Park Slope, Brooklyn

Park Slope, Brooklyn

Park Slope is a neighborhood in the western section of Brooklyn, New York City's most populous borough. Park Slope is roughly bounded by Prospect Park West to Fourth Avenue, Park Place to the Green-Wood Cemetery according to the New York City Department of City Planning [ [ South Park Slope Rezoning - Approved] , New York City Department of City Planning. Accessed october 8, 2007.] , though other definitions are sometimes offered. [ [ Park Slope neighborhood profile] , "New York (magazine)", extracted from a March 10, 2003 article. Accessed September 25, 2007. "Boundaries: Stretching from Prospect Park West to Fourth Avenue, Park Place to Prospect Expressway."] [Oser, Alan N. [ "Rezoning, and Redefining, Park Slope"] , "The New York Times", December 28, 2003. Accessed September 25, 2007. 'As broadly defined by brokers marketing real estate there, Park Slope is bordered by Flatbush Avenue to the north, the Prospect Park Expressway to the south, Prospect Park and Prospect Park West to the east, and Fourth Avenue to the west. The April rezoning actually extends west as far as Third Avenue on some blocks, and only as far as 15th Street to the south."] It takes its name from its location on the western slope of neighboring Prospect Park. Seventh Avenue and Fifth Avenue are its primary commercial streets, while its east-west side streets are populated by many historic brownstones.

Park Slope is characterized by its historic buildings, top-rated restaurants, bars, and shops, as well as close access to Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, and the [ Central Library] (as well as the Park Slope branch) of the Brooklyn Public Library system. [ [ Brooklyn Public Library] , accessed August 17, 2006]

The neighborhood had a population of about 62,200 as of the 2000 census, [cite news | last =Oser | first =Alan | title = Rezoning, and Redefining, Park Slope | publisher ="The New York Times" | date =December 28, 2003 | url =
accessdate =2007-06-02
] resulting in a population density of approximately 68,000/square mile, or approximately 26,000/square kilometer.

In December 2006, "Natural Home" magazine named Park Slope one of America's ten best neighborhoods based on criteria including parks, green spaces and neighborhood gathering spaces; farmer’s markets and community gardens; public transportation and locally-owned businesses; and environmental and social policy. [Natural Home. "America's Best Eco-Neighborhoods." December 6, 2006. [] ] Park Slope is part of Brooklyn Community Board 6.


Early history

The area that today comprises the neighborhood of Park Slope was first inhabited by the Canarsee Native Americans. The Dutch colonized the area by the 1600s and farmed the region for more than 200 years. During the American Revolutionary War on August 27, 1776, the Park Slope area served as the backdrop for the beginning of the Battle of Long Island, also called the Battle of Brooklyn, the first pitched battle between the British and the Continental Army under the command of George Washington. In this battle, over 10,000 British Redcoats and Hessians routed outnumbered American forces at Battle Pass. What appeared as a major defeat for the colonials was actually the first of many of Washington's tactical retreats. The historic site of Battle Pass is now preserved in Prospect Park, and on Fifth Avenue there is a reconstruction of the stone farmhouse where a countercharge covered the American retreat.

19th-century development

In 1814, ferry service from the nearby Brooklyn Terminal linked the Park Slope and South Brooklyn region to Manhattan, a thriving business center at the time. By the 1850s, a local lawyer and railroad developer named Edwin Clarke Litchfield (1815-1885) purchased large tracts of what was then farmland. Through the American Civil War era, he sold off much of his land to residential developers. During the 1860s, the City of Brooklyn purchased his estate and adjoining property to complete the West Drive and the southern portion of the Long Meadow in Prospect Park. cite book
last = Morrone
first = Francis
title = An Architectural Guidebook to Brooklyn
publisher = Gibbs-Smith
location = Salt Lake City
date = 2001
isbn = 1-58685-047-4
page = 426
url =
format = HTML (Limited preview only)

Park Slope’s bucolic period ended soon after. By the late 1870s, with horse-drawn rail cars running to the park and the ferry, bringing many rich New Yorkers in the process, urban sprawl dramatically changed the neighborhood into a streetcar suburb. Many of the large Victorian mansions on Prospect Park West, known as the Gold Coast, were built in the 1880s and 1890s to take advantage of the beautiful park views. Today, many of these buildings are preserved within the 24-block Park Slope Historic District, one of New York's largest landmarked neighborhoods. By 1883, with the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge, Park Slope continued to boom and subsequent brick and brownstone structures pushed the neighborhood's borders farther. The 1890 census showed Park Slope to be the richest community in the United States.

In 1892, President Grover Cleveland presided over the unveiling of The Soldiers and Sailors Arch at Grand Army Plaza, a notable Park Slope landmark.

The Old Stone House is a 1930 reconstruction of the Vechte-Cortelyou House which was destroyed in 1897. It is located on Third Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues, beside the former Gowanus Creek.

Baseball history

Baseball has played a prominent role in the history of the Park Slope area. From 1879-1889, the Brooklyn Atlantics (later to become the Dodgers) played at Washington Park on 5th Avenue between 3rd and 4th Streets. When the park was destroyed by a fire, the team moved to their part-time home in Ridgewood, Queens and then to a park in East New York. In 1898, the "New" Washington Park was built between Third and Fourth Avenues and between First and Third Streets near the Gowanus Canal. The team, by this point known as the Dodgers, played to an ever-growing fan base at this location. By the end of the 1912 season, it was clear that the team had outgrown the field, and the neighborhood. Team owner Charles Ebbets moved the team to his Ebbets Field stadium in Flatbush for the beginning of the 1913 season. [ [ Dodgers Ballparks] , accessed May 27, 2006] The team went on to have historic crosstown rivalries with both the New York Giants and New York Yankees.

Crash of United Flight 826

On December 16, 1960, two airliners collided above Staten Island, killing 135 people in what was the worst U.S. aviation disaster to that time. One of the airplanes, a Douglas DC-8 operating as United Airlines Flight 826, was able to stay airborne for a few miles before crashing near the corner of Sterling Place and Seventh Avenue [cite news|url=|title=Pillar of Fire, Recalling the Day the Sky Fell, December 16, 1960|author=Nathaniel Altman|publisher=Park Slope Reader|date=October 7, 2004] , destroying several buildings. Almost everyone on board was instantly killed, save for one 11-year-old boy who survived the night before succumbing to his injuries.

Blight and renewal

Through the 1950s, Park Slope saw its decline as a result of suburban sprawl and bearish local industries. Many of the wealthy and middle-class families fled for the suburban life and Park Slope became a rougher, working class neighborhood.

The precursor to renovated brownstones and boutique bohemianism was an urban renewal process started by working families and a community of feminists, many of them lesbians. [cite news|url= | author=Megan Cossey | date=January 16, 2005 | publisher=The New York Times| title=Replanting the Rainbow Flag] By the 1960s, an official revitalization movement was in full swing to preserve the neighborhood's historic row houses, stately brownstones, and Queen Anne, Renaissance Revival, and Romanesque mansions. With the historic Park Slope district (around Seventh Avenue) seeing a rebirth, the rest of the area saw a similar increase in popularity.

In the late 1970s, the area around Fifth Avenue in Park Slope was suffering from widespread abandonment and blight, with more than 200 vacant buildings and 150 vacant lots within one mile. As a result of the neighborhood's close proximity to Prospect Park, and the many well-built apartment houses and brownstones, this region also became ripe for renewal.

By the 1990s, partly as a result of inflated Manhattan rents along with the inflated dot-com economy, people who might otherwise have lived in Manhattan began moving to Park Slope in large numbers. The influx was mainly families and young professionals.

During the second major boom for the neighborhood, Park Slope evolved into a racially and economically mixed neighborhood, a place where stock brokers live alongside poor and middle-class working families. This is partially the result of much planning and activism by local community organizations, like the Fifth Avenue Committee, that fought to maintain much of the neighborhood's diversity. A 2001 report by the New York City Rent Guidelines Board found that from 1990 to 1999, rents in New York City increased by 3.5-4.4% per year, depending on what kind of building the apartment was in. [ [ Urban Gentry] , "Ford Foundation Report", Spring 2003] The explosion of property values inspired real estate agents to be increasingly generous about the borders of Park Slope, not unlike the expansion of Fort Greene into Bedford-Stuyvesant; South Slope, Prospect Heights, Windsor Terrace, Gowanus, Greenwood Heights, and Boerum Hill all became to some extent part of greater Park Slope.

The negative impact, however, of this renewal is the displacement of the immigrant population that settled here in the 1980s. As the more affluent began to move into Park Slope, the rising rents made it difficult for low-income residents to stay. Thanks to rent stabilization and the "cachet" of specific addresses, it is not uncommon to find those same early immigrants who moved into the neighborhood living adjacent to renters paying two to three times higher rent.

The commercial impacts of the renewal can also be seen along the popular Fifth Avenue stretch, where numerous banks and bars have replaced old neighborhood staples such as the Salvation Army and once popular dollar stores. Similarly, on Seventh Avenue, many small family-owned bookstores and coffee shops saw a reduction in clientèle when Barnes & Noble and Starbucks appeared in the neighborhood. While renewal and the ensuing rush of brand name stores normally signal a driving down of prices, in some industries such as food services, prices have gone up.


The neighborhood is well served by the New York City Subway. Several lines have stops in Park Slope, including the NYCS service|F train at Fourth Avenue, Seventh Avenue and 15th Street–Prospect Park/Prospect Park West; The NYCS service|2 and NYCS service|3 trains at Atlantic Avenue, Bergen Street and Grand Army Plaza; the NYCS service|4 and NYCS service|5 (during rush hours only) trains also at Atlantic Avenue; the NYCS service|N, NYCS service|M, and NYCS service|R trains at Prospect Avenue, Ninth Street, Union Street and Atlantic Avenue–Pacific Street; the NYCS service|D train also at Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street; and the NYCS service|B and NYCS service|Q trains at Atlantic Avenue and Seventh Avenue at Flatbush.

Community institutions

* Park Slope Food Co-op on Union Street has approximately 12,000 members from Park Slope and other neighborhoods. Only members may shop there and membership requires a work commitment of 2 3/4 hours every four weeks.
*Park Slope Volunteer Ambulance Corps provides emergency medical services to community members regardless of ability to pay.

* The Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, part of the Brooklyn Queens Conservatory of Music, is a community music school, offering music classes, ensembles and choral opportunities, and individual instrumental and vocal lessons to students from 18 months old to adults. It was founded in 1897.

Houses of worship

Park Slope has many beautiful and historic churches of many denominations, especially Catholic, as well as newer ones, as well as many synagogues to serve the large Jewish population. Congregation Beth Elohim, located at 274 Garfield Place and Eighth Avenue in Park Slope, is the largest Reform synagogue in Brooklyn,Norsen, Francesca. [ "Congregation Beth Elohim Set to Install New Rabbi"] , "Brooklyn Eagle", October 20, 2006.] and the "oldest Brooklyn congregation that continues to function under its corporate name." [ "Origins"] , Synagogue website. .] Also the union temple serves the need of the other reform Jews of the neighborhood, and Chabad and other orthodox congregations serve Jews of other dominions.

Park Slope's Muslims are served by mosques outside the neighborhood, though there are several nearby on Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill and in the Greenwood Terrace area just south of Park Slope.


Park Slope is home to a number of public and private educational institutions.

Public schools

Public schools are operated by the New York City Department of Education. Park Slope is in two different Community School Districts - The Northern part of Park Slope is in District 13, while the Southern half is in District 15. Students are zoned to schools for Elementary School; Both District 13 and District 15 place students in Middle School based on the student's ranking of acceptable Middle Schools. There are no public High Schools in Park Slope, but children from Park Slope attend High Schools throughout NYC. Students must apply to high schools.
* [ MS 51] (6-8) on Fifth Avenue, between Fourth and Fifth Streets.
* [ PS 39] (preK-5) on Sixth Avenue, between Seventh and Eighth Streets. Also see [] .
* [ PS 107] (preK-5) on Eighth Avenue, between Thirteenth and Fourteenth Streets. Also see [] .
* [ PS 124] (preK-5) on Fourth Avenue, between Thirteenth and Fourteenth Streets.
* [ PS 282] (preK-5) on Sixth Avenue, between Berkeley Place and Lincoln Place.
* [ PS 321] (preK-5) on Seventh Avenue, between First and Second Streets. Also see [] .
* Secondary School for Law, Journalism and Research (6-12) (Formerly John Jay HS), 237 Seventh Avenue between Fourth and Fifth Streets.

Private schools

* Beth Elohim Day School (preK-K) on Eighth Avenue and Garfield Place.
* Berkeley Carroll School (preK-12) on Lincoln Place, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues; Carroll Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues; and President Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues.
* [ Brooklyn Free School] (ages 5-15) on Sixteenth Street, between Fourth and Fifth Avenues. See Free Schools.
* Montessori School of New York (ages 2-13) on Eighth Avenue between Carroll and President Streets. See Montessori.
* [ Poly Prep Lower School] (PreK-4) on Prospect Park West between First and Second Streets.
* St. Francis Xavier (Catholic School) (K-8). 763 President St. between 6th & 7th Avenue.
* [ St. Saviour Elementary School] (Catholic School) (preK-8) 8th Ave between 7th and 8th Street
*St. Saviour High School (all girls Catholic School) (9-12) 6th Street between 8th Avenue and Prospect Park West

Notable residents

Many notable people have lived in Park Slope, and many more still continue to call it home. John Linnell of "They Might Be Giants" has lived in Park Slope since the late 1990s. Former resident KRS-One was born Lawrence Krisna Parker in Park Slope before running away from home to the Bronx. Author Pete Hamill was born and raised in Park Slope. Novelist Jhumpa Lahiri was a resident until 2005. Charles Schumer, New York's senior US Senator, lives near Grand Army Plaza overlooking Prospect Park. Deceased MC Ol' Dirty Bastard's mother lives in a four-story brownstone in Park Slope.

Many famous writers live in Park Slope including Jim Knipfel, Jonathan Safran Foer, Paul Auster, Franco Ambriz, Peter Blauner, Siri Hustvedt, John Wray, and Kathryn Harrison.

Jazz musicians Michael Weiss, Danny Kalb, and Joshua Redman live in Park Slope.


* Jon Abrahams [Lee, Linda. [ "A NIGHT OUT AT THE: Paramount Hotel; The Pajama Game"] , "The New York Times", May 27, 2001. Accessed November 3, 2007. "A product of St. Ann's School in Brooklyn, Mr. Abrahams, 23, had invited a batch of friends from high school to join him. He lives in North Park Slope, "exactly 41 minutes from here," he said."]
* Paul Bettany -- sold their mansion and moved in 2008
* Steve Buscemi
* Jennifer Connelly -- sold their mansion and moved in 2008
* David Cross
* Kathryn Erbe
* Laurence Fishburne grew up in Park Slope
* Zena Grey
* Maggie Gyllenhaal
* Michael Showalter

* Robin Johnson grew up in Park Slope
* Terry Kinney
* Athan Maroulis
* Kelly McGillis
* Colin Quinn
* Peter Sarsgaard
* John Turturro
* John Ventimiglia
* Wentworth Miller grew up in Park Slope


* Jim Black
* Dave Douglas
* Mark Feldman
* Michael Hearst
* John Linnell
* Chris Speed
* Ravi Coltrane
* Angelique Kidjo
* Jonathan Coulton


* Alex Grey
* David Rees (cartoonist)
* Byron Kim
* Janine Antoni
* Lisa Sigal


* Amateur Gourmet (Adam Roberts)
* Paul Auster
* Franco Ambriz
* Peter Blauner
* Helen Boyd
* Arthur Bradford
* Bruce Brooks
* Rudolph Delson
* Jonathan Safran Foer
* Ben Greenman
* Pete Hamill
* Colin Harrison
* Kathryn Harrison
* John Hodgman
* Siri Hustvedt

* Steven Berlin Johnson
* Jim Knipfel
* Nicole Krauss
* Jhumpa Lahiri
* Michael Patrick MacDonald
* Jennie Fields
* Rick Moody
* Douglas Rushkoff
* Brian Selznick
* Jon Scieszka
* Marilyn Singer
* Darin Strauss
* Ned Vizzini
* Mo Willems
* Brian Wood

Political figures

* James F. Brennan
* Hugh Carey
* William Jay Gaynor
* Chuck Schumer
* Marty Markowitz

See also

* 1960 New York air disaster
* List of Brooklyn, New York neighborhoods
* Streetcar suburb


External links

* [ Park Slope Neighborhood Profile] from "New York Magazine"
* [ Park Slope architecture]
* [ Park Slope: Where Is the Love?] from "New York Times"
* [ Park Slope 11215 Zip Code Profile]

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