The Brooklyn Half Pre-Party is not your usual expo. It's not a grab your bib and scope out the vendors on your lunch break type. . . it's a full on event. You should seriously consider it your evening plans.
While the location was beautiful, it was seriously out of the way- and I live in Brooklyn! Sadly, the weather was super gross all that week, so the beautiful view of Manhattan that would've been worth the trek was completely greyed out and it was annoyingly drizzling.
It was about a mile from the closest subway station. Luckily, there were signs and volunteers guiding the way. I'm not familiar with the area, so it was a little frustrating. There was also a ton of construction, so in order to get to the waterfront, you had to cross a bridge- that swayed. Talk about freaking out. The last time I experienced that I was on the Verrazano for the marathon.
The bridge of death and the construction.
It was also brought up that this is the only NYRR race that packet-pickup isn't in Manhattan. Could you imagine having to go to each of the respective boroughs for their races?
Once you finally arrived at the Pre-Party, it was really cute almost making you forget about the hike back to the subway- if you could remember how to get there. The official expo portion was under a tent and a tad crowded. Once you got your bib and shirt, you spilled into the New Balance merchandise area and the few vendors that were there were around it. I had my heart set on a couple of the race shirts that Brooklyn Circus designed, but I was disappointed that the designs either came in women's cut or unisex. The women's cut was shaped weird but that didn't stop me from buying way too many cotton blend shirts that said Brooklyn. I also picked up a half zip- what? How many times do you run your first Brooklyn Half?
You could also donation a pair of shoes and receive a $25 off coupon to the New Balance store on 5th Ave. I was really hoping I could pick up a pair of the New York City Marathon edition 890s, but alas they had already sent them to their outlets. You could buy the shoes at the expo, but you couldn't use the coupon. Whomp whomp. I should've bought them.
Sparkly Soul had a custom headband for the race, so you know I had to have it. I'm loving that they're branching out this way, since they are the only headbands that don't give me headaches (but that doesn't stop me from buying others!) Nuun also had a special edition water bottle, like the one I got in DC, but I didn't realize that until it was too late, lucky for my kitchen cabinet.
Brooklyn artists were there tagging your race shirts for free! By the time I decided I need that in my life, they had cut off the line. I thought it was a nice touch.
They also had a stage with lots of different musical acts, as well as plenty of AstroTurf area to enjoy the music.
I was really interested in the food trucks for dinner. I am always on the look out for good Mediterranean cuisine, so I chose Toum. There was also a macaroni and cheese truck as well as a pizza one, I think. Luckily, I snagged a table under an umbrella and enjoyed my dinner.
I wasn't really fond of the only bathrooms being portapotties. It's one thing to go into one during a race, but in my work clothes with tons of bags? Ew.
See what I mean? It was an event. I easily spent a couple of hours there and I could've stayed longer, but I knew the trek home was going to be brutal.
I'm a fan of how much effort they put into making this entire event an authentic Brooklyn experience. I'm looking forward to how they handle the other borough races this year as well. I think it would be awesome for the other boroughs to get this much love, even if it does mean trekking there during the week :)