… Get a slice at DiFara: Dom DiMarco has been making sublime pizza at his Avenue J hole-in-the-wall for decades, and the pies are better than ever. But nothing — even the greatest pizzaiolo in the land — lasts forever, so get to Midwood before you miss your chance to watch Dom roll out every pie by hand, grate his own fresh buffalo mozzarella, and clip the basil leaves.
DiFara Pizzeria [1424 Avenue J at E. 15th Street in Midwood, (718) 258-1367].
… Eat a huge slab of sour cream cake at Bakery La Brioche: This Brighton Beach bakery may have a French name, but it’s stocked with Russian pastries. The best goodie may be the tart and creamy sour cream cake, which is sold by the inch rather than the slice. So get a piece that’s about five inches wide — at least.
Bakery La Brioche Cafe [1073 Brighton Beach Ave. between Brighton 12th and Brighton 13th streets in Brighton Beach, (718) 934-0731].
… Get a pie at Totonno’s: This 85-year-old Coney Island pizzeria was almost wiped out in a fire last year, so make sure to get your coal oven pizza fix before another catastrophe hits.
Totonno’s [1524 Neptune Ave. between W. 15th and W. 16th streets in Coney Island, (718) 372-8606].
… Eat at Roll-N-Roaster: Three words: roast beef sandwich. Roll-N-Roaster has been serving one of the best in the borough since the 1970s, so it’s about time you took a bite of this fatty, $5 delight.
Roll-N-Roaster [2901 Emmons Ave. between Nostrand Avenue and E. 29th St. in Sheepshead Bay, (718) 769-6000].
… See the West Indian Day parade: It’s a Labor Day institution that draws more than one million spectators to Eastern Parkway every year. This September, resolve to check out on the costumed dance troupes, live soca music and fresh beef patties.
West Indian American Day Carnival [along Eastern Parkway starting at Schenectady Avenue in Crown Heights to Grand Army Plaza in Prospect Heights, (718) 467-1797].
… Go on a Wild Brooklyn Parrot Safari: Start embracing the fact that we live in a jungle, as flocks of these exotic birds have made Brooklyn their home. Find out how they got here and check out their colony with Brooklyn College’s safari. The next outing is Jan. 11 at 11 am.
Wild Brooklyn Parrot Safari with Brooklyn College [2900 Bedford Ave. at Campus Road in Flatbush]. For info, visit www.brookl
… Take a hip-hop history tour: Hip-hop may have started in the Bronx (that’s debatable!), but Brooklyn is home to some of the illest emcees. Hush Hip Hop Tours ventures to the Bedford-Stuyvestant projects where Jay-Z grew up, the studio where Biggie recorded and even the Criminal Court, where several artists went on trial.
The next tour is Jan. 27. For info, visit www.hushhi
… Appreciate the Narrows Botanical Gardens in Bay Ridge: This waterfront park is ideal for a spring stroll. Our favorite part is the fragrant pathway, a trail of flower that’s the best smelling area this side of the Gowanus.
Narrows Botanical Gardens [Shore Road between Bay Ridge Avenue and 72nd Street in Bay Ridge, (718 748-4810].
… Visit the Wyckoff House in Flatlands: A tour through this home offers a great lesson in Brooklyn history. The Wyckoff House, the oldest building in New York, exhibits the life of a Dutch family in the 17th century.
The Wyckoff House [5816 Clarendon Rd. at E. 59th Street in the Flatlands, (718) 629-3125]. For info, visit www.wyckof
… See a show at Kingsborough Community College’s performing arts center: The Leon M. Goldstein Performing Arts Center has Lincoln Center-quality performances on the cheap. This year, we plan to catch the St. Petersburg Classic Ballet Theater in March for $30 and a Groucho Marx tribute show for only $25.
Kingsborough Performing Arts Center at Kingsborough Community College [2001 Oriental Blvd. at Decatur Avenue in Manhattan Beach, (718) 368-5596]
… Check out the Siren Festival: Even if you don’t like art rock or pop punk, it’s worth going to Coney Island’s annual free rock fest just to see bands with kooky names. Last summer, Cymbals Eat Guitars and Surfer Blood, Ponytail and Holy F*** performed, so we can’t wait to find out who’s hitting the stage this year.
Siren Festival [Surf Avenue at W. 10th Street in Coney Island] For info, visit siren.vill
… Finally check out the Drummer’s Grove in Prospect Park: Listening to the conga players jamming and watching Carribean dancers groove is a quintessentially Brooklyn way to spend a Sunday afternoon. We’d like to get up the nerve to bring our own drum and join in, but making that aspiration a resolution is too bold for us.
Drummer’s Grove at Prospect Park (Ocean Avenue entrance near Parkside Avenue, no phone). For info, visit www.prospe
… See a show at the Regina Opera Company: The company’s world-class musical performances in Bay Ridge are a real bargain at $23, especially for such an intimate setting. There are two operas scheduled for 2011 so far: “The Mikado,” a comedy about an executioner, and “The Tales of Hoffman,” about a poet who can’t find love — the ultimate writer’s block.
Regina Hall [1210 65th St. at 12th Avenue in Bay Ridge, (718) 259-2772].
… Participate in the Mermaid Parade: Sure, everyone loves to play voyeur at Coney Island’s famous half-nude summer parade, but we resolve to actually dress up this year. And that means going the whole nine yards: body paint, pasties, crown and any other nymph accessories.
… Mermaid Parade [starts at W. 21st Street and Surf Avenue in Coney Island, (718) 372-5101].
… Ride the cyclone — twice: Coney Island is rapidly changing under the city’s redevelopment plan, but the Cyclone is here to stay (it’s a designated city landmark, after all). One bumpy ride for $8 just isn’t enough, so fork over an extra $5 to ride it a second time.
Cyclone Roller coaster [1000 Surf Ave. at W. 10th Street in Coney Island, (718) 265-2100].
… Learn how to make your own chocolate at Jomart: Marine Park’s gourmet chocolate shop offers four-week courses on how to make chocolate molds and truffles from scratch. And while you’re in the store, pick up a box of Jomart’s addictive chocolate covered marshmallows.
Jomart [2917 Avenue R between Nostrand Avenue and E. 29th Street in Marine Park, (718) 375-1277].
… Take a steam at the Royal Palace: An entry fee of $40 gets you access to this Brighton Beach spa’s steam room, a hot as hell room where you lie on marble slaps. After five minutes, you dunk your head in ice water, then move on to the sauna and finish off your day of purification with a cooling dip in the pool. This is true Southern Brooklyn luxury.
Royal Palace [614 Sheepshead Bay Rd. at W. Eighth Street in Brighton Beach, (877) 819-2284].