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Explore a Block: Eat like a Brooklyn native on Court Street

New Yorkers know there are few better experiences than grabbing a bite to eat and spending an afternoon people watching or taking in one of the city's many great vantage points. Court Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, is an excellent place for precisely that. There are many locally owned businesses serving some of Brooklyn's best cuisine, which makes perfect fare for a picnic at the Brooklyn Heights Promenade or in Brooklyn Bridge Park, which offer unparalleled views of the city and recently renovated grassy perches. There are many nearby eateries you shouldn't miss, like the Middle Eastern spread (especially the hummus) at Sahadi's or the rows and rows of Baklava at Damascus Bread and Pastry Shop, both on Atlantic Avenue. You can always dip into Trader Joe's for supplies, or decide to spend an afternoon watching the crowds stroll by from the outdoor seating at Bareburger on Court Street. And if you're in need of a good book, check out BookCourt, a small, independent bookstore around since 1981 and filled with titles to suit everyone's taste. But don't leave the neighborhood without trying one of the following local specialty food shops. You won't be sorry.

Shelsky's of Brooklyn

The old school-style delicatessen has every salad and
Photo Credit: Alison Fox

The old school-style delicatessen has every salad and specialty food you remember from your Jewish childhood. Rows and rows of flavored cream cheeses, egg salad, lobster salad, baked salmon, schmaltz fried potato latkes and bowls of chopped liver will appeal to even the most discerning memories and palates. Grab a hot pastrami or corned beef sandwich, a baked knish and a pickle and you?re on your way. The white-tiled counter and chalkboard menu really drive home the vintage appeal. Where: 141 Court St. Contact: 718-855-8817; shelskys.com

Court Street Bagels

This old-school, no-frills Brooklyn bagel shop is the
Photo Credit: Alison Fox

This old-school, no-frills Brooklyn bagel shop is the kind of eatery that makes the city so great. Freshly baked bagels, made in the store every day, are the highlight here in flavors like sesame, poppy and cinnamon raisin, as well as whole wheat everything, sourdough and multigrain. Deli sandwiches and cookies, as well as classic sandwiches (think: bagel with bacon, egg and cheese, or cream cheese, tomato and lox) make you feel like you've stepped back to a Brooklyn before one bedroom apartments topped out at $3,000 per month. Where: 181 Court St. Contact: 718-624-3972

This neighborhood wine store could satisfy any locavore
Photo Credit: Alison Fox

This neighborhood wine store could satisfy any locavore with their dedicated wall to wineries from New York, including The Red Hook Winery and North Fork, Long Island-based Shinn Estate Vineyards. They also offer free wine classes twice each week in their back rooms -- Wednesday nights and Saturday afternoons -- and an entire table with 100 different selections for $13 and under. This would be for your own, private apartment picnic, of course! Where: 138 Court St. Contact: 718-855-9463; brooklynwineexchange.com

Pacific Green Gourmet Food

A seemingly endless stack of colorful fruits and
Photo Credit: Alison Fox

A seemingly endless stack of colorful fruits and veggies greet you when you first enter this upscale corner store. Find staples like organic milk and packaged meats. But don't forget to stock up on some gourmet cheeses and crackers, olive oil tortas, or pre-chopped fruit to bring outside and enjoy on the warm summer days. Where: 151 Court St. Contact: 718-852-9384

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