Prospect Heights, a northwest Brooklyn neighborhood home to an abundance of green spaces, cultural diversity, quaint eateries, intriguing museums, and alluring galleries. This neighborhood strikes the perfect balance between an old historic Brooklyn and a new urban Brooklyn, which still cherishes its past.
The Brooklyn Museum, located in the heart of Prospect Heights, allows visitors to step foot into the ancient worlds of Egypt, Africa, and Europe, with stunning decorative arts, period rooms, and contemporary art on display all year-round. The museum is home to the oldest surviving African ivory engraved sculptures and a large life-size head from the figure of a guardian king of the Kamakura period in Japan, among other valuable artifacts hailing from far-off cultures and time periods. Brooklyn Museum’s wide range of programs cater to the interests of youths, teens, and adults, with gallery talks, film screenings, musical shows, art workshops, and dance performances included. The cutting-edge exhibitions and programs encompass both modern and traditional thinking with current exhibits featuring Impressionism and the Caribbean: Francisco Oller and His Transatlantic World and Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland,1861–2008.
Functioning as an urban botanic garden that connects the metropolitan population with the world of botany, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden inspires an appreciation for the well-cared for plant collection and nature located within their gates. Visitors may wander through the paths and take in the gorgeous views of many plants in bloom including tropical kokedama, Japanese forest grass, holly, nigella seedpod, snowdrops, hawthorn berries, showy goldenrod, winterberries, and narrow-leaved mountain mint. The many gardens and conservatories vary from the Rock Garden — comprised of a slope dotted with numerous boulders, providing some of the earliest signs of spring followed by a display of dazzling colors in the fall — to the Aquatic House, a paludarium with an intriguing display of treeferns, mosses, orchids, and an epiphyte-covered tree that towers over exposed rockwork, with waterfalls flowing downwards into the deep pool. The botanic garden also offers a series of engaging programs for children of all ages and adults, such as teen internships where young adults are allowed the opportunity to grasp all of the vital concepts of maintaining agriculture within the city.
Weather Up is an elegant, old-fashioned cocktail bar that brings a vintage feel to Prospect Heights. With eight specialty cocktails on the menu plus an additional bartender’s choice of drink that changes each week, Weather Up fully believes in the saying ‘Less is more.’ Sazeracs are tangy flavored and garnished with a large orange rind, while the dark liquor is decorated with rocks of sugared ginger. The bar itself is dimly lit and mysterious with hanging box-shaped lamps on the tiled ceiling, oval mirrors lining the brick walls, and cozy booths as well as tables for larger groups. Dinner options include crispy fried fingerling potatoes, pan-seared gnocchi, wild mushroom and potato crepes, smoked white fish paté, and meat and cheese platters for those with a refined palate.
The New York Transit Museum is the ultimate homage to New York City culture, serving as a gallery of historical artifacts related to the New York City Subway, bus, commuter rail, and bridge and tunnel systems under the administration of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. By exploring the inner workings of transit past and present, learning about the landmarks of Lower Manhattan, and hopping in a vintage car for a nostalgia ride, visitors are able to appreciate firsthand one of the world’s greatest mass transportation systems. With the winter season, the New York Transit Museum brings exciting new exhibitions including Bringing Back the City: Mass Transit Responds to Crisis, which features a refreshing new perspective on the unseen work of New York’s transit employees, revealing the critical role that the mass transit workers play in preparing for and responding to natural and man-made disasters with photographs, media, and personal accounts.
The Way Station doubles as both a bar and lively music venue that appeals to fans of all kinds of musical genres, including Americana, folk, N’awlins jazz, blues, R&B, soul, indie rock, Latin, country, bluegrass, and Alt-Indian. The venue hosts live music five nights a week with three or four bands performing each night. The Way Station also holds a rather interesting reputation as being a haven for nerds — every Sunday of the month is dedicated to nerd culture and features screenings of sci-fi and fantasy movies, Doctor Who episodes, geeky bands, and Nerdeoke. Famous for their seasonal cocktails, the full service bar offers specially mixed drinks such as the Captain Jack, 9th Doctor, and River Red’s Setting and libations such as Mr. Pink, Shirley Temple of Doom, and the Golden Snitch Margarita during the chilly months.
Perhaps known to be one of New York City’s greatest green expanses, Prospect Park is never lacking in places to visit and activities to partake in no matter what season it may be. Allowing visitors the opportunity to host barbecues and picnics, as well as offering ample space for sports and nature programs, the park remains one of Brooklyn’s most frequented locations by tourists and locals alike. Within the vast site are many significant features such as the Prospect Park Audubon Center, which engages visitors in free public programming so that they are able to explore the diversity of nature surrounding them, a carousel, and the LeFrak Center at Lakeside, which allows visitors to enjoy seasonal ice skating, roller skating, biking, boating and water play. Allowing visitors to step foot into a time machine zooming back a few centuries, the Lefferts Historic House functions on the park grounds as a relic of the 18th-century farming village of Flatbush. The house tour includes a quaint garden, artifacts, period rooms and exhibits while offering hands-on interaction with traditional tools, toys and games, and activities such as candle making, sewing and butter churning.
Looking for a no-frills quick bite to eat, but craving an exotic twist to satiate your hunger? Zaytoons, with its freshly made, authentic Middle Eastern fare, is the spot for you! The eatery caters to both your aesthetic desires and palate preferences, by allowing diners access to enjoy their meals in a dainty backyard garden with a choice of beer or wine to wash down the flavors. With awards from The New York Times, City Search, Yahoo, Zagat Rated, and Yelp, Zaytoon’s sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, and kebab platters are insanely well priced. House specials include the kibbeh platter, which combines Lebanese-style spiced ground mixture of beef, lamb and bulgur wheat with lamb onions and pine nuts, as well as the delectable oven roasted chicken seasoned with Mediterranean herb & spices, drizzled with golden brown almonds on a bed of rice and a side of garlic paste.
Marked by a monumental structure comprised of concentric oval rings arranged as streets with the outer ring being the namesake Plaza Street, Grand Army Plaza displays the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch, Bailey Fountain, and the John F. Kennedy Monument, alongside statues of Civil War generals Gouverneur K. Warren and Henry Warner Slocum, busts of notable Brooklyn citizens Alexander J.C. Skene and Henry W. Maxwell, plus two 12-sided gazebos with granite Tuscan columns. Founded in 1989, Grand Army Plaza is known for its Greenmarket’s flagship Brooklyn market, which happens to be the second largest market in the program with locations sprinkled all across New York City. Located at the northwest entrance to Prospect Park, the market of fresh produce draws shoppers primarily hailing from nearby Brooklyn neighborhoods including Park Slope, Prospect Heights, and Crown Heights during every Saturday of the year. The stalls, which sell their goods year-round, vary from turkey from Mercer County, New Jersey to maple syrup, sorgum syrup, chicken and vegetables from Schoharie County, New York.
Catering to bookworms, literature lovers, and research fanatics, Brooklyn Public Library serves the borough with countless public programs, millions of books, and access to more than 1,100 Internet-accessible computers. Besides being the ideal study spot and a quiet place to relax, the library has also built a special local history division, which offers a database of information regarding Brooklyn, supported by research materials and archival documents, including maps, historic Brooklyn photographs, ephemera, and prints. Brooklyn’s historic newspaper, photographs, manuscripts, trade cards, sheet music and neighborhood histories are also available digitally. The library offers many innovative systems for those who which to peruse, such as BookMatch, which creates a customized reading list according to the visitor’s literary interests, a Caribbean literature and cultural center, adult literacy services, plus résumé and career help.
Everybody loves a good bakeshop brimming with pastries, cakes, brownies, and cupcakes to leave your sweet tooth craving more. Joyce Bakeshop, nestled between Park Place and Prospect Place on Vanderbilt Avenue, welcomes visitors in with tantalizing aromas and a cozy seating area. The breakfast options are endless with chocolate croissants, scones, homemade granola, and homemade hot oatmeal as well as tea cakes of all varieties, including almond cakes, pistachio bites, and canelles. For those who aren’t fond of the sugar high but adore baked goods, Joyce Bakeshop also sells mouthwatering cheese straws, soup du jour, ham and cheese croissants, and croque monsieurs on the weekends. Whoopie pies, French macarons, raspberry bars, strawberry mousse cakes, and red velvet cupcakes are also offered on the menu, among numerous other delicacies.