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Photograph courtesy James Wendell/Gallerystock
Once a desolate patch, Brooklyn’s Williamsburg (aka Billyburg) has transformed into a hub of restaurants, bars, and quaint shops; it’s the best place to check out what’s truly happening in New York City. Across from McCarren Park, the new King & Grove Williamsburg hotel is a luxe base, with roomy, ultramod digs and a rooftop bar. A ten-minute walk leads to the tree-lined waterfront and the latest outpost of Brooklyn Flea, a bazaar of artisanal crafts, gourmet food, and beverage vendors. The cozy Five Leaves is renowned for such brunch dishes as roasted eggplant-quinoa cake and pork belly sandwich with Gruyère, cilantro mayo, and jalapeño jam (dinner is equally good), and if the time is right, step into the Hotel Delmano, a speakeasy with proper cocktails and a candlelit room in back. Clubs and venues along Bedford Avenue, Berry Street, and Driggs Avenue will reward you with all kinds of indie music, and of course there’s always Manhattan—just one stop away on the L train.