Tuesday, June 14, 2011 | 1:54 PM
Brooklyn’s in the house!
Hi, folks! My name is Margarita Vaisman, and I’m your Brooklyn, New York, community manager for Google Places. This borough has been getting a lot of buzz in recent years; there’s even a Brooklyn-themed bar in Manhattan! Brooklyn has also been compared to Paris and Marrakech, but I just think of it as home. Whether you’re new to the city, a native, or somewhere in between, there’s always something new to discover in this multifaceted corner of New York City. I can’t wait to explore more of Brooklyn with Google Places, and hopefully get plenty of recommendations from you along the way. Look for me (and the Places pin!) at community activities all over town.
A little background on me, in case you’re curious. I was born in the former USSR, but came to the States when I was a little girl (so I don’t have an accent like a James Bond villain, unfortunately). I grew up in Brooklyn and have lived most of my life in New York City. Before Google, I worked at Marvel Entertainment, where I managed social media and customer support (and was also in a print ad for digital comics). I have a personal blog, The Diary Project, where I playfully mock my old diary entries and relive ’80s and ’90s pop culture moments, and am also active on Twitter as @damiella.
I’ve done a fair bit of travelling, but always return to Brooklyn, which is full of culture, creativity, and awesome places to go. And that’s where Google Places comes in handy. It’s great for discovering new spots, getting recommendations, and sharing Best Evers. I’ll get things rolling by sharing some places I love.
One of my all-time favorites is Prospect Park. Whether I’m walking the track, people-watching, having a picnic, feeding the ducks and geese, or checking out the green market, there’s no haven like it. There’s always lots to see and do in the vicinity, but you can also plant yourself on a grassy patch and do nothing at all. Win-win.
Near the west side of the park are a couple more of my favorites. There’s the Double Windsor, a relaxed gastropub that’s known for its craft beers and great burgers, though I especially love their pulled pork sandwich and fries. Down the street is Babbo’s Books, which is tiny but stocked with choice titles (I find so many great books I have to be careful about how often I shop there so I don’t end up on one of those TV shows about hoarders).
If there’s one thing Brooklynites are opinionated about, it’s pizza. Everyone should have the Grimaldi’s experience at least once, where the time spent waiting in line is forgotten as soon as you bite into that first delectable slice, then devour the pie, fresh out of the brick oven. However, I still have a soft spot for Original Pizza, who does a marinara pie that’s so tasty you don’t even miss the cheese (no, really).
For cocktails, I love the laid back, speakeasy vibe of Brooklyn Social. The space is cozy, the bartenders are charmingly aloof, and the drinks well-made. It’s one of those places where you can find yourself chatting with just about anyone (like a local writer who you think is exaggerating about creating a show for HBO … until you see Bored to Death a few months later. Hypothetically speaking, of course).
If there’s one type of food I’m hooked on above all others, it’s sushi (I know there’s a hook/fish joke in there somewhere). A great spot to satisfy that raw fish craving is Taro Sushi.
There are some places in Brooklyn that are a bit out of the way but totally worth the trip, and one of those is Michael’s Restaurant. Their traditional Italian food is excellent, and the bakery they own across the street is also worth a visit (I recommend the lace cookies and the prosciutto bread, but trust me, everything there is delicious).
I could keep on going, but better yet, I’d love to know some of your local favorites, so let’s have ’em! And get ready for some new Brooklyn adventures! Stay tuned for activities, discussions, giveaways, offers and more on Twitter at @GoogleNYC and on Facebook.
Posted by Margarita Vaisman, Brooklyn community manager