Autumn in Brooklyn is glorious. The humidity finally gone, the sun still out, people take to the streets pushing strollers, walking dogs, nursing lattes, holding hands, ready to soak in everything this short season has to offer before sweaters are replaced with coats, flats with boots, and an afternoon walk through the park with staying indoors.
Ft. Greene park, in Brooklyn's beautiful Ft. Greene neighborhood is an ideal place to enjoy an autumn Saturday.
Neatly manicured, draped in trees, bordered by Brooklyn's classic tree-lined brown stone dotted streets, Ft. Greene park on an autumn Saturday is the place to be.
If you're the solitary type, take refuge on one of the many old-fashioned benches with a good book, journal or sketch pad.
If you're a parent, take advantage of the large playground, the chance to let your little-one run free. Help yourself to a seat as it may take a while. There's so much to do.
If you're in love, bring a blanket, a bottle of wine, a fanciful snack and lay beneath the trees with your beloved.
If you're an aspiring naturalist, there are plaques to identify the various species of flora.
Do you like football or soccer? Join in one of the many ongoing games.
Into Farmer's Markets? Every Saturday, along the edge of the park closest to the playground, you'll find an intimate Farmer's Market.
Visiting Brooklyn for the first time? I suggest grabbing brunch at one of the many restaurants along DeKalib, Myrtle or Fulton, before spending a lazy afternoon in the park.
Brooklyn, Ft. Greene in particular, has a lot to offer. Ambling along the rows of historic brownstones you'll find boutique shops, wine bars, and amazing restaurants. If you're truly up for an adventure, a scenic walk to the Brooklyn Bridge takes about 40 minutes.
Do you have a favorite park to visit in the autumn?
Whenever I miss the flavors and sounds from the “good ole’ days” in Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland, I take myself to Ft. Greene, Brooklyn’s Madiba Restaurant.
Named after Nelson Mandela, Madiba is a portal from Brooklyn to South Africa. Specializing in South African cuisine with all of its unique influences from traditional Zulu dishes like Uputhu/Pap (boiled ground cornmeal with tomato-onion gravy) to Voortrekker inspired dishes like Boerwors Roll (herbed beef sausage with gravy on a hot dog bun) and Indian inspired dishes featuring an assorted variety of succulent curries and chutney, Madiba takes me on a journey of the senses each time I step inside. Some of the dishes draw inspiration from the tastes of Mozambique (South Africa’s next door neighbor). I can honestly say that I have never had a bad meal here. Never!
The food is always fresh, all-natural and served up gourmet style. Vegetarians and vegans rejoice, there are plenty of options for you. If you come for brunch, the coffee is excellent- nice and rich. If you come for dinner, Madiba boasts an extensive South African wine list, and they even import my favorite liquor- Amarula!
I love the attentive yet slow service. You are not rushed in Madiba, one can enjoy a slow brunch or a slow dinner. You’re encouraged to taste your food, draw energy from the atmosphere and enjoy the people in your company.
At Madiba there is an immaculate attention to detail. The décor is distinctly reminiscent of South Africa, much of the music played is African.
One can even purchase South African goodies from the shop at the front of the store. The selection of quirky imports brings me back to my days in Mozambique (much of the food in Mozambique was imported from South Africa) from the Jungle Oats Oatmeal, that I ate for breakfast to the Ramany Cream biscuits I splurged on every pay-day, to the Ceres boxed juice that kept me going beneath the hot sun; Madiba brings the tastes, sounds and charms of Southern Africa to Ft. Greene, Brooklyn.
For a refreshing spin on breakfast, try Madiba’s Sunday Brunch, which starts at ten am.
Okay Sojourner, so what are you getting out of this promotion? Nothing! Just the satisfaction of sharing one of my favorite Brooklyn restaurants with you, my readers.
I hope you get to experience Madiba. I know you'll enjoy it as much as I do.
195 Dekalb Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11205
Do you have a favorite restaurant that reminds you of a place you've traveled?
In an unassuming brick building in downtown Brooklyn, you'll find a cultural gem- The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts or simply the MoCADA.
The MoCADA is a vibrant and intimate museum space featuring paintings, photographs, sculpture, music, performance pieces, and installations that relate to the experience of the African diaspora as experienced in a contemporary context.
It is an incredibly unique space with a community feel. The one-story museum is small and is comprised of three main rooms in which to experience the exhibits.
Through the entrance you'll find the gift shop which is an experience in and of itself. The gift shop features an inspiring collection of books, art, jewelry, toys, crafts, and various other trinkets from local artists and artisans. It is a great place to shop for unique gifts and you'll be supporting local talent.
Located at (80 Hanson Pl Brooklyn, NY), admission is by donation. The MoCADA observes the following hours:
Wednesday 12pm to 7pm Thursday 12pm to 8pm Friday 12pm to 7pm Saturday 12pm to 7pm Sunday 12pm to 6pm
A resident of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, I, like many of my neighbors watched with curiosity and some anxiety as our neighborhood underwent a massive change - the arrival of the Barclays Center Stadium. I watched the Barclays stadium grow, almost rod by rod. I watched my husband and his friends salivate and buzz with glee at the prospect of Brooklyn gaining its own NBA team. I watched, I waited, until one day in the early Fall it had transpired. Brooklyn was the home of a world-class, state of the art, arena.
Off we walked, one chilly evening, Mark, Ohm, and I (well, technically Ohm was carried), 15 minutes down Atlantic Avenue towards the Barclays Center to catch one of the first games of the season.
Whereas I wasn't particularly thrilled about the prospect of sitting through a basketball game, I was curious about the massive new stadium that had descended upon Brooklyn like a spaceship.
The stadium had garnered quite a buzz and not just from sports fans. There was a prominent roster of concerts that the venue was slated to host.
After making our way through the very long line that snaked around Flatbush, we were greeted by an ultra-modern, classy and clean event space that more closely resembled a fancy office building than a basketball arena. I was impressed.
As we made our way toward the concessions, I was astonished. Instead of the standard popcorn, hotdogs and soda, there were local gourmet food options including, sushi, Junior's famous deserts, Blue Marble Ice Cream, a fresh salad, a Habana Outpost stand and a host of other delectable local Brooklyn favorites. It was, minus the basketball part, my kind of stadium.
Our seats were comfortable as far as seats go. The game happened as far as games go. People cheered, players played and I read magazines and snapped pictures.
At 16 months, it was Ohm's first basketball game. He had a great time, as did the other children in the crowd. I was surprised to see so many little ones. As far as venues go, it was quite child-friendly (just be careful on the very steep stairs).
The Barclays Center did not disappoint! I look forward to visiting again. Only next time, I hope my visit will be for the purpose of a concert or the circus as opposed to a basketball game...
The Barclays Center is located at:
620 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Click here for a schedule of events.