Introducing: Park Slope, Brooklyn
Brooklyn is composed of countless worlds, each having unique qualities, people, and cultures. It is known both for its diversity and trendiness, and achieving miraculous harmony among communities that sit uncomfortably close and in stark contrast to one another.
As New York City’s most populous borough – at around two and a half million people – Brooklyn is densely packed, and it is easy to get lost in it all. But one of the best parts about it is that it is cheaper than Manhattan, but offers the same, if not better, perks and pastimes.
But with such a huge, jam-packed borough, where do we begin? To avoid being swallowed up by Brooklyn, simply swallow Brooklyn a piece at a time. Let us start with the heart of Brooklyn; namely, Prospect Park. That is a perfect place to begin – among the trees, the urban pastures, the rejuvenating pulse of citified nature. Real nature, too.
Prospect Park is home to one of Brooklyn’s last surviving indigenous forests. The roadway that skirts the park provides for an excellent stroll, as do the paths that meander through the park’s leafy interior. Try to catch Prospect Park in the fall for fresh, crisp aromas and beautiful foliage.
Prospect Park is surrounded by illustrious neighborhoods, but, of them all, Park Slope is perhaps the most quintessentially Brooklyn. Park Slope is ideal for romantic wanderings and for pleasing the eye with picturesque, historic brownstones and row houses.
Exit the park at 9th Street and head to 7th Avenue Donuts, near the corner of 9th Street and 7th Avenue.
This tiny luncheonette has been producing handmade donuts for nearly four decades, and they are delicious. They are not those fulsome, overpriced, new-wave New York donuts, either. They are simple, conventional, and surging with flavor. They have a freshness that can only be achieved by the daily handiwork of an experienced professional. 7th Avenue Donuts is open 24 hours, so there is no rush to get there; they have plenty of donuts to go around.
Since Park Slope is so hilly, there is absolutely nothing wrong with following your donut binge with a square meal of hot dogs and onion rings. Walk to the corner of Bergen Street and Flatbush Avenue to find Bark, where you will get the best hot dogs in the city. They offer six breeds of dog at Bark, but the NYC Dog, with its NYC-style sweet and sour onions, is a stand-out classic.
For the chili fan, Bark offers the Chili Cheese Dog, with Angus Beef chili, cheddar sauce, and onion. Not enough onion? Get the onion rings. They present a magnificent beer-battered crunchiness, and each onion ring offers a flavor explosion well worth the health hazard. To top it all off, Bark serves Foxon Park sodas on tap. Foxon Park, founded in 1922 in East Haven, Connecticut, is a family owned company that turns out some of the best Root Beer and Birch Beer in the business, and rarely is it found in NYC. Take advantage, and knock one back at Bark.
For a more intoxicating Park Slope beverage, head to High Dive at the corner of 5th Avenue and Carroll Street. This polished dive bar is always full of patrons, and comes equipped with bottled and draft beers, both domestic and foreign. High Dive is unique because it caters to a wide spectrum of revelers, from those who crave a Pabst Blue Ribbon to connoisseurs seeking a hoppier, heavier beer experience (e.g., Stone Ruination IPA). High Dive also has an impressive selection of spirits, showcasing some local favorites, like Hudson Whiskey. Chat with friends over a scotch, a can of Porkslap, and piles of free popcorn from High Dive’s invincible popcorn machine.
The morning after an enjoyable night of Park Slope debauchery is hard to bear without brunch. Keep it simple and mosey down to the Grand Canyon Restaurant on the corner of 7th Avenue and 1st Street. One of the secrets to enjoying NYC diners – and listen carefully! – is to ignore the fact that the menu is comprehensive and enormous. Just stick to the basics. Get a burger with fries or a breakfast item (avoid pancakes unless they come highly recommended). The Grand Canyon makes a famously juicy and delicious burger, and their French toast is well above average. It has friendly service, cheap prices, and a quirky “spaghetti western” décor. The superior Park Slope experience comes to completion beneath steer horns and pictures of Clint Eastwood.
Brooklyn is vast, and Park Slope represents only a small portion of what the borough’s many worlds have to give. There is much more to take in but, as we mentioned before, one piece at a time – or you’ll get a stomach ache.
To learn more about some of the aforementioned Park Slope establishments, see the links below: