Its name doesn’t conjure up a particularly warm and fuzzy image, but Sunset Park’s Industry City has become one of the most kid-friendly spots in an already very kid-friendly borough. After all, in Brooklyn, “family time” is itself a big industry.
And I don’t mind one bit that the Industry City bigwigs know exactly how to lure Brooklynite parents to their relatively remote revamped Bush Terminal warehouses: with the promise of daytime drinks (I’ll take a brewed-on-site draft cold sake, please), avocado-heavy dishes, nonsaccharine kid-friendly music, cornhole, and a spacious, sunny arcade (A well-lit arcade? Unheard of!) that includes a mercifully short indoor mini golf course.
Live Motown and Vintage Toys
The waterfront complex is worth a visit any day, but Saturday is particularly suited for the littles. Just walk five minutes from the 36th Street N stop to Second Avenue and look for the courtyard between the buildings on 37th and 38th Streets. This urban oasis is where you’ll find the outdoor Brooklyn Flea (it moves indoors when the weather turns cool), where kids can browse through bins of vintage toys—Troll dolls, Hot Wheels cars, and Garbage Pail Kids cards—while you get that promised drink at the Bell House Outpost Bar just feet away.
Move further down the courtyard, past the racks of vintage dresses and minimalist jewelry, to the stage in the back. At 12:30 every Saturday in the summer, the Rock and Roll Playhouse hosts a family concert series (best for kids 10 and under) with great musicians, cover songs that adults like—and, of course, bubbles. Each Saturday has a theme, like the “sounds of Motown” or David Bowie, which makes for a great background soundtrack even if your kids are older and won’t be dancing in the pit with the toddlers. The courtyard is adjacent to Industry City’s Food Hall, which has something for even the pickiest of eaters: tacos, ramen, burgers, pizza, smoothies, ice cream, and all the avocados you can eat at the Avocaderia.
Foosball and Ping-Pong
Next, head to another courtyard about a block down, between buildings 5 and 6, where the Frying Pan Brooklyn lobster shack has set up a sweet game room with ping-pong tables, air hockey, Pop-a-Shot, Skee-Ball, shuffleboard, mini golf, and—best of all—zero plastic “prizes.” My kids met a friend here the other weekend and spent two full hours playing the old-school games (eight bucks buys you a wristband and free rein in the room for the entire day) without complaining. Score! Did I mention that this game room is light and airy, so you won’t feel like you’ve spent your afternoon in an underground baby casino?
New York City kids go crazy for Japanese food and at this very elevated food court in Building 4, they can have their pick: ramen, sushi, onigiri, tempura, and wagyu steak counters all beckon. Even if you’re not hungry when you go, you can stock up on goods for later; my family loves to wander the aisles of Sunrise Mart, a Japanese grocery store that carries all the hard-to-find, straight-from-Tokyo candies and snacks. We fill our cart with crazy varieties of instant noodles and kawaii mochi desserts. Japan Village, like much of Industry City, is a wonderland for foodies of all ages.