From a park bench in the quiet neighborhood of Fort Greene, Roblé Ali has no difficulty charting his local gastronomic map.

He points to the south, amid rising condos: “I can walk five blocks that way, and get a Shake Shack burger if I wanted to.” Behind us, another destination to the north: “I can walk a few blocks, not even a mile away, and go to Mettā.” (A highly acclaimed South American restaurant where everything is grilled, gaucho-style, on firewood). Heading east: “My boy has a pizza spot, Speedy Romeo.” (Another new-age joint that marvels pizza obsessives and newcomers alike.)

And then, a truck passes by. “Down East!” Roblé says, excitedly. “That’s who I buy my fish from.”

Welcome to Brooklyn.

With a population of nearly 2.7 million people (if detached from Gotham, it’d be the third-most populous city in America), BK often feels like its own world. Especially in this last decade.

The borough that Roblé moved to over 12 years ago looks almost nothing like the one that he lives in today, morphing into—as you may have heard—a cultural force to be reckoned with. If something new and exciting is happening in music, fashion, art, design (you name it, really), you’d likely be able to find its footprints in Kings County.