Forget everything you ever heard about the G train, because it is about to become the best subway line in the MTA system.
Starting on July 5, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will extend the formerly reviled four-car train, which frustratingly terminated at Smith-Ninth Street, out to Church Avenue, adding five more stops to the route.
It’s arguably the greatest advancement in transportation since the opening of the Panama Canal.
The ascendant train will give Brooklynites a one-seat, Manhattan-free ride between Kensington and Greenpoint — linking those far-flung neighborhoods, and all the riches in between.
The Brooklyn Paper hopped on and off this pre-eminent mode of intra-borough transit and found the best eating, drinking and attractions within striking distance of the G line’s stops new and old.
From Greenpoint Avenue to Church Avenue, The Brooklyn Paper salutes the G train.
Fort Hamilton Parkway and Church Avenue stations
Why head to Queens to satisfy a craving for multiculturalism when you can dash off to Church Avenue in the heart of Kensington? Bring your appetite and translator to the blocks around McDonald Avenue where Albanian, Bangladeshi, Mexican, Polish, Dominican, Russian and Turkish restaurants and groceries dot the polyglot boulevard. Some of our favorites include Queso Mexico for the Oaxaca cheese, Kabir’s Bakery (for Pakistani food) and Golden Farm, a multi-ethnic grocery.
Kabir’s Bakery [97 Church Ave., between McDonald Avenue and Dahill Road, (718) 853-7907]; Golden Farm [329 Church Ave., between E. Third and E. Fourth streets, (718) 871-1009]; Queso Mexico [2905 Fort Hamilton Pkwy., at E. Fourth Street, (718) 854-4424].
Fourth Avenue, Seventh Avenue and Prospect Park stations
The well-traveled neighborhood is full of gems and always worth a visit whether it’s for a midnight snack and accompanying libations at Bar Tano at the hot Third Avenue side of the nabe, a Sunday schmear at the renowned Terrace Bagels on Prospect Park West, or a sit-down affair at the indispensable Dizzy’s, with its impeccable corned beef hash. Work off all those calories in the fitness center at the Park Slope Armory (if it ever opens).
Bar Tano [457 Third Ave., at the corner of Ninth Street, (718) 499-3400]; Terrace Bagels [234 Prospect Park West, between 16th Street and Windsor Place, (718) 768-3943]; Dizzy’s [511 Ninth St. at the corner of Eighth Avenue, (718) 499-1966].
Bergen Street station
This stop provides the most bang for the buck for a night on the town of probably any other station on the G line. It has the most handsome tavern in the land in the laid back Brooklyn Inn, a watering hole with reasonable drink prices. In between the Inn and the Bergen Station is Hanco’s, the bargain Vietnamese sandwich shop that can go toe-to-toe with any of the banh mi specialists in Sunset Park. Just up the road is the Micro Museum, Brooklyn’s living arts center. Check the schedule to catch an upcoming concert on the institution’s piece de resistance, the Lumiano, a pimped out piano.
The Brooklyn Inn [148 Hoyt St., at the corner of Hoyt Street, (718) 522-2525]; Micro Museum [123 Smith St., between Pacific and Dean streets, (718) 797-3116]; Hanco’s [85 Bergen St., between Smith and Hoyt streets, (718) 858-6818].
Fulton Street, Clinton-Washington Avenue and Classon Avenue stations
The Classon Avenue stop is a small culinary hub, but one of the most worthwhile destinations on the entire route. The standout is Choice, a crowded café. The tilapia sandwich is not to be missed. Also check out Dakar, a Senegalese restaurant around the corner on Grand Avenue.
Meanwhile, the nexus of Fulton Street and Lafayette Avenue is the commercial crossroads of Fort Greene, home to a growing number of boutiques and restaurants. You’ll never have so much being environmentally conscious as when you down a margarita blended by a bicycle-powered blender in Habana Outpost. And no matter how much you love the G train, you’re still bound to get sick of the MTA. So check out the guys at the newly opened Bespoke Bicycles when alternate modes of transportation are on your mind.
Habana Outpost [757 Fulton St., at S. Portland Avenue, (718) 858-9500]; Bespoke Bicycles [64 Lafayette Ave., between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue, (718) 643-6816]; Choice Market [318 Lafayette Ave., at Grand Avenue, (718) 230-5234]; Dakar [285 Grand Ave., between Lafayette Avenue and Clifton Place, (718) 398-8900].
Greenpoint Avenue, Nassau Avenue and Metropolitan Avenue stations
Where to begin? The northern reaches of the meandering G line are teeming with hotspots — a bar that gives you a free pizza with every drink, literary hangouts, vinyl record shops, an outstanding restaurant part-owned by the late Heath Ledger and even a graffiti-themed art, fashion and music shop. But this isn’t just hipster central: the home cooking in the Polish restaurants in Greenpoint and the ambrosial doughnuts of the Peter Pan Bakery are worth a trip in their own right.
Permanent Records [181 Franklin Ave., near Huron Street, (718) 383-4083]; Alphabetta [70 Greenpoint Ave., between Franklin and West streets, (718) 383-4444]; Word bookstore [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street, (718) 383-0096]; Peter Pan Bakery [727 Manhattan Ave., between Meserole and Norman avenues, (718) 389-3676]; Five Leaves [18 Bedford Ave., at Nassau Avenue, (646) 510-6467]; Alligator Lounge [600 Metropolitan Ave., between Lorimer and Leonard streets, (718) 599-4440].