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Explore Brooklyn

This week we found one of the hottest rates yet for New York City, which puts guests in Brooklyn, one of the coolest boroughs. Brooklyn has enough flea markets, cultural institutions and trendy restaurants to rival (some might even say surpass) its more famous neighbor, Manhattan. Here are just a few reasons to skip over to the other side of the river this summer:

Renegade Craft Fair

For those who can get there this weekend, the Brooklyn installment of this touring craft fair is setting up shop June 11-12 from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. at McCarren Park. More than 300 artists and craftsmen from Brooklyn, San Francisco and hipster enclaves in between will be on hand showcasing their wares: hand-sewn canvas bags, antiqued jewelry, ceramic tableware, original illustrations and anything in the world that can be letterpressed.

Brooklyn Flea

If this weekend is too soon, then visit any other time of the year for this market that has nearly redefined the idea of a flea market. Held in several locations throughout the borough every Saturday and Sunday, the Flea features its own assortment of homespun goods along with mid-century antiques and salvaged industrial fixtures that would fit just fine in the converted warehouses some of these residents call home. Shoppers often feed on the work of local chefs, and this season a new all-food outpost of the market has opened on Saturdays in the Williamsburg neighborhood.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Now in its 101st year, this sprawling garden features thousands of plants from all over the world arranged into collections. The Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden looks transplanted directly from the east, with its stone lanterns, wooden bridges and pavilion. The Herb Garden is a cloud of fragrant vegetables, berries and edible blossoms. Through August the grounds are also hosting an installation by artist Patrick Dougherty, who wove together sticks and twigs to create giant nestlike forms.

Brooklyn Academy of Music

This venerable institution brings some of the world’s finest films and performing arts to the borough. In addition to screening popular new movies, BAM often shows lauded foreign films and golden age classics. There are also R&B music festivals, ballets and exhibitions from local photographers.

Coney Island

Seemingly teetering at the edge of the civilized world, this legendary beachfront neighborhood captures the imagination with its beautifully decaying buildings and otherworldly oddness. The year-old Luna Park amusement park features sparkling new thrill rides alongside the rickety, terrifying-because-you-actually-might-fly-off-the-tracks, 1927 wooden roller coaster The Cyclone. On Saturday June 18 at 2 p.m. is the kickoff of the 29th annual Mermaid Parade, where crowds of people slather on glitter and seashells (and not much else) and promenade along the boardwalk.

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Tips by

Deal Expert, New York
Saturday, June 11, 2011
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Ryan Haase