Erin Lindsey and Denny Brownell live in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, but spend many of their weekends outside the city. The two write about and photograph their experiences outside the five boroughs on their travel site, Escape Brooklyn.
It all started in the Rockaways. After a combined 20 years of living in the city, they started going to Rockaway Beach every weekend and began to wonder what else was out there. They bought a car and the rest, as they say, is history.
[This story was first posted in May 2016.]
We suggest you take Lindsey's words for it when you're planning your next escape from Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island or the Bronx. Who knows, maybe you'll even want to set down roots in one of these places?
1. What's your favorite place to go for a day trip outside the city (extra points if it's train-accessible)?
We just visited Bannerman Castle on Pollepel Island last week. It's a giant castle in the middle of the Hudson River that was built to store arms in the 1850s. You can take the MetroNorth to Beacon (one of our most popular daytrips on Escape Brooklyn), then take a boat just steps from the train platform.
2. What are some unknown towns worth exploring this summer?
We always send people to Bovina (photo below), but we're really excited to be staying in a teepee outside of Roxbury next month. We're also digging the western end of the Catskills right now, which is a little less developed than its eastern counterpart. Also, anywhere in Vermont. It's a bit further for New Yorkers, but so worth taking off the extra time it takes to get there!
3. Any overrated places you'd steer clear of?
Not really. Everyone has their own reasons for liking something–that's why we have a lot of options on Escape Brooklyn, from highbrow to lowbrow. Does Times Square count?
4. What are your favorite beaches near the city?
Rockaway will always have our heart–we practically spent a whole summer there. (Denny even has a Rockaway Beach tattoo!) After Hurricane Sandy, we spent a few weeks out there volunteering to clean it up. The destruction was absolutely heartbreaking, but it's been incredible to see the resilience of the long-term residents at Rockaway, as well as the great energy from all the newcomers.
5. What's your favorite thing about getting out of the city?
There's always something new to discover–you can go to the same town five times and have a different experience with every visit. Also, fresh air!
6. What's your apartment like in Brooklyn? What neighborhood do you live in?
We just signed our fifth lease in Crown Heights. Our neighborhood is amazing, with century-old beautiful freestanding mansions, brownstones, and the friendliest neighbors. Though our own building is pretty unremarkable, our apartment is like a mini-cabin, and filled with taxidermy, wood crates, art, and old rusty signs. Aside from Escape Brooklyn, we also buy and sell vintage and antiques, so our collection at home is always rotating.
7. Would you ever "Escape Brooklyn" for good? If so, where would you consider relocating to?
We talk about this a lot, but for now, the answer is no. If we absolutely had to leave, we know some great folks in the western Catskills, in the Sullivan and Delaware County areas, who are doing really cool things like opening restaurants, hotels, and even trying their hand at farming. There's a really great can-do energy there, and the region is ripe with opportunity!