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Park Slope – Neighborhood Series

Park Slope – One of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Brooklyn is known for its dynamic culture and diversity. If you start from the east end of the neighborhood (top of the slope) and go downward, you will see a gradual change from old brownstones ornate with limestone carvings and gorgeous ironworks to relatively simpler and smaller dwellings. 

Geography

Park Slope shares most of its eastern boundary with Prospect Park and the remaining with Windsor Terrace. The southern, western, and northern outlines of the neighborhood are surrounded by Prospect Expressway, Fourth Avenue, and Flatbush Avenue, respectively. 

History

The neighborhood we now call Park Slope was settled by Dutch in the 1600s. It was mostly ponds of standing water, which invited bugs and fever. The area saw some activity during the 1700s, at the beginning of the battle of Long Island. But up until the mid-19thcentury, the area remained largely unpopulated. Then, Edwin C. Litchfield, a famous Brooklyn businessman, started developing the area and built a mansion.

The neighborhood was once home to Brooklyn’s Gold Coast (eastern edge of the neighborhood). It experienced major population changes in the 20th century. Later, the neighborhood went through a major wave of gentrification. 

Origin of The Name

The name “Park Slope” describes the geography of the area. Many streets of this neighborhood incline upward toward the neighboring Prospect Park, which includes Mount Prospect, the second-highest point in Brooklyn. Another perspective is that the area is at the “slope” of the park (downwards). The exact time when the name was officially recognized is uncertain, as there was still some confusion about the name as late as 1889. So it was likely in the late 19th or early 20th century. 

Main Attractions of The Neighborhood

Park Slope features several food establishments for a neighborhood its size. Some of the most well-known ones are:

  1. Miriam(79 5th Ave):It’s a popular brunch destination with a good Mediterranean variety. The cuisine and the lively environment make it a must-visit establishment. 
  2. Scottadito Osteria Toscana (788A Union St): A rustic establishment in such an urban neighborhood is novel enough. But its mimosas and brunch menu are just as compelling as its aesthetics.
  3. Sushi Katsuei (210 7th Ave, Brooklyn): It’s a top choice for premium sushi (Omakase: Chef’s choice)and has an attractive, homely feel. 
  4. The Commissioner (247 5th Ave): As a little bar with a big heart, the Commissioner is beloved for its friendly staff, good environments, better brew, and excellent food.
  5. Blueprint (196 5th Ave): Arguably the best cocktail bar in the neighborhood, the Blueprint is also liked for its ambiance and cheese and meat plates.

    As one of the largest historic districts in NYC, Park Slope has its fair share of memorable buildings. 

  6. Congregation Beth Elohim (274 Garfield Pl): It’s a reform Jewish congregation better known with the more memorable name of Garfield Temple. The sanctuary was completed in 1910, and the temple house in 1929.
  7. Litchfield Villa/Grace Hill (95 Prospect Park West): It’s an 1857 Italian Mansion that is older than the Prospect Park it’s now situated in. It’s currently the headquarters of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreations.
  8. 47 Plaza Street West: It’s a beautiful, Italian Renaissance-style building recognizable for its distinct shape (similar to the Flatiron building).
  9. Union Hall (702 Union St): It’s an artful blend of bar and library – A building that’s worth visiting for more than just its architecture.
  10. Old First Reformed Church (729 Carroll St): This 1893 church building represents a far older congregation (1654) and is recognizable from afar thanks to its 212 feet high stone tower. 

    Some of the most well-known attractions of Park Slope include:

  11. Prospect Park(Brooklyn): Despite being smaller, it’s often compared to the central park for its beauty. It offers a variety of landscapes and a number of amazing activities, like skating and boating. It’s best to enter through Grand Army Plaza.
  12. Prospect Park Zoo (450 Flatbush Ave): A 12-acre zoo inside Prospect Park that’s home to over a hundred different species. 
  13. Old Stone House Of Brooklyn (336 3rd St): It’s a small museum dedicated to the history of the neighborhood and Brooklyn in general.
  14. J.J. Byrne Playground (5th Ave): A children’s park spread out on three acres. It’s a visitor hot spot, both because of its history (the Old Stone House is situated in the park) and numerous activities for children. The farmer’s market is also a compelling attraction.
  15. Barbès (376 9th St):With great ambiance, amazing cocktails, and live music, Barbes is so much more than a bar. 

What Is Park Slope Known For?

  • Its diverse population and an easy, quaint, but affluent aura (especially the area near the park).
  • Its beauty permeates out of Prospect Park and into the neighborhood as well (tree-lined streets, gorgeous patios, etc.).
  • Historic architecture, especially aesthetically pleasing brownstones, reminiscence of the Gold Coast. 
  • Good food establishments and casual nightlife. 

Population 

Park Slope houses about half the population of its District (Brooklyn 6). And as the district has a population of about 109,351 according to the city, Park Slope’s population would be around 54,000. 

Interesting Facts About Park Slope

  • It was home to one of the worst aviation disasters in US history. In 1960, two airplanes collided, and the wreckage fell in Park Slope, causing 134 casualties, including six people on the ground. 
  • It was once home to the world’s largest clock factory of its time (Ansonia Clock Company). 
  • One of the oldest street signs in Brooklyn is in Park Slope.