Four-Star Boutique Hotel in Brooklyn
Named a DJ on the rise by MTV in 2004, DJ Bijal has traveled the world over spinning hip-hop and dancehall reggae music, earning the nickname “Mr. Everywhere” along the way. After years of hopping from one hotel to the next, DJ Bijal decided to open his own in Brooklyn—Hotel BPM, which stands for beats per minute. Along with a minimalist, modern look, DJ Bijal designed the trendy digs with music lovers in mind; you can even request a favorite song to be played over the loudspeaker in the hotel’s common areas.
DJ Bijal had a say in every aspect of the boutique hotel, from the plush linens to the contents of the minibar. He also lent his musical touch to the stylish guest rooms, where you’ll find entertainment magazines, soundproof walls, and personal speakers in the bathrooms that play tunes from a curated playlist. Head downstairs to grab a bite and a drink at the onsite lounge.
Brooklyn's Sunset Park: Chinatown and Scenic Parks
Brooklyn is New York City's most populous borough, but compared to Manhattan, it's relatively devoid of tourists. That doesn't mean there's a shortage of interesting sights, though. Brooklyn’s bustling Chinatown runs along Eighth Avenue, which is lined with fish markets, street-cart food vendors, and retail shops. The 478-acre Green-Wood Cemetery is the final resting place of several famous New Yorkers, including Horace Greeley, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and Boss Tweed, of the Tammany Hall political machine. Now a National Historic Landmark, the cemetery hosts guided tours and occasional events.
Nearby Park Slope was named the most livable neighborhood in New York City by New York magazine, and it’s not hard to see why. Its leafy streets are lined with charming brownstones as well as scores of top-rated restaurants and trendsetting boutiques—all of which are a stone’s throw from the rolling lawns of Prospect Park. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in the 1860s, this 585-acre park includes an intricate watercourse and the last of Brooklyn's indigenous forests. Ice skating and sledding are popular activities at the park in the winter.
About 1 mile northeast, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden has a rose garden with more than 1,000 species. In winter, the 6,000-square-foot Tropical Pavilion provides a welcome respite from the cold—it's kept hot and humid at the request of the resident plants, who hail from Asia, Africa, and the Amazon basin. A short walk up Washington Avenue is the Brooklyn Museum, which known for its world-famous Egyptian collection and provocative temporary exhibits.