I live in Tribeca, now famous and trendy. I moved here 26 years ago when it was gritty and isolated. I could walk out at 10PM and be the only person on the street.
Life does change and my neighborhood most definitely has. If you wander out at 2AM the streets here are still peopled with folks moving bar to bar. In the daytime, every block has at least three strollers. Tribeca is popular and populated. It’s now much more an integrated part of Manhattan, an island of towers and wealth.
Increasingly, to find reality — or what I perceive to be real and homey — I turn to Brooklyn. Sprawling, densely populated and home to hundreds of ethnic groups. Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn has a Mexican neighborhood that stretches for miles and offers little stores with big surprises.
If you think Taco Bell is what Mexican food is about, then Tacos Matamoros, 4805 5th Avenue, is going to make you stop, wonder, think, and hopefully taste. When the menu offers you a tripe taco, you may be in Brooklyn but you are really close to Mexico. That picture? It’s the chorizo taco. Red sausage, offering spice but not too spicy, and topped with ultimately smooth guacamole. All wrapped up in a double thick soft shell. I cannot recommend this lovely spot more. Yes, I did chicken out on the tripe taco, but, really, it was brave to go with chorizo.
If you want reality with agua fresca instead of designer margaritas, then enjoy this little taco pitstop. And do wander the blocks of 5th Avenue in Brooklyn for a glimpse of Mexican culture you cannot find in Manhattan. The Dodgers may have long fled Brooklyn, but there are many reasons for you to return for a day, a night, or perhaps a chunk of your lifetime.