I grew up in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and lived there until 1988. My job covering the Raptors means I go to New York whenever we play the Nets in Brooklyn or the Knicks in Manhattan. I love Brooklynites: they’re straight shooters and what you see is what you get. The borough has undergone a remarkable transformation. These days it’s less “Joey Bag of Donuts” and more hipster, and I’m excited and proud that it has reinvented itself. The original charm and beauty remain, but Brooklyn is now bigger and better than ever. It’s a place that folks want to both live in and visit.
Farrell’s Bar & Grill doesn’t have a grill, despite its name. This old–fashioned neighbourhood bar has been open for over 85 years and is popular with off–duty cops and firefighters. It’s cash–only with ice–cold Budweiser on tap – you’re not going to find a colder beer anywhere else.
Other Half Brewing Company represents the growth and progressiveness of Brooklyn. The beer is off the charts: I’m an IPA guy and theirs are sensational. It’s a lively place with good music and you can bring your own food and hang out.
Juliana’s Pizza is owned by the Grimaldi family, the legendary Brooklyn pizza dynasty. The coal–fire slices are as good as it gets, and they remind me of growing up in Brooklyn. It’s incredibly popular, so get there early to avoid a lineup.
New York Transit Museum brings me back to my life in Brooklyn. It’s an old subway station that has been converted into a museum with all the old cars and advertisements on display. The subway is one of those authentic New York experiences: we’re all equals down there riding in the tunnels.
Prospect Park is a favourite running spot of mine – think of it as Brooklyn’s version of Central Park. You’ve got people walking their dogs, families with little kids in carriages, and playgrounds – it’s an oasis from the busyness of Brooklyn, away from police sirens, fire engines and honking horns. Once you step inside, things just quieten down.