Originally part of Bay Ridge, the area got its own name with the creation of Sunset Park in 1891. Today, the neighborhood extends from Prospect Expressway to 65th Street and Eighth Avenue to the waterfront. Sunset Park’s first major development began after the Civil War when manufacturing enterprises were established on its waterfront. Beginning in the 1880s, the inland area developed as a residential neighborhood for middle- and working-class families, including many who worked on the waterfront. A major stimulant to its growth was the establishment in 1889 of a ferry service to and from Manhattan at Second Avenue and 39th Street. Sunset Park’s first waves of immigrants were Irish, German, and Scandinavian, but by the late 19th century, immigrants from Italy, Greece, and Poland also arrived. To accommodate them, large swaths of rowhouses were built. Puerto Rican and other Latin American populations began settling here in the 1940s, and large numbers of Asian immigrants arrived in the 1980s, establishing Brooklyn’s first and New York City’s third “Chinatown.” Sunset Park’s standout building type is the masonry rowhouse. In fact, Sunset Park contains one of the earliest and most extensive concentrations of two-family masonry rowhouses in the city. Mostly built between 1885 and 1912, these stunning blocks are accented by commercial thoroughfares and institutional and religious buildings mostly completed by the early 1930s. #history#sunsetpark
At the turn of the 20th century, the 6-million-square-foot, 16-building complex known today as Industry City was a thriving center of manufacturing, warehousing and distribution. Spanning more than 30 waterfront acres, Bush Terminal, as it was called then, had its own police force, fire department and power plant. After extensive and ongoing renovations, this sprawling campus (18,480 windows, 144 elevators) is now home to a broad range of tenants, from individual artists to larger companies. These include a handful of chocolate factories, namely Tumbador, Liddabit Sweets and Li-Lac, the last of these a nearly 100-year-old business that recently moved production to Brooklyn; watch its confections being made by peeking through its large windows. But the site not just about commerce: during the summer, weekly Mister Sunday parties transform a courtyard into an outdoor dance space, while all year round, Industry City Distillery, famous for its 80-proof vodka made from raw beet sugar, offers weekly tours (Saturday, 3pm; $15) of its facilities. For a quick bite, head to the complex's food hall, home to Colson Patisserie, Blue Marble Ice Cream and ReCaFo (short for "Real Caribbean Food"), among other gourmet-ish spots. A couple of miles away, the BKLYN Army Terminal, another rehabilitated industrial complex covering some 4 million square feet, once served as the country's largest military-supply base.
Plenty of opportunities exists to satisfy your sweet tooth after whatever meal you've chosen. La Gran Via Bakery is a Cuban-owned establishment known for its elaborately decorated and painstakingly constructed cakes, from those adorned with a cascade of delicate sugar flowers to something shaped like an Angry Bird. Thankfully, La Gran Via also sells its confections by the slice, including tres leches, cheesecake, and Dominican cake (layered, with a tropical filling), as well as cannolis and cookies. Ines Bakery, a Mexican spot, also has amazing tres leches plus house-made doughnuts. It's the place to go should you get a hankering for something sweet in the wee small hours; on weekdays, Ines stays open all night. Bon Appetite is an Asian bakery over Seventh Avenue, trading in a variety of cakes, buns, milk teas, and dumplings. The Green Fig Bakery, near Green-Wood Cemetery, is a bi-level cafe with a wide selection of pastries and baked goods: basics like croissants and black-and-white cookies; treats such as pumpkin bread, Linzer tortes, and chocolate-covered fig crucettas (a kind of cookie). It also has savory lunch fare, including many vegan options. #cafes#sunsetpark