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Get to know Park Slope

Long before Brooklyn’s current moment of cool, with people from around the world seeking out the nightlife of Williamsburg, Bushwick, and other neighborhoods, Park Slope was one of the borough’s most desirable areas. Just as Central Park was the catalyst for a Manhattan building boom, Prospect Park, which opened in 1867, had a similar effect; it just took a while longer to get going. When it came to its second act, however, Park Slope was ahead of its time. Victorian mansions that had been divided into apartments were being restored to single-family homes as early as the 1960s. What made Park Slope appealing then continues to draw residents, namely the grand 19th-century houses and proximity to the park. In addition, its main commercial strips, Fifth and Seventh avenues, have retained a lively mix of businesses with both established favorites and intriguing new additions.
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History & Culture

The source of Park Slope’s name, Prospect Park, opened in 1867, designed by the same team behind Manhattan’s Central Park: Frederick Law Olmsted and partner Calvert Vaux. Though the park would generate interest in the area, it would take some time before development took off in earnest. The opening of the Brooklyn Bridge, in 1883, accelerated the pace. The grandest homes were built along Prospect Park West and facing, or at least close to, Grand Army Plaza.

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Dine & Shop

For most of Park Slope’s history, Seventh Avenue was the sole commercial strip. Its character generally fits that of the neighborhood as a whole; fixtures like Community Bookstore and 7th Avenue Donuts have been open since the 1970s. Fifth Avenue has a decidedly Brooklyn-nouveau vibe, with local artisans and designers represented and a dining scene that is as diverse as the borough itself. Though technically not in Park Slope, the Barclays Center and Atlantic Terminal mall are just north of Fifth.