In terms of per block ratio, the neighborhood of Flatbush, located just south of Prospect Park, offers a great bang for the buck. From the Victorian houses of Ditmas Park, to the exquisite renovations of Kings Theatre, it’s a neighborhood fit for royalty. The wide leafy streets are filled with treasures: quirky historical sites, relaxing cafe gardens and sizzling Caribbean bakeries.
Peep the Ditmas Park Victorians:
Ditmas Park is a unique neighborhood in NYC because of its array of turn of the century Victorian houses situated on tree lined streets. In spring, the streets come alive with bright flora and Brooklyners snapping photos. Walking through the neighborhood can feel like a John Hughes film, and it’s possible to spend an afternoon meandering through the wide streets and flat sidewalks, marveling at the beauty. Don’t miss the Japanese House (131 Buckingham Rd.), a standout built in 1903 by an architecture firm, Kirby, Petit & Green, who wanted to attract the wealthy to the neighborhood.
Get Some Culture and History:
The storied Kings Theatre (1027 Flatbush Ave.), which opened as a movie palace in 1929, went through a massive renovation in 2010, restoring it to its former glory. There are monthly historic tours ($15) to see the details up close, and an interesting line up of live events to keep you out every day of the week. On May 19th, The Stereo Hideout is marrying Brahm's 1st Symphony with Radiohead's OK Computer. In July, score tickets to see celebrity magician, David Blaine. Kings Theatre, tickets available at www.kingstheatre.com.
Visit Some Odd (But Cool) Landmarked Sites:
Other interesting sites include Erasmus Hall (899-925 Flatbush Ave.), the Georgian-Federal historical site which was also the high school where Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond attended school. Or visit the quirky Avenue H Station, a landmarked structure, which is a shingled wooden cottage-cum- B/Q subway train station house, complete with wooden rockers on the front porch.
Food & Drink:
Flatbush is a wide area with a highly concentrated row of restaurants and bars on Cortelyou Road and then a hotbed of tasty jerk joints on Flatbush Avenue. So, depending what you’re in the mood for, we’ve broken the choices down by blocks: Ditmas Park or Little Caribbean.
Relax on Ditmas Park's Restaurant Row:
The Farm on Adderley (1108 Cortelyou Rd.) was one of the first restaurants to put Ditmas Park on the map as a dining destination, and brunch in the yard is still one of the best ways to spend a Sunday. If the wait is too long at The Farm, step over next door to Lea (1022 Cortelyou Rd.), for wood fired pizzas and Italian food. Locals flock to Purple Yam (1314 Cortelyou Rd.) for delicious Pan-Asian food like “grandmother’s spring rolls”, bibimbap and oxtail kare kare. In an innovative set up, restaurants Manchego (1502 Cortelyou Rd.) and Koko (375 Marlborough) share a kitchen, churning out Spanish tapas on one side and warming ramen on the other.
Ditmas Park Drinks:
Getting a buzz on is a lovely affair with the bar-and-flower shop, Sycamore (1118 Cortelyou Rd.), that hosts Honeysuckle Hill Flowers in the front of its bar. Grab a bouquet, a cocktail, and spend some time smelling the flowers in the backyard. The Castello Plan (1213 Cortelyou Rd.) is a charming haven with tall tables, solid drinks and friendly service. If you’re looking for a musical soundtrack, swing by Bar Chord (1108 Cortelyou Rd.), a musically themed bar with an award winning jukebox and a rotating lineup of nightly live musicians.
Visit A Vibrant Little Caribbean Restaurant:
In 2017, the junction of Flatbush and Nostrand has been designated as Little Caribbean, New York’s first designated Caribbean neighborhood. This recognition will help retain the Caribbean flavors of Flushing Avenue including the delicious Island Express (998 Flatbush Ave.), a Guyanese restaurant and bakery. Conveniently located across from King’s Theatre, it’s the perfect pre-show fast-casual dinner. They pump out hot roti flatbreads to scoop up flavorful curry chicken and thyme infused stewed chicken. Grab a shockingly sweet sorrel beverage to balance the spiciness of the food, and take a seat at one of the communal tables. For solid Jamaican patties at $2 a pop, look across the street to Tastee Pattee (982 Flatbush Ave.) where the line is often long but worth the wait.