632 Flatbush Ave., Prospect Lefferts Gardens
Two locations strong—the original is in Fort Greene and the second outpost is in Prospect Lefferts Gardens—Greenlight is one of NYC’s few remaining quality indie bookstores. You can order books online and have them shipped to you (anywhere in the US) or do a pickup in store. The First Editions Club makes a nice gift; it’s a subscription service that gets a friend (or yourself) a new, autographed book each month. It costs a penny, plus the price of the book for each month you stay in the program. If you’re local and a big reader, check out the stellar lineup of readings or Greenlight’s monthly book group nights, broken down by genre: nonfiction, fiction, young readers, and romance.
657 Washington Ave., Prospect Heights
This unpretentious neighborhood joint zeros in on comfort food—meatloaf, chicken cutlets, patty melts, stove-top mac ’n’ cheese. Brunch is epic, too, with its frito migas and an everything bagel babka. (This is New York, after all.) Together, co-owners Libby Willis and Bill Clark, who first worked together at Brooklyn vegan bakery Ovenly, have gone out of their way to create a warm and welcoming space geared toward the LGBTQ+ community, but it’s the kind of spot where you want to hang out no matter your sexual orientation. MeMe’s is named for Clark's grandmother, and the entire space has an all-in-the-family vibe: The leather banquettes were designed by Willis’s brother, who lives in the Hudson Valley, and the quirky oil paintings were done by her grandfather. Photos: Noah Fecks
1301 Prospect Ave., Prospet Heights
This impossibly lovely, holistic spa-grocery-apothecary is serious about skin—and offers some of the most exquisite—and effective—complexion-perfecting treatments: The Integrative Therapy for Biome Rehabilitation balances the skin’s ecosystem with a probiotic mask, facial point stimulation, blue-light therapy, and more, while the Integrative Therapy for Reducing Redness and Reactivity incorporates infrared phototherapy and fascia lymphatic manipulation to soothe inflamed skin. If you’re not too blissfully relaxed post treatment, peruse the storefront, which stocks everything beautiful, organic, and small-batch you could ever want—local honey, health-supporting herbal teas (their chrysanthemum-infused Rest & Digest blend is next-level), the crispiest apples, and the brand’s own skincare line that’s hand-crafted in house. There's a second location in Red Hook.
Cook Space Brooklyn
603 Bergen St., Prospect Heights
New York City—a metropolis obsessed with eating—isn't short on restaurants, but Cook Space offers a totally novel, modern alternative to the classic dinner out. This multifunctional space in Brooklyn's Prospect Heights hosts cooking classes, catering opportunities, workshops, and even classes for kiddos. Whether you're an accomplished home cook or a newbie in the kitchen, the roster has a little bit of something for everyone: paleo, Ayurvedic, and Whole 30 classes, alongside New Orleans cuisine, classic Thai, or even vegan for carnivores—the list goes on. The best part? The lesson ends with a meal in the loftlike dining room.
Prospect Park Zoo
450 Flatbush Ave., Prospect Park
The Prospect Park Zoo is one of those kid-centric activities that parents really get a kick out of, too. The residents of the beautiful and meticulously cared-for enclosures run the gamut from tamarins and baboons to otters and sea lions—and so many more. Many of the exhibits are interactive, so kids pick up a lot of educational stuff without even realizing it. The week-long summer camps are a dream come true for budding zoologists.
659 Vanderbilt Ave., Prospect Heights
Olmsted, which opened last summer on an unassuming block of Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights, is one of those restaurants that people talk about months after visiting. (GP says she had her best meal of 2016 here). Chef Greg Baxtrom (formerly of Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Alinea), teamed up with horticulturist Ian Rothman to create a veggie-centric menu (there’s even a 25-seat garden out back) of kale-and-crab rangoon, charred onion chawanmushi, and a sweet pea falafel that is wonderfully light. There’s a solid selection of wines under $40 a bottle, too. When the check arrives, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how full-in-a-good-way you feel, and how reasonably priced it is. Photos: Evan Sung
Designed in the late 1800's by the same duo behind Manhattan's Central Park (Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux), Prospect Park, although not quite as large, is still massive at 580-plus acres, spanning multiple neighborhoods in Brooklyn, and offering plenty of outdoor fun. If you want to picnic and chill, head to Long Meadow near the top of the park (you can enter at the Grand Army Plaza or one of the openings along Prospect Park West)—which is touted as the longest green stretch in any U.S. park, at nearly a mile long. South of Long Meadow is the Ravine, an expansive woodland and waterway landscape. Further east, there's the Prospect Park Zoo and carousel. Water activities (including Prospect Park's Splash Pad) are housed at Le Frak Center at Lakeside near the southeast corner of the park. Also nearby, check out Drummer's Grove.
Ample Hills Creamery
623 Vanderbilt Ave., Prospect Heights
The specialty here is handcrafted ice cream and sorbet done in small batches—made extra-delicious by the fact that Ample Hills gets its cream and eggs from local farms upstate for the freshest (and most sustainable) product possible. Offering 24 flavors that change with the seasons, they also do really delicious and beautiful custom ice cream cakes. This fall, the creamery is offering a trio of Roald Dahl-inspired flavors (Mr. Fox’s Scrumdiddlyumptious Crunchy Cider Caramel Cream, Nonna D’s Oatmeal Lace, and Sweet as Honey) which you can get in-shop or shipped right to your door .
589 Vanderbilt Ave., Prospect Heights
White subway tiles, a relaxed bar, and great music sum up this bar in Prospect Heights, worth traveling to for a drink (or many). Another bonus? You can still hear yourself speak. To make a night of it, grab dinner at The Vanderbilt, a very solid, lively restaurant across the street. There's another outpost in Tribeca.
Parkside & Ocean Ave. Entrance, Prospect Park, Lefferts Garden
The Congo Square Drummers started gathering in Prospect Park informally in 1968, and it's been going every since: You can still catch this drum circle every Sunday, from April through October, 2pm to dusk. It's particularly fun for kids.
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