A Day Out in Brooklyn's Park Slope

by Stephanie Ogozalek
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New York City is more than just Manhattan. At a mere 22 square miles, Manhattan is the smallest, albeit most densely populated of our five vibrant and distinct boroughs. Next time your family has a free afternoon in the city, see where the "real" New Yorkers live. Get on the subway and venture to Brooklyn where you can check out the small but growing neighborhood on the sloping western border of Prospect Park, called Park Slope. You'll find a neighborhood full of culture, history, independent shops and restaurants, light years away from the tourists and chains of midtown Manhattan.

Reviewers:

Stephanie and her 5-year-old son, Sebastian

Why families love it:

We enjoy getting away from Manhattan's famous hustle and bustle to walk along the made-for-strolling, wide, tree-lined streets. It is a transporting experience for us, the people are friendlier, the restaurants less expensive and my son swears that the sun is brighter in Brooklyn -- he just doesn't realize that the smaller buildings here cast smaller shadows.

How to get there:

The subway is the best way to get to Park Slope. Take the downtown F from Manhattan to the 7th Avenue stop in Brooklyn. This is the heart of Park Slope. If you must drive, look for street parking and check the signs carefully so you don't get a ticket. There aren't as many parking garages in Brooklyn as there are in Manhattan.

Stephanie's Park Slope picks:

1. The Puppetworks

338 Sixth Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Puppet shows are a fun and inexpensive way to spend some family time, and Puppetworks productions are among the best New York City has to offer. This marionette theater has been delighting children and adults for 30 years with top notch adaptations of favorite fairy tales. The puppeteering here is absolutely magical. 

2. Washington Park/JJ Byrne Playground

Between 5th and 4th Avenues and 3rd and 4th streets
Brooklyn, NY 11215

After a sitting in a puppet show for an hour children usually need to get up and run. Luckily, the historic Washington Park is right up the street and is home to the J.J. Byrne playground. The well used neighborhood playground has all the usual prerequisites for a day of fun: twisty slides, swings, climbing structures, open places to run and benches for taking a break. 

3. Almondine Bakery

442 9th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Families in the know start their day at Almondine, the popular, child-friendly Parisian styled bakery/patisserie in the heart of Park Slope. Cozy, friendly and lined with brick walls, antique steam radiators and a fireplace, Almondine serves up fresh-baked breakfast items like their amazing buttery croissants (my favorite) and pain au chocolat (Sebastian's). 

4. The Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company

372 Fifth Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215

This tongue-in-cheek shop is a favorite local haunt for super heroes and civilians alike. The mini-department store sells everything needed for maintaining a secret identity and living the crime-fighting, cape-wearing, bad-guy-getting life. The capery is fun -- capes, tights and masks of every color are for sale. Buy something here and repeat the required "Super Hero Oath," which asks shoppers to create a super hero alias.

5. Two Boots Brooklyn

514 2nd Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Two Boots is a fun and funky restaurant with an "It's Mardi Gras every day" vibe, and it's a New York City staple. The colorful eatery is kid-friendly and its menu is an inspired mash-up of Italian and Cajun favorites. Kids in particular love the personal sized "pizza face" and getting their juice in a huge, glass cowboy boot. 

Stephanie Ogozalek is a freelance writer who enjoys exploring the nooks and crannies of New York City with her husband and 5-year-old son.

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