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The Best Spots in Brooklyn

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Brooklyn has changed so much since I was a kid, and parts of it are probably unrecognizable from when my dad was born at Brooklyn Jewish hospital in 1943. A lot of this has been good change in the form of art, culture, neighborhood-defining restaurants, shops and more. This week, we’ve gooped Brooklyn, rounding up some of the best spots for your perusal/exploration (or in case you need a bite on your way to the new Barclays Center).

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ShapeShifter Lab

18 Whitwell Pl., Gowanus | 646.820.9452

With nightly events that feature established and emerging musicians, there’s always something good playing in this performance space/jazz club, run by bass player Matthew Garrison, son of Jimmy Garrison (bass player for John Coltrane).

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Pioneer Works

159 Pioneer St., Red Hook | 718.596.3000

Artist Dustin Yellin recently opened this non-profit contemporary arts center, located in a large, brick and timber 19th-century warehouse in Red Hook. It feels a bit like a young PS1, with one of the largest uninterrupted exhibition spaces in New York City, both indoor and outdoor exhibition areas, public programs, artists residencies, and a magazine.

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Drummer’s Grove

Parkside & Ocean Ave. Entrance, Prospect Park, Lefferts Garden

The Congo Square Drummers started gathering here informally in 1968, and it's been going every since: You can still catch this drum circle every Sunday, from April through October, 2pm to dusk. It's particularly fun for kids.

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Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

1000 Washington Ave., Prospect Heights | 718.623.7200

The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens are covered in acres of gorgeous plants and flowers. From the Japanese Tea Garden to the Lily-Pad exhibit, this is a great place to stroll or spend a day with the kids (there are lots of pit-stops for snacks throughout).

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Brooklyn Museum

200 Eastern Pkwy., Prospect Heights | 718.638.5000

One of the largest and oldest art museums in the country, the Brooklyn Museum is housed in a gorgeous Beaux-Arts building at the top of Prospect Park. Besides being one of our favorite Brooklyn landmarks, the exhibitions are great (and sometimes quite splashy). The colorful African exhibitions rooms and American design galleries are pretty spectacular. Don't miss Judy Chicago's classic 70's feminist installation, "The Dinner Party."

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