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Travel back in time in Midwood


city Credit: Alakananda Nag

Midwood has the feeling of a Brooklyn neighborhood stuck in an earlier time. Signs for many of the businesses are decades old, and the residential areas boast tree-lined streets and well-maintained stand-alone houses. The large, quiet neighborhood is wedged between Flatbush and Coney Island.

Bakeries, fishmongers and delis cater to the many Jewish residents who live in Midwood, and on Saturday, neighborhood stores are mostly shuttered in observance of Shabbat. The area does not have a vibrant after-hours scene, and finding a bar to grab a beer is next to impossible in most of the neighborhood. On the other hand, Midwood is full of top-notch pizzerias.

Midwood has a century of history in the film and television industry. Classic shows were taped at the Vitograph Studio on Avenue M and 14th Street. Now known as JC Studios, it’s still a working facility. “As the World Turns” was recorded there until it was cancelled last summer. Brooklyn College is at the northern edge of the neighborhood, with students helping to diversify the area. The college also offers sports, performing arts, screenings and gallery openings for students and neighbors alike.

Local public schools are among the best in the city.

The No. 2 train’s last stop is at Brooklyn College, but the B and Q trains go further into Midwood. It’s about a half-hour commute to midtown on the Q train. The subway stations in the neighborhood are receiving a much-needed facelift, although service is still reliable.

To Eat

Mendy’s Kosher Deli, 1359 Coney Island Ave., 718-859-1002

From corned beef to matzoh ball and chicken soups, Mendy’s is well known for its kosher delicacies.

Chikurin Sushi, 1777 Ocean Ave., 718-338-1818

Behind its inauspicious entrance, Chikurin offers fresh fish and ample portions of Japanese cuisine.

JoMart Chocolates, 2917 Avenue R, 718-375-1277

As the “son of a son of a candymaker,” Michael Rogak knows the key to world peace is chocolate. It’s hard to disagree in the face of hand-dipped sour-cherry fudge truffles and espresso caramels.

To Play

Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts, 2900 Campus Rd.,718-951-4600

Part of Brooklyn College, the Center for the Performing Arts brings new plays and musical performances to the neighborhood every month. Many shows are one-night only, but student productions, such as “Rough Magic” (opening Feb. 24), run for several weeks.

Gulluoglu Cafe, 1985 Coney Island Ave., 718-645-1822

Sip tea and sample any of the 12 varieties of baklava at this comfortable cafe. The honey- and pistachio-filled treats are sure to brighten anyone’s evening.

To Shop

Shakespeare & Co., 150 Campus Rd.,718-434-5326

Every good college has a good bookstore, and Shakespeare & Co. is there for readers with textbooks, great American novels and other nonrequired reading.

Pomegranate, 1507 Coney Island Ave., 718-951-7112

This 20,000-square-foot kosher supermarket amply supplies the needs of local foodies, offering cheese and breads at decent prices. The meat selection also is great, though more expensive.

The Kitchen Clique, 3009 Avenue L, 718-253-3909

From cookbooks to the Sodastream, home chefs can find all their kitchen accoutrements here. Everything is also available online for those who don’t want to trek around Brooklyn carrying a cast-iron pot.

Avenue J Florists, 1502 Avenue J, 718-377-2002

Buckets of fresh hydrangeas and other flowers greet visitors to this 80-year-old flower shop. Of course, bouquets are available for delivery all over Brooklyn – just in time for Valentine’s Day!

To See

Brooklyn College, 2900 Bedford Ave.

The 26-acre campus was established in the 1930s as the first coeducational liberal arts college in New York. The campus’ libraries, theaters and sports fields look much the same as they did back then. It’s a bit of an oasis in a crowded area.

Alyssa Katz, a Manhattan native, has lived in Midwood since 2005. She considers it “living in the country.”

What’s the best part of the neighborhood? It’s relaxed, leafy and down-to-earth. It’s a very rooted community.

What are the disadvantages? There’s not a lot in the way of bars and cafes or public space, although Brooklyn College offers some of that.

What would you recommend to people visiting Midwood? Shopping and eating! There are so many small businesses, and it’s such good quality at good prices.

Who lives in the area? There’s a sizable Jewish community, although it’s really diverse, with people belonging to different synagogues. Middle-class people from all over the world live here. It’s family-oriented, without a lot of young singles.

How has the neighborhood changed? We have so many family-run businesses, and as the shopkeepers are getting older, their shops are closing and being replaced by chains. I guess that happens everywhere, but we really feel it in Midwood.

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