Sunset Park isn’t on most travelers’ New York itineraries, but within Industry City, visitors can explore some of Brooklyn’s best indie brands — all under one roof.

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There are few things New Yorkers love more than giving recommendations, especially where to go in their favorite neighborhoods. Certain experiences are non-negotiables for first timers (grabbing a pie from John's or Lombardi's, catching a Broadway show, peeping the Temple of Dendur and other ancient artifacts at the Met), but if someone has been to the city before, I always push them to go beyond Manhattan and explore the boroughs. 

Brooklyn's Industry City courtyard
Credit: Courtesy of Industry City

Brooklyn's cool factor is so well-known at this point it's become a punchline. If you get past the surface-level stereotypes, though, there is a ton of genuine creativity and ingenuity to appreciate. One of the borough's most under-appreciated neighborhoods is Sunset Park, a vibrant, 24.5-acre enclave with especially strong Latino and Chinese communities. It's worth dedicating a whole day to exploring the area: In the morning, soak up the East River views from its eponymous park and Green-Wood Cemetery — where notables like composer Leonard Bernstein and artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Then, dedicate the afternoon to a DIY food crawl, hitting spots like East Harbor Seafood Palace and Park Asia for dim sum and Taqueria El Mezcal and Tacos El Bronquito for tacos.

But if you're pressed for time and want to get a broad sense of what Sunset Park has to offer, head to Industry City. Though the refurbished 19th-century complex has inspired protracted debate — some residents rightfully worry further development will disrupt and displace the neighborhood's long-standing mom-and-pops — there's a lot to appreciate about its entrepreneurial spirit and the independent businesses that call it home. Here are a few standouts worth bookmarking for your next trip to New York.

Sahadi's

This deli-grocery hybrid is a must-visit whether you're feeling peckish and want a Mediterranean feast or you're an avid home cook looking for spices, staples and ingredients.

Brooklyn Kura

You'll inevitably walk out of this boutique sake brewery — New York's first — with at least a few bottles. The team produces six different varieties, including the easy-drinking Blue Door, a classic junmai with lingering notes of melon.

Li-Lac Chocolates

Pick up a selection of small-batch and handmade candy from this iconic NYC chocolatier, which has been operating since 1923. There's a small factory attached to this location, so you know the display case treats are as fresh as can be. 

Nazz Forge

One of the most unique operations within the complex, this blacksmith shop (under normal circumstances) holds workshops that teach curious students how to work with metal and tools to craft both decorative and functional knives and swords. (It also sells a variety of models for those who prefer not to DIY.)