Welcome to Brooklyn’s most desirable neighborhoods to live in! Park Slope is not only one of New York’s wealthiest neighborhoods but is also full of activities for visitors to enjoy. While most of New York City is going through a redevelopment period, Brooklyn has managed to maintain some of its old brownstone architecture. This is large in part because of the efforts of conservationists in the area. Park Slope is lined with brownstone houses and apartment buildings that were built as far back as the 1880’s. Most of these old buildings were renovated during the 1960’s and are now home to over 60,000 people in the neighborhood.
Today, the neighborhood is littered with top-rated restaurants, lively bars, and many different kinds of shops. Park Slope’s collection of clothing stores and foreign cuisine make it excellent for a vacation. The neighborhood features many kinds of restaurants some of which are exclusively women owned! If you truly want to experience Park Slope at its best, come down during a holiday. Whether it’s Halloween, Christmas or just a nice sunny day, you’ll find the neighborhood is always lively with vibrant culture.
The area that is now Brooklyn was originally settled by the Canarsee, a former Native American tribe. In the late 1630’s, early European settlers purchased the area and used it as farmland for the next two centuries. However the area still remained largely undeveloped, soon the land would be split up, sold, and turned into more farmland. During the 1830’s Brooklyn would be incorporated as a city and the Park Slope area saw a few key additions. Large parts of Brooklyn were actually owned by lawyer and land developer Edwin Clark Litchfield. Litchfield purchased these tracts of land back when they were used for farming, he would then sell them off during the Civil War. During the 1860s Park Slope would be further developed thanks to the addition of Prospect Park.
New York would experience a population boom during the late 1800’s. With many residents flooding the outside boroughs, Brooklyn became one of the United States’ most populous county’s. During this boom Brooklyn would begin to see a variety of Brownstone buildings constructed throughout the borough
Once the park was developed horse-drawn rail cars would help bring many wealthy New Yorkers into the neighborhood. In the early 19th century transit improved in the area and most of the roads in Flatbush and Jamaica would be widened. Locomotives would be added to Brooklyn thanks to the development of the Brooklyn and Jamaica Railroad, however this did little to increase residential growth. Park Slope’s proximity to Prospect Park and easy access, thanks to public transit, made it a favorite amongst wealthy individuals visiting New York. Brooklyn would eventually be added into what is now the City of Greater New York back in 1898.
It was in the late 1940’s that Park Slope would see another population increase, largely due to Colonel Daniel Richards. Richards made many proposals to the New York Legislature in an effort to renovate Park Slope. The construction of the Brooklyn Bridge further helped in the development of the neighborhood, allowing residents easier transit into Manhattan. while before the only way to get in was through having a driver take you to Park Slope, that soon changed. This meant many wealthy and upper-middle class residents moved out of Park Slope and into the outer neighborhoods. Most of the previous residents would move to places like Westchester County and even New Jersey. The residents that chose to stay within the city would move to places like Greenpoint and most famously the Upper East Side.
This caused the neighborhood to become much more working class and led to the development of more upscale apartment buildings. With automobiles becoming more commercially viable, you could even take a taxi to the neighborhood. Many of the previous residents moved out of the area with only a portion of the wealthier residents remaining in the neighborhood. Eventually in the 1950’s the neighborhood would consist of mainly working class Italian Americans and Irish Americans. Then in the 1960’s Park Slope would see an influx of Black and Latino residents, many of the previous white residents would move out into suburbs during this time. The neighborhood would face violent hate crimes due to the influx of different cultures. In the early 1970’s the neighborhood would begin a renovation trend that helped Park Slope regain its desirable status.
Rooming houses would be converted into duplexes and family homes during this time with many of them given landmark status thanks to preservationists in the neighborhood. This led to the beginning of a gentrification boom in the late 1970’s and it would increase in the 1980’s. Sadly, New York would see a massive crime wave during this time, with muggings and shootings occurring in Park Slope daily. The increase of gentrification in the 80’s and 90’s has caused Park Slope to return to its status as one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Largely thanks to many upper middle-class families being pushed out of Manhattan and into the outer borough.
Park Slope is filled with greenery, sidewalks are tree-lined, and most buildings have a front garden. Residents are some of the friendliest in the city and will welcome you with open arms into their neighborhood. Park Slope’s main streets are lined with restaurants, and cafes, most of them being found on 7th avenue and 5th avenue.
7th avenue is filled with multiple sushi spots, and even libraries for anyone visiting. From great italian food and pizzeria’s to mediterranean food 7th avenue will have something for everyone to enjoy. If you want to take a tour of the avenue you’ll be glad to know that their are limo service‘s that offer hourly tours, so enjoy shopping!
If you decide to take a stroll down 7th avenue you’ll also notice that the avenue is lined with churches with the most noticeable one being the Old First Reformed Church. 7th avenue may be the more traditional street of Park Slope but it is still lined with upbeat shops and restaurants for visitors to enjoy.
There are also all types of cuisine for anyone looking to experience something different, whether that be Colombian food, an Oyster Bar, or maybe just an old fashioned steak house! Both avenues are packed with places to dine, it may not hurt to take transportation down to Park Slope to try different cuisines. Thrift stores, record shops, and many other shops are also plentiful in the avenue, with new stores popping up every day. There are also a number of boutiques and vintage clothing shops scattered around the area. You can find many different types of stores in 5th avenue, however it is also home to many historic buildings as well.
Many of the buildings in Park Slope have retained their architecture, meaning you’ll find some of Brooklyn historic landmarks here. Some great examples of this are the 14th Regiment Armory, which houses the Park Slope YMCA Branch. The Litchfield Villa, a mansion that was built in Italianate architecture, now houses the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
Park Slope is also home to a few local event venues, the most well known being Union Hall. The hall is a 5,000 Square foot venue used for music events and comedy shows and features an indoor restaurant and bar. You’ll also find that Union Hall has outdoor seating in the gardens, and even a fireplace!
This combined with the hall’s small library can make for a cozy spot for anyone looking to relax with a book in hand. Union Hall also hosts events for the holidays, so if you’re taking a vacation to New York take a car service down to Park Slope and get a feel for the local events!
The main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library is also located on Park Slope, specifically on Grand Army Plaza. Original construction of the Central Library began in 1912 along with construction of Grand Army Plaza. Completion of the Central Library would be slowed due to political infighting and would remain in limbo until the 1930’s. The project would be picked back up by different architects and would be redesigned into an art deco style. The building would be completed in the late 1940’s and the second floor in 1955.
The Central Library now employs 300 employees and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. The Library now offers many programs and services including meeting rooms, passport services, and even technological classes. The Central Library also houses an auditorium with over a hundred seats called the Dweck Center for Contemporary Culture. The facilities auditorium hosts lectures, readings, musicals, and even performances, along with a number of outdoor events during the summer.
Park Slope has gone through many changes yet has managed to retain its desirable status. its historic architecture makes it an excellent example of pre-war brownstone and brick buildings. You can experience all types of cuisine just by walking down the avenue, with some streets being packed with restaurants. Other streets are littered with boutiques, vintage stores and even thrift stores! Though if you just want to sit down with a book, you’ll love Park Slope’s cafe’s, and libraries. Park Slope will always have an event to enjoy, so take a limo down to Brooklyn, and enjoy visiting Park Slope.