Brooklyn According to "Big Rich"

According to TripAdvisor, (May 2010) “A Tour Grows in Brooklyn is the #1 attraction.” After a two hour drive, I can honestly say that “Big Rich” did not disappoint! He is a survivor. After being laid off from Wall Street, within a day, he was planning his tours. Living all of his 45 years in Brooklyn, he knows it all so well. He is a master of the small, behind the scenes details which I really enjoyed hearing about. He must have read every book published on the history of Brooklyn! We walked past Al Capone’s homes, heard about the public bath house of the early 1900’s which now is the Brooklyn Lyceum, home to artists and musicians. This three hour tour takes the visitor to the Arch of Grand Army Plaza, resembling the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. This iconic monument serves as the entrance to Prospect Park, which features the oldest bridge in Brooklyn as well as the longest meadow of any park in America. Our walk took us past beautiful and unusual architecture, the brownstone homes and gentrified neighborhoods. The tour ended on a high note over a slice of pizza! We then took refuge from the rain in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and the Japanese Garden was such a peace-filled sanctuary on this 52 acre haven. We continued our on foot exploration and ended up in the Hasidic neighborhood of Crown Heights, the home of the worldwide Lubavitch movement. For dinner, we could not pass up the wonderful array of restaurants on 5th Ave. in the Park Slope neighborhood and landed at Moutarde, the popular French bistro featured in the movie, Julie & Julia. A perfect way to end the day…wonderful conversation and delicious food to accompany, “A Votre Sante'”!