Find your place in the Sunset Park!
The second stop on the South Brooklyn line of the New York Ferry brings you to Sunset Park — the least touristy of our pit stops along the waterfront. Still, the industrial landscape of Sunset Park offers hidden gems to those willing to carve a path through its streets.
Dominating the skyline when you step off the pier is the imposing and spooky Brooklyn Army Terminal (140 58th St. at First Avenue), a mammoth four million square-foot palace originally built as a supply base for — as you can guess from the name — the American military. The Terminal is now populated by more than 100 different businesses, including the Jacque Torres chocolate factory, biotech researchers, and a host of artist’s studios — but if you stop here on the weekend, walking amongst the terminal’s bizarre Brutalist architecture can feel entering a post-apocalyptic film. For a more in-depth exploration, you can join Turnstile Tours on July 1 (and on the first and third Saturday of each month) at 11 am for a two-hour walking tour of the complex, which comes with plenty of World War II-era trivia and majestic views of the harbour.
After your tour, it is time to seek some refreshment. Follow 58th Street up the hill and away from the river, and you will emerge back into civilization amidst the bustle of Fourth Avenue. Here you will find the Irish Haven Bar (5721 Fourth Ave. at 58th Street), an iconic watering hole with all of the unpolished, roguish Irish charm you might desire, along with ’90s wood paneling and the cheapest pint of Guinness in Brooklyn. The dive bar’s interior is so atmospheric that it has been filmed for the Martin Scorsese film “The Departed” and the Batman prequel television show “Gotham” — both times as a criminal hangout. Before you order a drink, be warned: the Haven is cash only.
When it is time to soak up the booze, keep going down 58th Street and until you hit Eighth Avenue, then hang a left, where Pacificana (813 55th St. at Eighth Avenue) awaits. This dim sum palace is a standout of kitchy Asian glamor and, more importantly, of good food. The dumplings are kings here, with the highlights being the shrimp and pork dumplings and the Jiu Cai Bau, a Cantonese chive dumpling with a crispy fried exterior. Pacificana, unlike many other Chinese restaurants, does not slack with its desserts — don’t miss the deep-fried Mantou.
Sunset Park ferry stop (58th Street at First Avenue in Sunset Park, www.ferry.nyc). $2.75 per trip.