Brooklyn Mel always writes such interesting stuff, that I thought I'd take his perspective a little further.
In the meanwhile it will give some orientation to visitors who want to visit Brooklyn. But, is that Brooklyn c. 2012 or Brooklyn 'back in the day?
I was born in Flatlands area of Brooklyn in 1948, and have lived in NYC ever since (except for a year in Santa Fe NM). My neighborhood was a quiet middle class community. In fact Gil Hodges (remember him?) lived there, too.
Where we went for fun included Kings Highway, Marine Park, Prospect Park (esp. Zoo), beaches in Riis Park (Bay 14) and Breezy Point (Queens) sometimes Belle Harbor. We also went "downtown" to shop at Abraham & Strauss, and hang out around Court St, Borough Hall, Joralemon St, Brooklyn Heights. My grandmother owned a small 3 story building in Red Hook, which she sold in 1970 (for $17,000!). We hung out on "stoops", played street games, and had a fun time. We rarely went into Manhattan, although many of our fathers worked there. All our moms were stay-at-home. (It was 1950's after all).
We went to Jahn's for ice cream ("kitchen sink") and lots of other "ice cream parlors"; Coney Island (Steeplechase), the aquarium, Brighton Beach (esp. knishes), Sheepshead Bay (fresh fish right off the fishing boats) were part of our summers.
My mom went to high school in Park Slope, as did my sister. I went to college in Brooklyn (St. John's U which is now a condo) as did my sister (St. Joseph's College). I hung out a lot at the Bklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza. There were a few old Dutch farmhouse around (and still are). The Dutch originally settled Brooklyn and there was that influence, as well as Ducth-named street, which are still here.
Williamburg was then downscale with lots of industrial areas and poverty. So was Bushwick. You would NEVER go there. Ft. Greene was nice, as was Park Slope.
In 1972 I made the HUGE journey to live in Manhattan (Greenwich Village/now Columbus Circle) but hold Brooklyn close to me. I get more than a little frustrated with recent newcomers who think they "own" Brooklyn!
There are so many memories I could add, but I know there are other Brooklynites here who can also add their story. Or visitors with any Q's. It's great to visit Brooklyn, but don't be fooled by the hipster version of "Brooklyn", there's much history here.
Many of the places I mentioned are still in Brooklyn - give it a try!