Neighborhood Intel: North Park Slope, Brooklyn
Child-free Brooklynites love to complain about the Park Slope "stroller brigade" but all those moms (like the ones recently depicted in the novel "Prospect Park West") are attracted for good reason.
The North Slope's charming brownstone-lined streets; setting adjacent to Prospect Park (Brooklyn's answer to Central Park) and relatively affordable prices for everything from groceries to rental apartments are the big draws. It's not quite hipster-Brooklyn-it's short on music clubs and art spaces-but it is a picturesque and amenity-filled neighborhood with top transportation and a doable commute to Manhattan.
Here's the skinny:
Average Rental Price: $2,100 for a one-bedroom "floor through" (entire floor) of a brownstone like this one
Who Lives There: Families, couples, aging hippies, lesbians, writers. The average age is 34.
You Can't Throw a Stick Without Hitting: A coffee bar, a natural-foods store or a stroller.
Most-Loved Spots:Gorilla Coffee (And you thought Starbucks was strong), Al Di La Italian restaurant (fans include John Turturro, Stanley Tucci and The New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni), and Union Hall, a bar/music venue with bocce ball courts inside.
Local Institution:The Park Slope Food Co-op, the oldest of its kind in the country. The catch is you have to work a three-hour shift each month-and they mean it-if you want to take advantage of the cheap prices on natural and gourmet foods.
Neighborhood Eyesore:Atlantic Yards. The much-hated project originally to be designed by Frank Gehry, would bring a basketball stadium for the New Jersey Nets (go figure that one out), high-rise condos and retail. Right now it's just a big, ugly empty space.
Transportation: Many in the 'hood have cars but you don't need one with several subway lines nearby (including coveted express trains). Also, Atlantic Terminal houses the Long Island Rail Road nearby so Slopers can easily jet to the beaches in the summer.
Local Celebs: Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard, who live on Sterling Place with their toddler.
Culture Fix: Prospect Park has free concerts and events, plus the Brooklyn Academy of Music (where you can see films, plays and dance performances), The Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden are all close by.