NFT New York Prospect-Lefferts Gardens / Crown Heights

Prospect-Lefferts Gardens / Crown Heights

Crown Heights and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens are officially hot neighborhoods, though apartments in these limestones are still much more affordable to the average family than the ones in the brownstones on the other side of the park. And make no mistake, these are family neighborhoods, so recent changes mean more cute cafes and upmarket shops rather than an influx of cool bars. There are no cool bars.

Today's tote bags-and-Bugaboos crowd represents a return to form: the area was first developed as a bourgeois bedroom community around the turn of the twentieth century. There's plenty of great residential architecture to check out, especially around Lefferts Manor. Eastern Parkway is a tree-lined multi-lane esplanade that people both commute on and relax around. Think of it as the Champs-Élysées of Brooklyn...minus the monuments and designer boutiques.

The Crown Heights Riot, three days of violence in 1991 that began after a Hasidic driver lost control of his car and killed a Guyanese child and severely injured another and led to several more injuries and two more deaths, is now a distant memory. Today there isn't much tension between the Hasidim and the Afro-Caribbean immigrants who are still the two most visible ethnic groups here, but that said, there's not too much mixing either. Outsiders are welcome to join the party at the West Indian Day Parade each September and won't feel out of place at Caribbean-owned businesses. Expect to feel more like a fish out of water visiting Judaica shops, kosher markets, or checking out Lubavitch Hasidic headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway.See more.

The one place where everybody comes together, along with loads of other New Yorkers and even a few intrepid tourists, is Prospect Park. While the Park Slope side has the bandshell and some fine playgrounds, here you've got the Prospect Park Zoo, the Carousel, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Brooklyn Children's Museum. But the crown jewel of Crown Heights is without a doubt the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, a sublime destination filled with zen calm that makes you forget the city you left behind only minutes before. Its annual Japanese cherry blossom festival, Sakura Matsuri, is a must-see in the spring.

Neighborhood haunts abound here, usually with a West Indian flavor. Franklin Park has a hipster/beer garden vibe, and then there's Berg'n, the beer hall-food vendor heaven for fans of Flea and Smorgasburg.

Caribbean food is the name of the game. Get some roti or jerk chicken at hotspots like Culpepper's and Gloria's. On Lincoln Road, the choice is obvious: Lincoln Park Tavern. Sit-down places like Chavela's are a treat (though that said, the takeout is amazing). For date night, it's Brooklyn Exposure.

There isn't exactly a shopping mecca here, though you can find fresh fruit and West Indian sundries everywhere. Off the beaten path are Jewish stores like Judaica World. Get a whiff of the nearby Botanic Garden at Barbara's. For baked goods, hit Allan's or Lily & Fig. Wake up at Breukelen Coffee House.


This Neighborhood Featured in...
Four Zoos and an Aquarium

By Diana Pizzari
Animals! They're not just for slaughtering anymore. Diana Pizzari's got a thing or four to share about her favorite city zoos and aquarium. Open your ears and clear your minds of meat lust as she details some little-known factoids about bison, breeding and the Bronx.


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Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  S. Josephson

Brooklyn Botanic Garden
This Thursday, August 13, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's inaugural meeting of the Linnaean Libation League convenes--which is a fancy way of saying BBG and Brooklyn Based are inviting all to a fabulous summer garden party. In honor of Carl Linnaeus, father of modern botanical taxonomy, the League celebrates all the things Linnaeus was known for--beauty, botany, culture, brilliance--over twilight drinks in the Osborne Garden. A special cucumber-mint cocktail courtesy of the French aperitif Lillet will be free the entire night and there will be $3 drafts of Sixpoint Craft Ale, the evening’s other sponsor.Tickets for the night of cocktails and live music are $15, available at, to everyone 21 and up. (The opportunity to dress up in your favorite summer whites and seersuckers? Priceless.) Guests are encouraged to find special Linnaean Libation League calling cards scattered around Brooklyn at places like Champion Coffee, Ortine, home/made (formerly Tini Wine Bar) in Red Hook, Franklin Park, Roebling Tea Room, Foragers Market, and Dumbo General Store. Those who bring theirs, signed, will be entered into a drawing for a year’s free admission to Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

So far, Abigail is one-for-one; the jazz brunch was pretty great. Good food, loud jazz, completely relaxed atmosphere. And I love the people on Yelp complaining about the service; it warms my heart, it really does, to know that there are this many douchebags in NYC that I don't ever have to speak to. It's on fucking CLASSON Avenue, people--be happy there IS a fucking restaurant on this spot. Oh, you waited five extra minutes for your eggs benedict at brunch? Sorry! Walk north 15 minutes and go sit at a counter at one of Clinton Hill's crappy breakfast places; you'll be served inedible breakfast in five minutes for five bucks. Then leave the rest of us alone who don't mind waiting for good food while listening to live music that isn't some sort of inappropriate dub/DJ crap at 1:15 on a Saturday afternoon. Good riddance.

Posted By:  Annie Karni
Photo:  courtesy of

When getting out to Fire Island or the Hamptons (or wherever it is that New Yorkers seem to run off to during summer weekends) does not present itself as a viable option for one reason or another, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a natural alternative. The Garden is teeming not only with flowers, trees, and footpaths, but with events— jazz concerts, roaming pirates, A Night in Havana (check their website for a full schedule if you’re into that kind of thing). But these events, which often infantilize adult behavior in the most embarrassing way, sometimes draw the very crowd one is trying so hard to lose. Our advice: ride the 2 train out to Brooklyn with a book and the crossword puzzle, find a shady spot among the lilacs and the roses, and spend the day sunbathing in a perfumed reverie.

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