If you want to enjoy a slice of scenic Brooklyn in total peace and quiet, make for Green-Wood Cemetery. This historic burial ground set on the borough’s highest point covers 478 hilly acres with more than 7000 trees (many of which are over 150 years old); its myriad tombs, mausoleums, lakes and patches of forest are connected by a looping network of roads and footpaths, making this a perfect spot for some aimless rambling.
Founded in 1838 as a rural cemetery with Manhattan views, Green-Wood has over 560,000 'permanent residents,' including notable and historic personalities such as inventors Samuel Morse and Elias Howe, abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher, designer Louis Comfort Tiffany, artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and Susan Smith McKinney-Steward, the first African-American woman in New York state to gain a medical degree.
Don't miss Battle Hill, the cemetery's highest point, where Washington's Continental Army lost to British and Hessian troops during the 1776 Battle of Long Island (aka the Battle of Brooklyn). The event is commemorated by the 7ft statue of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom, whose upright arm waves to the Statue of Liberty, facing back from a few miles across the harbor. The hill is located in the northeast sector of the cemetery, off Battle Ave. Musical legend Leonard Bernstein and Brooklyn Dodgers owner Charles Ebbets are both buried in the vicinity.
Admission is free, as are the maps available at the entrance. On Wednesdays at 1pm you can take a two-hour trolley-bus tour ($20 per person; advance online booking recommended). Note the squawking green-monk parakeets nesting within the nooks of the glorious Gothic entry gate – some allegedly broke free from an airport crate in the 1960s and started a colony that's lived here ever since.
Tip: pack mosquito repellent in the summer.