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Brooklyn Mavens

Source: Courtesy of the Brooklyn Mavens / (L-R) Merlyn, Lauren)

Have you ever met a person from Brooklyn who wasn’t proud AF? There’s an elitist attitude that follows people who come from the borough, and honestly, it’s well-deserved. Brooklyn, NY, is a cultural melting pot that has birthed some of America’s most talented people, and it is the ultimate vibe for creatives everywhere. Thanks to the Brooklyn Mavens, they’re making it easier for you to find businesses you should know, the best places to dine, and where to go to get an authentic Brooklyn experience through their Instagram page, Bklyn Mavens.

Meet Lauren and Merlyn, Brooklyn residents who represent the borough with the utmost pride. They’ve created a brand that offers a sense of joy and happiness, despite the trauma we’re experiencing in America today. The Mavens curate tours of the borough, partner with Black-owned businesses, and provide an intensive guide on the endless activities (both free and paid) available to everyone.

In an exclusive interview, we discuss the borough’s best-kept secrets, how gentrification affects the borough, and the beauty of Brooklyn’s culture.

When did you fall in love with Brooklyn?

Lauren: I’ve always had a love for my Borough, everywhere I went I repped it loud and proud. It wasn’t until starting the Brooklyn Mavens that I realized how big Brooklyn really was. Through our platform, I had the opportunity to explore Brooklyn through the eyes of an adult and I had a better sense of appreciation for the place that I grew up in.

Merlyn: Brooklyn has always been home and a place I loved without even knowing it. But the first memory that comes to mind is when I went away to college and realized there was no place like it. I missed the culture, the essence of living in East Flatbush. It was then that I realized that not only NY was one of a kind but Brooklyn had my heart.

What do you hope to show the world through your platform?

Brooklyn Mavens

Source: Courtesy of the Brooklyn Mavens / Brooklyn Mavens

Lauren: Just how dope Brooklyn is outside of what you normally see. We hope to provide people with the love that we have for Brooklyn.

Merlyn: Culture. Culture. Culture. It’s hard to encapsulate what Brooklyn is without living or visiting here. We hope to show that there’s more to our borough than Dumbo or Williamsburg, though we love a good water front. But there’s so much culture within our borough and it’s showcased authentically through the lens of people who live and love the city. 

What are some of Brooklyn’s best-kept secrets?

Lauren: We can’t tell you, it wouldn’t be a secret, haha! Brooklyn’s Chinatown in Bensonhurst is definitely a slept on neighborhood. Also, the fact that there is an entire shopping area with Sephora and other major stores in Dyker Heights. This is where the second NYC Century 21 was.

Merlyn: There’s so many but I can honestly say the neighborhoods that are slept in are our best kept secrets. For instance, Sheepshead Bay is a vibe throughout the summer. Let’s not forget about Bay Ridge and how you can enjoy the view of the Verrazano while in the area.

What’s your favorite BK neighborhood?

Lauren: My favorite BK neighborhood is Prospect Heights, this is the neighborhood I grew up in so I’m biased. However, there’s so much to do and accessible to many trains. You literally do not need to leave this area to have a good time.

Merlyn: Home of the Caribbean: Flatbush. There’s no other neighborhood like it in the borough. The restaurants, reggae/soca music, and markets make us who we are. Not to forget that the neighborhood is a vital connection to the Caribbean immigrants who moved here. We’ve built a community to share our culture within our neighborhood and for others to experience it as well. Where else are you going for the best jerk chicken in the city?

How has gentrification changed or challenged the vibe of Brooklyn?

Brooklyn Mavens

Source: Courtesy of the Brooklyn Mavens / Brooklyn Mavens

Lauren: Gentrification has changed the vibe of Brooklyn negatively and positively. Negatively because there is a sense of displacement amongst natives of the borough. The feeling of not being able to afford the place you grew up in is a terrible feeling and shouldn’t be the case. At times you have people who have only lived in Brooklyn for a short period of time, acting as though they know the true essence of Brooklyn. Positively in the regard that gentrification has provided endless activity. Prospect Heights wasn’t always an area with a plethora of restaurants and things to do. I remember back in the day, everyone went to Manhattan.

Merlyn: There’s so many things that have changed. Starting off with the rent prices and local shops that have been here for decades no longer being able to afford their rent. Then being replaced with “luxury apartments” that bring in folks who want to change the vibe of our neighborhoods to cater to others who aren’t from here. This makes people want to leave but it also makes us Brooklynites more aware of how more we have to get invested in our community to preserve uniqueness. Something we haven’t necessarily had to deal with before but we do what we have to do for the city we love. There’s also been some things that have made life easier. I don’t mind a few more Targets or cafes to work from home.

Give me 3 reasons Brooklyn is the best place to be.


1: Extremely culturally diverse.

2: You get the city vibe and neighborhood vibe from the borough. You also have the option to completely isolate yourself from one if you aren’t feeling it.

3: It’s so much more chill than being in Manhattan. I can still get the party scene but less intense, if that’s what you’re looking for.


1: It’s diverse when it comes to culture food. You can explore a variety of cultures throughout the neighborhood.

2: We have the best vibes when it comes to the music scene and parties. People just want to have a good time here without the heels and fancy dresses. You can be yourself and find your niche here.

3: Sense of community and the people. When we say we love our city, we do and you can see this throughout our neighborhoods. Especially how we support our small businesses.  

Describe Brooklyn in 3 words.

Lauren: Dope, Soulful, Historic

Merlyn: Edgy, resilient, and creative

What’s a stigma about Brooklyn that you want to dispel?

Brooklyn Mavens

Source: Courtesy of the Brooklyn Mavens / Brooklyn Mavens

Lauren:  Brooklyn is full of Hipster style people. There are people from many different backgrounds encompassing different communities. You’d be surprised by how culturally diverse Brookllyn is once you step out of Williamsburg and Bushwick.

Merlyn: Yes, Brooklyn can get more residential past the downtown area but the amount of things to see does not stop there. That does not only include Coney Island. Visit our instagram to see that there’s more to explore. We got you!!

Keep up with the Brooklyn Mavens on Instagram!


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