July’s almost over, but summer’s in full swing with another installment of Brokelyn’s very own Perfect Summer Sundays. Here’s how it works: each week, we bring you a local personality from the borough. They tell you how they like to spend a Sunday in their neighborhood. Then, you try it on for size. Tourists, too! Gone are the empty brags of having “been to Bushwick,” or the misguided attempts to hang out where the locals do. This way, you get a taste of what the neighborhood’s all about from someone who actually lives there, and you can leave satisfied.
This week we’re taking you to Fort Greene with a household name in the Brooklyn comedy scene, Jo Firestone. Jo creates and hosts some of the borough’s quirkiest nightly entertainment: pun competitions, drunk debates, live-dubbed sitcoms… you name it, the self-proclaimed “goat-woman” has probably made it. Today, Firestone rattles off an exhaustive list
For Jo Firestone, the best kind of Sunday in her neighborhood is one that starts off simple—specifically, with a bagel from Bony’s Bagels (625 Atlantic Avenue). “They got some really nice guys working there,” says Firestone. “And the bagels are pretty middle of the road, which is great for a Sunday morning. I don’t want a bunch of hype with my bread circle. Just want a bread circle.”
For those who prefer the hype, however, Firestone also recommends The Greene Grape Annex (753 Fulton Street). “Really good coffee and baked goods.” Once you’re sated with a bread circle and a cup of Jo (pun oh-so intended), you can start taking in all the scenery Fort Greene is probably at least partially named for. There’s plenty of natural beauty to be seen—plenty of man-made, too.
“Walking around Fort Greene Park is free! I think I might be partial to a walk around the perimeter—there are a lot of beautiful houses around. Also, you’re within walking distance of Pratt University (200 Willoughby Avenue), which has all those great sculptures on campus! You could also come over, I guess. But actually no. That is not an option that’s on the table. Why don’t you go to Greenlight Books (686 Fulton Street) instead?”
Strolling builds up an appetite, so you’re bound to want to stop for lunch! For a satisfying sit-down meal on the cheap, Firestone’s picks are a plate of Pad See Ew at National (723 Fulton Street) or the black bean quesadilla at Pequeña (86 South Portland Street). Both dishes are an easy $8. If you’re feeling adventurous, hit both and split each one with a friend!
Once you’re hanging around the Atlantic Terminal, Firestone says you might as well visit the Target (139 Flatbush Avenue) in the terminal mall. It’s got air-conditioning, and it’s always chock full of strange products like limited-edition Triscuit flavors, clearance cereals, dollar-bin tchotchkes, and patterned muumuus. You can really have a field day in there. Firestone’s pro tip for browsing Target? “Head straight to the obscure and sole-purpose kitchen appliances. Like the frozen yogurt machines.”
Now, would you look at that, it’s already happy hour. Firestone recommends No. 7 Restaurant (7 Greene Avenue), and for the record, so do we! Head there for a drink before 7:30pm, and you can also order some epic broccoli tacos at just $4 apiece.
Now for something a little more high-brow-brilliant, to balance out the Target trip. Firestone loves to check out the evening comedy scene at Splitty (415 Myrtle Avenue). And if nothing’s going on there, she’ll just see what’s playing at BK’s premier cultural institution, BAM Rose Cinemas (30 Lafayette Avenue). “I can’t remember the last thing I saw at BAM. That being said, I can’t really remember what happened yesterday either, so there’s that.”
Even if it means seeing two movies in one day, it just wouldn’t be a summer Sunday in Fort Greene if you didn’t close out the night with an outdoor flick at Habana Outpost (757 Fulton Street). It’s a casual Mexican-Cuban restaurant with counter service and a bustling neighborhood feel, but on Sunday nights Jo favors the extra buzz in the back courtyard, where they play cult-classic films each week. “They project the movies on to the side of the building, and that’s really great.”
For Firestone, that buzzy feeling isn’t just limited to Outpost on a Sunday. Rather, she feels it characterizes this BK neighborhood as a whole. “Fort Greene is so exciting at night during the summertime,” says Firestone. “Everybody’s out having a good time! It’s just a real nice laid-back party scene. Even if I just watch it happen on my way home, from a dumb comedy show that probably happened in dumb Manhattan.”
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