Unplug and recharge: 5 places to get off the grid in and around Brooklyn

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Fight your phone addiction. Photo via @tobybartlett on Instagram.

Are you and your phone inseparable? Do you believe the adage that man can live a week without food, a few days without water but not 20 seconds without a wifi connection? You and technology may need an intervention or at least some time apart.

But it’s not all your fault. Social media regularly oversteps boundaries to the point of even trying to unduly influence your vote. Some studies have linked extended and frequent use of cell phones to increased anxiety and depression. While some people think they have an allergy to electromagnetic fields or electromagnetic hypersensitivity (a disputed disorder that may just be psychological), taking a break from tech every now and then can definitely recharge you mentally and physically — or at least give you a respite from Pokemon Go players. 

So what can you do about technology over-saturation? You could just completely unplug and move to the Radio Quiet Zone in Green Bank, West Virginia, where there is no cell service and wifi is banned. But then you’d have to live in West Virginia. You could just leave your phone at home when you go out, if you can weather the anxiety that might cause you, as well. Split the difference and take the occasional forced mini-vacation from the Internet. Here are four places in Brooklyn (and one in Queens) where you can temporarily escape from the information superhighway.

Transit Museum
Boerum Place & Schermerhorn St.
Boerum Hill

It seems very fitting that the subway, where you get the least reception on your phone, would have its museum in a cell phone dead zone. Learn all about the vast infrastructure that helps you get where you are going in this busy city, while taking time away from it. At the Transit Museum, you’ll learn the history of trolleys, buses and all the best ways to get to every Pokestop and gym once you’re back above ground.


A few wifi-free, caffeinated hours will make you feel the opposite of grumpy. Photo via Flickr user @
A few wifi-free, caffeinated hours will make you feel the opposite of grumpy. Photo via Flickr user @Joselio Tagarao

Cafe Grumpy
383 Seventh Ave.
Park Slope

Has your local coffee shop been taken over by the click clacking of laptops from people that spend all day writing their master work of fiction or co-working loudly next to you? Do you want to enjoy your caffeine fix while taking a respite from your internet addiction? Well, you are in luck: while some coffee shops have taken the baby step of limiting their wifi, the Park Slope location of Cafe Grumpy has gone all the way with a no laptops, no wifi policy. Write in a journal, have a friendly conversation with the person sitting next to you, or just completely zone out: there’s a whole world of options beyond the world wide web.


The basement of Union Hall is a cell phone-free, and fomo-free zone Photo via Flickr user @savagecat
The basement of Union Hall is a cell phone-free, and fomo-free zone Photo via Flickr user @savagecats

The basement of Union Hall
702 Union Street
Park Slope

You’ve likely been to a concert or a comedy show and noticed how people spend the whole time taking pictures or videos on their phones, constantly updating their Twitter, Instagram or Facebook feeds instead of actually just watching the show. Well, they’ll probably still take pictures and videos in the basement of Union Hall, but at least they’ll have to stay data silent for the show, as one of the best venues in Brooklyn is a notorious dead zone. You can watch a great concert or some uproarious stand-up without constantly feeling like you need to prove to all your “friends” that you are having fun. You can actually just have fun.


Forget your phone, this view is all you'll need. Photo via Flickr user @Jeff Easter
Forget your phone, this view is all you’ll need. Photo via Flickr user @Jeff Easter

Fort Tilden
169 State Rd.
Breezy Point, NY

You could definitely use a beach day without those needy work emails lighting up your phone, preventing you from truly relaxing. Make your escape to Fort Tilden beach, where cell service is notoriously weedy — just take the NYC Beach Bus on the weekends to Riis Beach and walk down to Tilden, take a city bus or bike any other time. Be aware: This beach is BYO-everything. It is only a short jaunt to Riis Beach and the rest of civilization, but be sure to bring your own food, water and supplies. You’ll easily find a perfect sunny spot to enjoy the pristine beach, as your cares and 4G bars melt away.


Just eat your food. Photo via Zomato

311 Henry St
Brooklyn Heights

Tazza’s no-cell-phone policy and their lack of wifi may sound like the pipe dream of people dealing with the headaches of a fast-paced world, but it’s real. Make it over to Brooklyn Heights to enjoy a restaurant that is an island in the sea of ubiquitous buzzing, rings and lighted screens. If you’re ready to actually engage in a real life conversation, rather than collectively reliving and arguing all the political opinions of your Facebook friends, well then, you’re in for a treat.

Where do you go to get off the grid? Let us know in the comments!

Take a break from your phone but when you come back, follow Ryan @thereisnopoint     


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