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Park Slope History

Park Slope History

If you asked Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight in 2010, he would have said that Park Slope is the most livable neighborhood in New York. But Park Slope is a peaceful neighborhood full of history.

Edwin C. Litchfield initially owned the land. Eventually, developers bought it in blocks. The city, which bought 526 acres, built Prospect Park from which the neighborhood gets its name.

Prospect Park has often been pitched against Central Park, with some feeling that the latter must be better because it’s more extensive. A closer look reveals that the newer Prospect Park is better designed because Olmsted, who designed both parks, corrected the layout problems he had faced with Central Park. Prospect Park is less crowded and the road doesn’t touch the ravines & meadows. The lake is also enormous.

History of Park Slope Brooklyn

History of Park Slope Brooklyn

No doubt, this is a desirable neighborhood, a must-visit for all New Yorkers and the home of some impressive Park Slope restaurants. With its organic food markets and pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, you’ll likely want to extend your stay. But you can’t claim the beauty of Park Slope without acknowledging its history.

Did you know that President Obama lived in Park Slope with his then-girlfriend Genevieve long before he was president? Now you know. On to some serious matters, though, here are a few facts you may not know about the park on the slope’s history.

Park Slope was initially farmland.

The Lenape were the original inhabitants of South Brooklyn, as Park Slope was then known. The area was mainly farmland and wood until after the Europeans came in the 17th century. While they farmed the land, they also built Victorian mansions and sold brownstones.

In the 19th century, it was divided and sold in rectangular parcels.

One of the worst tragedies in the aviation industry happened in Park Slope.

Today, the peace at the intersection of Sterling Place and 7th Avenue in Park Slope doesn’t betray the tragedy witnessed on that same spot almost sixty-two years ago. On December 16, 1960, United Airlines flight 826 collided with Trans World Airlines flight 266. The accident claimed 134 lives. Among those who died were six people on the ground.

The tragedy was worsened because the McCaddin Funeral Home was hit. Embalmed bodies were scattered all over Brooklyn streets. Although there’s no significant monument, you can find traces of this tragedy at a few spots in town.

You can say that Park Slope has risen from the ashes. And although this history is permanently written, Park Slope is now known for its positive features. Today it’s known not as the site of a national tragedy but for its elite public schools and high property values.

There was a time Park Slope was almost deserted.

Following the Great Depression, property values plummeted. The previously wealthy population began to cut back on their expenses. Some residents decided to sell and move away. For some time, the town was almost deserted. But that was to change in the 1960s with the influx of immigrants. They restored the brownstones built by the Dutch in the 1600s and brought back the town’s glory.

Today, Park Slope is known for parents in their 30s who move here to raise children. The sidewalks and restaurants are filled with families with infants and toddlers on strollers, even to the point where some have given the town the nicknames Strollerville and Stroller Park.

Culture of Park Slope Today

Culture of Park Slope Today

Today, Park Slope has come a long way from the original farmland; in many good ways. The greenery and the famous organic market still give the town a homey feel. However, the population is mainly urban now and most rent houses.

Most business owners are young, leading the Park Slope economy to be called the “knowledge economy.” The influx of young families has also created a need for entertainment resulting in puppet shows, performance venues and recreational activities for children.

Nightlife is balanced. Residents like having a good time every night, but without the loud noise common in other parts of Brooklyn.

There are many outdoor activities to enjoy, and real estate is thriving. If you fancy a good time, the town has a variety of bars, boutiques, trendy restaurants, artisanal ventures and coffee houses. The population is generally liberal.

Expect to find:

  • Small town vibes with current technology
  • A Pedestrian-friendly pace of life
  • Good food and drinks in award-winning eateries and bars
  • Above-average public schools
  • Live artist performances
  • Cozy book cafes
  • Creatives and writers haven
  • Weekend picnics at Prospect Park

Park Slope’s Fifth Avenue is home to By Miriam, a Mediterranean restaurant with authentic Israeli dishes that you can get quickly for a fast meal or to take on the go.