NFT New York Park Slope / Prospect Heights / Windsor Terrace

Park Slope / Prospect Heights / Windsor Terrace

Park Slope is an easy target. Power moms use their strollers as battering rams, stylish dads use the hippest bars and bistros as daycare centers, and the children, the children, they are born into this vicious cycle. But you know what? The Slope isn't just a haven for wealthy breeders and toiling serfs at the Park Slope Food Co-op. It's also got some amazing restaurants and shops, incredible brownstones, and the only park in the city that truly rivals Central Park.

The park they're referring to at the top of the slope is Prospect Park, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux's Brooklyn masterpiece. The ultimate design was executed piecemeal in the 1860s and 1870s, delayed in part by the Civil War. People, not all of whom from Brooklyn, claim that Prospect Park was the quintessence of Olmsted and Vaux park design, eclipsing a certain little vestpocket nicety that stretches for 50-some-odd blocks in the middle of Manhattan island. Whatever the one-upmanship, the man-made landscape is a pretty nice amenity to have in your backyard. Its charms include its historic bridges and walks, the largest swath of forest in the borough, remarkable summer concerts, a zoo, and last but certainly not least, the rare opportunity to grill in a city park. The Beaux-Arts arch and neoclassical columns around See more.

>Grand Army Plaza were added toward the end of the 19th century. Across from Grand Army Plaza is the fantastic main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.

Park Slope is nineteenth-century brownstone architecture at its best. The rows of houses all have distinct touches on their stoops and facades; idyllic and photo ready. It seems every other block has a soaring limestone church, lending skyline of regal steeples. But that brings us to the modern side: The number of cool shops, restaurants, and bars on 5th Avenue, 7th Avenue, and Flatbush Avenue is simply astounding. (If you look at these three streets on a map, it forms Pi, which clearly means something). There is so much retail on these streets that you'd think there wouldn't be room for any more, but the action has spread to 4th Avenue and now even 3rd Avenue, near the appalling Gowanus Canal, now an EPA Superfund site thanks to decades of factory sediment, coal-tar, heavy metals, paint, sewage, and waste-fed algae.

And the wave of development is expanding ever outward. The world-class Barclays Center arena is just the first phase of the fledgling and controversial redevelopment set to take place above the train tracks of the Atlantic Yards. Sports arenas aside, Vanderbilt and Washington Avenues in Prospect Heights have been bustling commercial strips for years now. And with its many lovely and relatively rare three-story brownstones, we expect at least four kids in every Prospect Heights brownstone by the end of the next decade. Meanwhile, on the southeastern end of the Slope is Windsor Terrace, a longtime Irish enclave scrunched between Prospect Park and the Prospect Expressway that has attracted a new wave of young renters who can't afford the Slope but still enjoy prime park access and a mini-retail strip along Prospect Park West. Now if they could only reroute those infernal aviation machines flying into La Guardia to, uh, somewhere else, we could actually enjoy a backyard barbecue once in a while.

Gourmet cocktails and beers have been sprouting up everywhere at spots like Union Hall, or support your local dive at Freddy's. Since the untimely demise of Southpaw, The Bell House is the place for rock shows and other events (Moth StorySlams!), but Barbes has a fabulous mix of world music jammed into its tiny back room space.

Where to begin? There's the Italian at Al Di La, slow-food at Applewood, Portuguese/Italian at Convivium Osteria, and killer pizza at Franny's. Branch out with Colombian at Bogota, Ethiopian at Ghenet, and Australian at Sheep Station. Then there are the classic diners Tom's and The Usual, the creative seasonal at Rose Water, and of course Blue Ribbon.

The Pines is four-star dining out on the Gowanus side of the neighborhood. Flatbush Farm hits the requisite local-seasonal notes. Go to Bar Chuko for buzzy izakaya-style Japanese. Also, don't miss the warm and eclectic Stone Park Cafe and the burgers at Bonnie's Grill.

For food (and beer), try Bierkraft, Bklyn Larder, Blue Apron, Blue Marble, Russo's, and United Meat. Check out gift/jewelry stores like The Clay Pot and Razor. Beacon's Closet is still a clothing destination, Dixon's is a classic bike shop, and get your capes and lasers at Brooklyn Superhero Supply. If you dare enter the machine, value awaits at the fishbowl that is the Park Slope Food Co-op.


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On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Leigh Raynor
Photo:  Leigh Raynor

Tea Lounge
Miss that place in college where you went to eat pizza bagels that mysteriously took a half hour to make by some beanie-sporting co-ed behind a graffiti-ed counter? The milkshakes took twice as long, but your late-night hunger was usually induced by an extreme case of procrastination, so you didn't mind. At the Tea Lounge, this freshman-fifteen abetting fare has been replaced by grown-up goodies, including fantastic banana bread and delicious tea lattes made from a variety of loose-leaf. Despite the upgrade in food, the Tea Lounge is sure to remind you of your favorite college coffee shop haunt. The mismatched sofas, exposed brick, and chalk-board menu set the mood for this lounge littered by aspiring bloggers, or at least those who dress the part. Plus, there's still that corner table reserved for those who prefer to play board games with impossible rules that involve words like "tithe," "master," and "power level."

Posted By:  Holly Alderman
Photo:  Holly Alderman

Bitter & Esters
Why drink other people's beer when you can make your own? If that question sparks your curiosity, stop by Bitter and Esters on your next trip to Brooklyn's Prospect Heights. This one-stop homebrew shop will meet all of your beer creation needs. Located on bustling Washington Avenue, Bitter and Esters is a small, narrow shop chock full of brewing equipment and supplies. While taking in the aromas of malt and hops, find the daily yeast and hops selections displayed on a magnetic chalkboard behind the register. If you plan to return (which you will!), view upcoming classes and events on a chalkboard by the main entrance. The friendly and knowledgeable staff will help you through choosing equipment from brewpots to beakers and supplies and ingredients from grains to hops. Prepared for the expert and novice alike, Bitter and Esters can be a place to grab a few items for your longstanding, tried and true recipe, or a place to grab a seat at the back tables for a homebrewing 101 class. For the visual learner, the shop also features its own state-of-the-art brewing system easily visible along the side wall. If you like beer and you like creating, stop by Bitter and Esters to brew up something delicious!

Posted By:  Alisha Miranda
Photo:  Alisha Miranda

Bogota Latin Bistro
Having visited Bogota myself a few months ago, I was hesitant to try any restaurant that attempted to recreate the city's influential regional cuisine. But when fellow travelers insisted I stop in Bogota Bistro near my home in Brooklyn, I said "what the heck" and gave it a whirl. Boy am I glad I did. Farid and George, co-owners of Bogota Bistro, have turned their little corner in Park slope into a destination for food, drinks, and nightlife much like their beloved Colombian capitol. Dishes run the gamut with new specials offered every month and customer favorites returning on a regular basis. There's tradition then there's the Latin Bistro's tradition. If you want more info, stop reading, and reserve your next dinner date here.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

A.O.C. Bistro
Park Slope, restaurant-wise (and almost everything other-wise), is now an embarrassment of riches. Not one, not two, but three wonderful French options on, like, a six-block stretch of Fifth Avenue: Belleville, Moutarde, and now the Brooklyn outpost of AOC Bistro (whose other location, on Bleecker and Grove, is one of my favorite Village spaces). Frankly, I'd just move in if I could. Mellow service, as perfect a presentation of beef tartare as I've ever seen (pictured), and, as the piece de resistance, a wonderful Croustillant de la Mer for $19, stuffed with shrimp, scallops, and mussels in a pastry shell. It's the stuff of dreams...and I will be dreaming this again soon.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Bklyn Larder
We thank Franny's, NYC's premier pizzeria, for opening up an additional establishment where we can blow even more of our hard-earned paychecks (that is, when we get paychecks at all). You can now, for instance, get Franny's chocolate sorbetto by the pint, which you should do, since Franny's chocolate sorbetto is one of the most intense things you'll ever put in your mouth. You can also get a fine selection of cheeses, charcuteries, pork jowl bacon, breads, etc. etc. Every neighborhood worth its salt has or should have a gourmet market, and even though it's not on Vanderbilt in the heart of Propsect Heights, it's close enough that we think Prospect Height-ers should adopt it as their own. If they haven't already.

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Courtesy of

Prospect Heights House Tour
The Prospect Heights biennial house tour will be held this Sunday, October 18th from noon to 5 pm. The self-guided tour will include 11 wonderful homes and apartments. As one of Brooklyn’s premier brownstone neighborhoods, Prospect Heights' historical and aesthetic significance was recognized by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission on June 23rd when it created the expansive Prospect Heights Historic District. From restored Victorian brownstones and limestones, to stylish new row houses and apartments, to the impressively modern and controversial "On Prospect Park" by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Meier, Prospect Heights is indeed an architectural smorgasbord. Tickets may be purchased at Forest Floor Antiques for $20 prior to the day of the tour and for $25 on the day of the tour. Tickets, as well as additional information, may also be obtained be calling 718-393-7653. Visit for more information. Prospect Heights is easily accessible by either the 2/3 Train to Grand Army Plaza or the Q/B Train to Seventh Avenue.

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Courtesy Atlantic Antic

Atlantic Antic
Everyone knows street festivals in New York are pretty lame--it's always the same crappy food and boring tchotchkes. They almost never reflect the real character of the neighborhood. But there are a few exceptions. And at the top of the list has to be the Atlantic Antic, New York City's largest street festival. The 35th Atlantic Antic is scheduled for Sunday, October 4th, from 10 am to 6 pm. Spread along 10 blocks of Atlantic Avenue, from Hicks Street to Fourth Avenue, the Atlantic Antic has become a beloved Brooklyn tradition. Antic goers can indulge in a wide variety of international delicacies found on the avenue including Middle Eastern baklava and hummus, Spanish paella, Caribbean oxtail, and Parisian crepes. You'll also  find everything from handmade jewelry and eco-friendly clothing to photography and exotic plants. But mainly it's just a big old fashioned block party with thousands of people hanging out and having a good time. With tons of live music, entertainment,and multiple beer gardens, there's no better way to spend an early Autumn Sunday.

Posted By:  Molly Riordan
Photo:  Molly Riordan

Hot, sunny summertime Saturdays are a glorious gift, unless you're hungover with a San Andrean headache and ferocious appetite. People of that state will instead prefer Beast. A dark cave for den-like drinking and dining by night, Beast welcomes the weekend's vampires and zombies by keeping the coffee coming and the lights off. Though it's been called a Spanish tapas bar, Beast feels more like a medieval kitchen with walls bedecked in Brooklyn-required kitch. Beast's brunch has vaguely Iberian tendencies --frittatas, chorizo hash--but the focus is on reparation and recovery: eggs, potatoes, caffeine, hair-of-the-dog. There are a few non-breakfast options and a handful of sides, something everyone could live with whilst pondering the birdhouse with a cat's-mouth opening mounted on the back wall. Brunch at Beast is not earth-shattering, but at least it will keep your head from shattering.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

The Bell House
With The Bell House now hosting live music several nights a week, you could do a lot worse than spend a good portion of your time hanging out in what is likely to be officially rebranded "Gowanus" at some point: namely, the area east of Carroll Gardens and west of Park Slope, between Hoyt Street and 5th Avenue. Besides its huge performance space, The Bell House bosts a killer front bar, complete with plenty of seating (including a few perfect make-out couches). Then there is also Issue Project Room not too far away, Australian and Ethiopian cuisine on 4th Avenue, more bars on both 4th and 3rd Avenues, excellent subway access, and, of course, free birth defects for your children if you're planning to procreate. Ah well, who said life is perfect, anyway?

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Ghenet Brooklyn
Now that Ghenet's Manhattan location is now closed, I'm pleased to announce that they've clearly brought the "A" team over from Mulberry Street. Consequently, Ghenet Brooklyn is now NYC's top Ethiopian destination, hands-down. Start with the great "Kategna" appetizer, which is crispy toasted Ethiopian bread (injera) soaked in berbere spice and cheese. Definitely order the Sega Wett main course to see what Ghenet does with beef; the Misir Wett (lentils) are also a taste sensation. For the more adventurous, the Kitfo (chopped raw beef) is excellent when sprinkled with (of course) more berbere and cheese. Wash down with one of three Ethiopian beers on the menu, then stumble out the door on your way to catch a live gig at Issue Project Room or the Bell House. Ghenet Brooklyn: long may you reign.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Aliseo Osteria del Borgo
Seating no more than 25 or so, Aliseo takes the concept "intimate" to a new level; especially when the owner comes over to chat about the various salumis he's got on the menu tonight, or whatever else you'd like to ask him about. Of course, you're mostly too busy stuffing yourself on perfectly cooked octopus, fresh seasonal pastas, excellent branzino, a lovely farro and arugula salad, wine, bread, etc. etc. to spend too much time chatting with him. And the decor reminds me of my grandmother's basement in West New York circa 1970. Weird. In the best possible sense of the word, of course.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Simply one of the best combination bar/live music joints in all NYC, Barbes serves up a tantalizing menu of world music in its insanely small back room (maybe it fits 35?). In the front room, 70% of the space is taken up by the bar itself, so maybe another 35 people can fit there, max? Anyway, the point is it's small, intimate, and groovy. Very groovy, especially on Wednesday nights at 10 for the Mandingo Ambassadors, a great African group that expands to as many as 10 musicians. Last Wednesday there were 10 musicians and about 22 patrons--now that's a great musician-to-audience-member ratio.

Posted By:  Jane Pirone
Photo:  Jane Pirone

Prospect Park Bandshell
Celebrate Brooklyn kicked off its '09 season last night with a funky performance from David Byrne. Sadly there was no surprise visit from Brian Eno, but the thunder clouds did stay at bay through FOUR encores! Even with the cold damp Monday evening air, there was a HUGE crowd  (if you can imagine Prospect Park feeling like a sardine can, then you can get a sense of the turnout.) Could it have leaked that the dancers and entire band would perform the classic "Burning Down The House" in white tutus? Celebrate Brooklyn's line up, as usual, is amazing. All shows are free of charge, but come very early if you have any hope of seeing something other than the back of people's heads...or you could become a "friend" and bypass the grueling lines. The ever-amazing Transportation Alternatives has set up a valet parking system for bicycles this year and limewire has set up a free compilation of the '09 season for download. Celebration indeed.

Posted By:  Molly Riordan
Photo:  Molly Riordan

Pita Hut
I was halfway through my hummus sandwich before I thought to take a picture of the garbanzo-explosion I'd been voraciously consuming. Blinding hunger attenuates all higher-order priorities except, at least in my case, extreme frugality. Enter Pita Hut of Park Slope. An oasis of affordable fare on a stretch less congested with strollers but priced in expectance of their arrival, Pita Hut is not a neighborhood destination nor does it compete with more established or authentic Mediterranean eateries. But when the thought of paying $6 for a cup of organic free-range goat yogurt or a $15 mini-quiche makes even an empty stomach heave, a $4 sandwich positively exploding with hummus and tomato (couldn't taste the tahini they claimed to add) will satisfy the emptiest stomachs and wallets.

Posted By:  Harris Solomon
Photo:  Harris Solomon

Tea Lounge
How do you become an instant Park Slope success? Take a former Laundromat, add mismatched couches and tables, play a wild mix of indie hits and serve good coffee. The Tea Lounge brings together the variety of Park Slopers that populate the surrounding area--scruffy freelancers, new mothers with toddlers in tow, and the usual coffee-bar crowd of laptop users. As for the namesake, it's available by the mug, individual pot, or satchel for home brewing. And while at times it can feel like a hybrid office/playdate space, the Tea Lounge is a great place to grab a beer or glass of wine in the early evenings, thanks to a full bar area. With that said, don't expect a hot pickup scene: most people here are probably too enamored with their Macbooks to take note of you.

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Trystan Bates

NFT recently trekked out to Gowanus to take a sneak peek at a promising new performance and art space. Housed in an old, 6,200-square foot warehouse, littlefield merges the Gowanus' industrial past with an organic, eco-friendly future. They've installed a state-of-the-art sound system especially designed for live music, film screenings, and art installations. To further maximize sound and promote intimacy, a moveable wall was built so when the partition is fully closed, the performance space can accommodate up to 200 people while the bar/courtyard can hold up to 50. For larger performances, the partition can be moved aside and the entire space can accommodate up to 250 people. Trust us. This place is gorgeous and will probably quickly become another good reason to explore Gowanus at night. Future NFT party location perhaps? Stay tuned.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

This is, by far, one of the most essential pieces of information you will need if you are about to become a Brooklyn father. Need diapers or Children's Tylenol at 2 am? No problem. Neergaard is here. And it's been here for a while, and still seems to be going strong even though TWO different unnamed asshole pharmacy chains put up outposts within 100 yards of Neergaard. But neither is 24-hour. So they can both go fuck themselves.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

The Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph
I've always wondered about this large church on Pacific Street, right off of Vanderbilt. So I looked it up in both of my NYC "building" bibles, the AIA Guide and 1000 New York Buildings. Nope. Not in either. So I just walked in on Saturday afternoon--church wide open, church completely empty. Cornerstone states it is from 1912. Great tile work, huge barrel vault, large organ above door. A little dilapidated, but some scaffolding is up, so clearly they are doing some restoration work. Check it out.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Joyce Bakeshop
Joyce Bakeshop: $2 for a large coffee or tea. Nice staff. Fabulous small ham & cheese croissants. Wi-Fi. Open 7 days. Conveniently located on the main retail strip of Prospect Heights, Vanderbilt Avenue. Always good but not-too-interruptive music playing (at least in the mornings, when I'm there). Nice photos on the walls, especially a few of the black-and-white ones. Stuff like pies and cakes and tarts (pictured) and quiches baked specially for catered events. Simply put, everything a neighborhood coffee shop/bakery should be it won the coffee shop war with the now-departed Muddy Waters across the street. Now it will hopefully win the war with the recesssion as well.

Posted By:  Rebecca Katherine Hirsch
Photo:  Rebecca Katherine Hirsch

Editor's Note: Cattyshack is now closed. Sorry ladies.

If there's one thing I know, it's ladies. Ladies on poles, ladies taking the floor, ladies lining up to pay $10 cover charges. I have known them all already, known them all. Out of the dusty 4th Avenue wilderness, a gaggle of girls of variegated physical factions comes: They are lithe and limber, vengeful and light. Cattyshack knows no stylistic boundaries, for Cattyshack is artfully sleazy and encourages ill behavior amongst all its females. When last I regarded the depravity, my good pal SV Secunda indulged herself in every way a pal may indulge. As she luxuriated, I reconnoitered. I looked upon the proceedings, but refused to pay $7-$10 for a drink. I inspected the hip-hop dance floor downstairs, the '80s dance floor upstairs, the smoking terrace, the giant pool table and go-go poles, and then left, violently, through the rain-sopped streets of Slope leaving a trail of tears, soot, and sequins in my wake. I had seen enough to last me a lifetime. I roved my way o'er to the 4th Avenue F.

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