Cobble Hill, much like its neighbors Carroll Gardens and Boerum Hill, is trendy but has an old-school Brooklyn vibe.
Across 40 blocks, the small neighborhood between Atlantic Avenue and Degraw Street east of the BQE, is part of what real estate agents curiously like to call "BoCoCa," (Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens).
But with 5,783 trees per square mile, Cobble Hill was recently named as the New York City neighborhood with the most street trees by Localize.city. As you walk its streets, it’s apparent — and lovely. It’s no wonder Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Norah Jones have called it home.
While you may not have the paycheck to afford even a studio here — which goes for an average of about $2,264 per month in 2019 — you can still enjoy all it has to offer, from sunrise to sunset.
Start with a quick drink and pastry at Velvette
After getting off the F or G train at Bergen Street, you won’t have to go far to get your morning fuel. Velvette, at 251 Smith St., is a staple coffee shop and espresso bar for locals, who appreciate their ample outlets, free Wi-Fi and legit beverages. If you’re not an espresso or coffee person, we recommend the iced chai latte, which is blended just right. The aesthetic of the place doesn’t hurt, either — it charms with instruments, like a saxophone, guitars, and a tuba, attached to its brick walls. You wouldn’t go wrong by ordering a pastry here, either.
Take it on the go and take in the lush streets
You can sit at Velvette, but it’s best to get on the go because you’ll want to explore Cobble Hill while it’s sleepy. Most of the side streets offer some shade and eye candy as you pass by gorgeous old brownstones and trees that drape over parked cars.
"I think trees really make a difference in your day. I love when I can look out the window and see green or walk down the street," Cobble Hill resident Melissa Goldschmid told us. "It’s a nice part of living here."
Admire the brownstones and architecture
Take a relaxing stroll around to take in the buildings that have stood the test of time. Our favorites are 219 Clinton St., a Greek revival built in 1845, and the Warren Place Mews. The Mews, is a block of townhomes were built in the 1870s for working men and their families, according to the Wall Street Journal. Their red-brick facade is impressively intricate and each home’s entrance is closed off by an iron gate set in front of wooden stairs.
Discover the secret garden that is Warren Place
If the iron gate is open on Warren Street, you can walk through the Mews to discover the peaceful and (almost secret) garden its residents enjoy on a daily basis. Keep it quiet, though, this is a residential area.
Pick up a gift at Woods Grove
Get your shop on at Woods Grove (302 Court St.), which has an eclectic mix of gifts and doodads, from keychain fobs made of New York license plates to handmade candles. The store, which has been in the neighborhood for roughly three years, has almost an entire wall is lined with quirky cards and sells reclaimed wood and metal storage boxes for those with an industrial aesthetic. As the old saying goes, there is something for everyone, and at various price points.
Get brunch at Verde on Smith
It’s brunch time and you know what that means — bottomless cocktails. Verde on Smith (216 Smith St.), which has recently gotten new management, has a special every day — for $20.95, you get two hours of bottomless cocktails (like peach, cranberry, pineapple, raspberry and mango bellinis) until 4 p.m. It doesn’t include an entree — that’s separate, but Verde’s brunch, which comes with good service, is also offered every day. We ordered the Canadian bacon eggs Benedict, but the pancakes and crepes are popular choices.
Stop for a little sweet at the Court Pastry Shop
Open since 1948, Court Pastry Shop (298 Court St.) is one of last remaining family-owned Italian bakeries in the city and makes its rainbow cookies, cannolis and sfogliatelle with fresh ingredients and made daily. Indeed, entering the shop, you are greeted by the smell of warm sugar and shelves of colorful treats. It’s a rare experience nowadays, so we suggest helping yourself to a piece of history.
Peruse the shelves at Books Are Magic
Books Are Magic, the store with the fun wall art on the corner of Smith Street and Butler Street, offers a variety of bestsellers, children’s books and "weird books that no one’s seen anywhere else," according to Michael Fusco-Straub, who owns it with his wife, author Emma Straub. Make sure to check out its event schedule, too — it also has events daily (discussions, readings and presentations) and offers discounts like 10 percent off some bestsellers. After the shutdown of Cobble Hill’s BookCourt in 2016, Straub and her husband wanted to make sure that Cobble Hill wasn’t missing out on an indie book shop for long.
Go to Sahadi’s
Up at Atlantic Avenue near Court Street, Sahadi’s is a beloved Cobble Hill staple with its Middle Eastern bazaar-like atmosphere featuring glass jars of sweets, nuts and dried fruit, freshly baked breads and sweets, and locally sourced meats and cheeses. Its a go-to for olives, hummus, flatbread, spices, olive oil, dips and other internationally produced goods. It even has open barrels of coffee beans in just about any flavor you can imagine. It is a gold mine and you’d be missing a big part of Cobble Hill by skipping it.
See what’s up at the Invisible Dog Art Center
The Invisible Dog Art Center (51 Bergen St.), named after the Walt Disney invisible dog party trick that was once manufactured there, is now a three-floor raw space used for artist studios, exhibitions, performances and public events, like FAD Market (pictured), which regularly pops up there. Make sure to check the schedule to see if you can stop in for a figure drawing class or performance.
Do dinner and drinks at June
June at 231 Court St. is a cozy, Parisian-like retreat that flows with (natural) wine and comfort food that complements it. The plates are small, but appealing — charcuterie, heirloom potatoes, eggplant with tahini, zaatar dukkah and dates, striped bass crudo are among them. Heavier entrees are available too (like beef shoulder steak and whole Rhode Island porgy) as are cocktails and spirits for those who aren’t keen on wine. The actual wine list is eye-bulgingly long with regular rosés, whites and reds, but gets even longer with offerings of sparkling reds and rosés, chilled reds and a section called "WTF?!?!?!," which contains drinks like Threes Brewing’s "Eternal Return" sauvignon blanc/Wile American Ale and Fruktstereo’s "Plumenian Rhapsody" "pet nat" plum/apple cider. If you go between 5 and 7 p.m. during the week, its happy hour is worthwhile with wine by the glass for $8, $2 draft beers, $8 cocktails and bites for $6-$8.
Don’t forget dessert at MilkMade
So you may have had a rainbow cookie at Court Pastry Shop, but we recommend treating yourself to some scoops at MilkMade (204 Sackett St.). The homegrown ice cream company took off from being just a subscription ice cream service to a full-blown brick-and-mortar store, which opened in 2015 as a "tasting room" with limited hours and flavors. Owner Diana Hardeman and her team create flavors based on holidays, movies, topical events and songs, like the "summer in New York” theme in which varieties were inspired by events in June, like the Pride, Puerto Rican Day and Mermaid parades. Popular flavors include the "Amagansett Sea Salted Caramel," "Cobbler Hill" (cinnamon sugar ice cream with a fruit cobbler mix-in that changes based on the season) and "Gotham Basil Chip" (think mint chip but with basil instead of mint).