Prospect Heights, the (once) quiet, neighborhood defined by landmark brownstone blocks and family businesses, is ready for its close-up. The Barclays Center, home to the Brooklyn Nets, brings hype and business to the neighborhood’s southern edge. But, despite the big names about to light up the marquee, this is still a mellow hood with lovely parks, cafes and plenty of low-key family fun.
Underhill Playground, equipped with swings, sprinklers and two-jungle gyms, looks like any other playground. Until you notice all the scooters, riding toys, bikes and other play things too big for most apartments left by parents for all neighborhood kids to use. Story hours, special programs and stacks of favorite kid titles makes the stunning Art Deco Brooklyn Central Library a great indoor alternative. Get over the mid-morning slump by gathering for weekday sing-alongs, art projects and story times at Dean Street Café, and stick around for lunch.
Escape to a Japanese Garden (complete with hidden Shinto shrine), dig for worms in the Children’s Garden or walk through desert hot houses at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, free on Tuesdays. From mummies to modern art, the massive collection and important exhibits at The Brooklyn Museum will amuse art lovers of any age. Check out Target First Saturdays, featuring free art and music. Discounted Brooklyn Art and Garden tickets are available at the museum.
Jump start your adventure with powerful Stumptown brew for you and a babychino for the kiddos at Sit&Wonder, or fuel up at Joyce Bakeshop with fresh baked goodies and coffee. R&D spins delicious takes on classic lunch (deconstructed chicken salad, cold egg sandwich), and dinner (a family style dinner on Sundays) menus, plus—house-made doughnuts daily. Milk Bar is a casual spot for breakfast, lunch or an afternoon snack, and hit cozy Bar Corvo for Northern Italian pastas and hearty main dishes. Be sure to save room for Brooklyn made ice cream at Ample Hills Creamery—there’s even a play space for the kids while you wait in line (which, by the way, is worth it).
For them: new toys and gently worn re-sale clothes make up the collection at Livie & Boo. For you: a well edited and reasonably priced selection of women’s clothes, shoes and accessories at O.N.A. (593A Vanderbilt Ave., between St Marks Ave. and Dean St.). For everyone: funky gifts, toys and handmade trinkets at Park Delicatessen.
Get there: The 7th Avenue stop on the Q, and either Grand Army Plaza or Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum stop on the 2/3.
The zone: Eastern Parkway to the south, Atlantic Avenue on the north, Flatbush Avenue on the west and Classon Avenue to the east.
— Laura House