Friday, October 28, 2011

Brooklyn 'Hoods Continued: Prospect Park & Park Slope

The Park
Prospect Park is Brooklyn's Central Park.  At 585 acres, with a lake, hiking trails, a forest, zoo, Audubon center, and band pavilion, she certainly measures up against her 843-acre rectangular older sister just across the river.  Prospect Park's interior has miles of hiking trails; the car lanes also have dedicated walking and cycling lanes for about 3.3 miles around the inside the park. If you run or cycle counter-clockwise starting at the southern point, prepare yourself for a good uphill stretch.  When they designed the park nearly 150 years ago, the forest and ravine needed some elevation to work with; the path does not disappoint.  For another natural bonus, cycling in from the southeast entrance you can dodge road apples in the bike path left by horses trotting toward the park. Yes, horses have trails in the park, too.

American history lovers should enjoy learning that the location of Prospect Park was the site of the first major contest of the Revolutionary War.  "In late August 1776, the Continental Army under George Washington fortified passes along a section of Flatbush Avenue that now serves as the Park’s Drive." []  Although this particular battle lacked flair for the history books, in the end, it seemed to work out.  America could freely flourish without interference from across the pond. Part of her flourish resulted in the creation of cool neighborhoods around Prospect Park...

The Slope
Each Brooklyn neighborhood has a distinct personality.  Park Slope, just to the west of Prospect Park, has a charm reflected in the residents, the stores, and the restaurants.  Over the years, it has garnered top ranking for its architectural features, quality public schools, dining, nightlife, shopping, access to public transit, green space, quality housing, and safety.  It was also the home of Washington Park where the Brooklyn Dodgers [then the Brooklyn Atlantics] played.  Park Slope's popularity for the family set rivals that of Manhattan's Upper West Side and the two neighborhoods would be neck-and-neck for the number of dogs and strollers per resident on a given Saturday or Sunday morning! The variety of cafes and eateries in addition to the park, are a definite draw even for those without a stroller or leash!