Park Slope is a fine mixture of late 19th century elegance and 21st century cool: Brownstones and limestones complete with bow windows, bay windows, turrets and cupolas vie for space along its tree-lined streets with up-to-the minute bistros and bars.
Built to compete with the upscale neighborhoods of that borough across the river, its own version of Fifth Avenue -- Prospect Park West -- was meant to be every bit as opulent as its more famous competitor. It never quite succeeded on that level, but it did draw its own plutocrats and merchant princes.
The main difference is that, even today, many of those mansions remain while much of Fifth Avenue has long since been turned into faceless -- if internally lavish -- apartment houses.
By car: Northern State Parkway west to the Grand Central. Follow signs for Jackie Robinson Parkway west. Continue on Pennsylvania Avenue. Turn right on Atlantic, then left on Fourth Avenue, leading to Park Slope.
Mass transit: Take the Long Island Rail Road to Flatbush Avenue, then the M or R subway to the Ninth Street/Fourth Avenue station.
WHERE TO SHOP
Flirt , 93 Fifth Ave., 718-783-0364
Like the name says, flirty things for women
Maggie's Threads , 411 Seventh Ave., 718-369-0411
Good selection of clothes for kids
Sweet Charity , 411 Seventh Ave., 718-965-9200
All manner of accessories for the home
Cog & Pearl , 190 Fifth Ave., 718-623-8200
Handmade things, from jewelry to clothing to gifts
Blue Apron Foods , 814 Union St., 718-230-3180
Pretty shop selling cookies, cheeses, pâtés
WHERE TO EAT
Applewood , 501 11th St., 718-788-1810, applewoodny.com
The menu here changes constantly, to keep up with the seasons. The husband-and-wife team who own the place have made it into a neighborhood favorite. Reservations necessary.
Al di La Trattoria , 248 Fifth Ave., 718-783-4565, aldilatrattoria.com
At some point, everyone eats here. The pastas are fine, the main courses excellent. Since they don't take reservations, the wait can seem interminable -- unless you sit it out in the wine bar around the corner.
Dizzy's , 511 Ninth St., 718-499-1966, dizzys.com
The classic New York diner serves up all the old faves with a friendly attitude. For dinner, Dad's Favorite Meatloaf is a great choice.
It's one of the Slope's nearby neighbors. While spring is the most popular time to visit, the autumnal mood of the garden is spectacular. The tranquil Japanese garden, in particular, seems a world away from the city's noise and rush.
COST $8 donation
It's one of the city's gems. While it grabbed attention a decade or so ago with its exhibit of a dung-festooned Madonna, the museum's permanent collections, particularly Judy Chicago's famous "Dinner Party," draw steady crowds.