot high span. The Walkway earned a Guinness World Record after 2,569 people danced the hokey-pokey on it in 2012.  

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The Brooklyn Museum The city’s second largest museum (after the Met), the 560,000 square-foot Beaux Arts building was designed by noted architects McKim, Mead, and White. Approximately 1.5 million artworks make up their collection, ranging from a 3,000-year-old Egyptian knife to Gilbert Stuart’s well-known portrait of George Washington.

Dia:Beacon This 292,000 square-foot modern art museum is housed in a retrofitted 1929 factory lit almost exclusively by 60 enormous skylights. The space exhibits monumental works by Andy Warhol, Donald Judd, and Richard Serra — including the latter’s Three Torqued Ellipses, a trio of Cor-Ten steel sculptures that weigh 20 tons apiece.

Trendy neighborhoods With more than 60 Zip codes, the borough is known for its distinctively different neighborhoods. Park Slope has pretty streets lined with brownstones. DUMBO (short for “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass”) is full of chic boutiques and million-dollar apartments. And Williamsburg, as the whole world seems to know, is notorious for its hipster-fueled arts scene.

Trendy towns With good restaurants/shopping, a lively cultural scene, and affordable housing, Poughkeepsie, Rhinebeck, Millerton, Tivoli, Rosendale, Kingston, Hudson, and Newburgh have been favorably compared to Brooklyn’s coolest communities. Of course, everyone agrees that Beacon is the reincarnation of Williamsburg — although as we all know, Woodstock is the original home of hipsters.

The Cyclones Named after Coney Island’s iconic roller coaster, this baseball team was established in 2000 with help from then-Mayor Rudy Guliani and Mets owner Fred Wilpon. But fans are still smarting from the borough’s loss of both the Dodgers and the Giants to the West Coast back in the 1950s. 

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The Renegades Affiliated with the Tampa Bay Rays, the team has grabbed two New York-Penn League championships in its 20 years. Marquee players, including All-Stars Evan Longoria and Josh Hamilton, have played for the ’Gades at Dutchess Stadium.

Coney Island Known for its beach, boardwalk, and amusement parks, this resort has been attracting city residents since the 1830s. The wooden Cyclone roller coaster opened in 1927, and Nathan’s Famous hot-dog eating contest has been held every July Fourth since 1916. 

Playland A National Historic Landmark, this Art Deco amusement park in Rye opened in 1928 and is considered the forerunner of Disneyland. The 215-acre park also includes a beach, boardwalk, and the wooden Dragon Coaster — a favorite attraction that rises 85 feet at its highest point.

Prospect Park Central Park architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed this 585-acre refuge, which opened in 1867 and is home to the popular Long Meadow, a zoo, a 60-acre lake, and Brooklyn’s only forest. 

Downing Park Olmsted and Vaux also designed this Newburgh oasis, which is named after their mentor, Newburgh native Andrew Jackson Downing. Called “the father of American landscape architecture,” Downing died tragically at age 37 in a steamboat accident on the Hudson.  

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Grimaldi’s Pizza Zagat and the Food Network both rave about this pizzeria, whose flagship restaurant is under the Brooklyn Bridge. The coal-fired brick oven used to cook the pies is its culinary claim to fame. 

Grimaldi’s Pizza There are 20 Grimaldi’s Pizzerias in the U.S.; most of those that are not in the metro-New York area are out west. In 2010, a Grimaldi’s opened on Main Street in New Paltz. ’Nuff said.


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