NFT Travel Guides: Red Hook Waterfront Arts Fest, NYC

Ed Forteau's picture

One of our travel guides partners, Not For Tourists, has many funny and unique offerings for travelers on their website this week. Check out the following highlights from their New York City correspondents this week...  



More than Swedish Meatballs

 Craig Nelson

Louis Valentino Jr Park and Pier
The Red Hook Waterfront Arts Festival, June 5-6

Red Hook is home to an almost embarrassing number of businesses and services that are unique to the neighborhood, whether you're looking for fresh Maine lobster or a vegetable farm growing in Brooklyn (or, yes, a piece of un-assembled furniture whose name has more vowels than consonants). See the waterfront community come together for its annual summer kick-off at Dance Theatre Etcetera's 16th Annual Red Hook Waterfront Arts Festival in Valentino Park, June 5-6, 2009. Chow down on the best food from the area (think Jamaican jerk and Mexican tacos), take a free kayak ride in New York Harbor to take in the breathtaking views of Lady Liberty, and enjoy the Mainstage entertainment from a lineup jam-packed with enough of Brooklyn's best dance, music, and spoken word artists to fill a month of Sundays at Celebrate! Brooklyn's outdoor concert series. Progressive community building combined with an outdoor dance party? Of course it's in Red Hook.


Not Just For Grandma

 Harris Solomon

Tea Lounge

 How do you become an instant Park Slope success? Take a former Laundromat, add mismatched couches and tables, play a wild mix of indie hits and serve good coffee. The Tea Lounge brings together the variety of Park Slopers that populate the surrounding area--scruffy freelancers, new mothers with toddlers in tow, and the usual coffee-bar crowd of laptop users. As for the namesake, it's available by the mug, individual pot, or satchel for home brewing. And while at times it can feel like a hybrid office/playdate space, the Tea Lounge is a great place to grab a beer or glass of wine in the early evenings, thanks to a full bar area. With that said, don't expect a hot pickup scene: most people here are probably too enamored with their Macbooks to take note of you.


Burrito Brothers

 Molly Riordan

Calexico Carne Asada

Which is harder to find in Nolita: quality lunch-cart food or quality tacos? Find the Calexico cart and the answer is neither! Battling bland hot-dogs and yuppy-Mexican with a couple of spatulas and puffy vests, the gentleman-soldiers of Calexico Carne Asada are on the streets fighting the good fight for fresh n'tasty Cal-Mex. Tacos, burritos, and "rolled quesadillas" are launching droves of Soho-office workers into full-fledged burrito comas, burping chipotle 'crack' sauce as they digest listlessly at their desks. As the esteemed winners of the 2008 Vendy Awards, the Calexico crew draws a faithful and growing following, so hit the cart early or late to avoid the rush. There may not be crack in the sauce, but burrito cravings will compel patrons out of the expensive Mexican restaurants of Soho, crowding the sidewalks to rejoice at the advent of damn-fine street food.


Edible Art

Sara Bogush

Minamoto Kitchoan

They're almost too pretty to eat...almost. Hard-to-find this side of the Pacific, wagashi are traditional Japanese pastries that have played a role in tea ceremonies for centuries. They're usually shaped from sweet rice paste, bean paste, or jellied fruits into exquisite cakes, flowers, and animals. At this Midtown bakery, wagashi are displayed inside dramatically-lit glass cases, as if their sole purpose were to be admired. But make no mistake, they are quite snackable, and at $2-$3 per piece, they're within reason when your sweet tooth begs for something different. Lest you worry about what you're biting into, calorie, ingredient, and freshness information is meticulously displayed, and the counter people are unfailingly friendly, despite an occasional language barrier.


Real Deal

 Tommy Rudnick

Just Things

Lately, I have found that most thrift stores don't leave you feeling very thrifty. Beacon's Closet and Amarcord (both located in Williamsburg) are great for finding a nice old cardigan (which I have done), but one must be prepared to overpay for it, so to speak (which I have also done). The solution: don't shop in Williamsburg; go to Queens! Queens is cheaper, and Long Island City has one of the best thrift stores I've ever been to. It's called Just Things. Technically, it does just have things. But it has cheap things. Beautiful things: jewelry, hats, porcelain, clothes, shoes, records, antiques, etc, etc., and it's been in the neighborhood for thirty years. Just the other day, I happened upon a beautiful wooden box for a friend's birthday, and it was cheap! It's not a hip thrift store; it's just a thrift store--something that's becoming harder and harder to find. 



Check out NFT's website  - they have free downloadable guides, maps, gear, and of course, the travel guide books. Not to mention, they are pretty funny people. I am always laughing when I visit their site, or read their newsletter.


Not For Tourists has offered a coupon for Wandering Educators - please use the coupon code: WE for a 10% discount.