Tucked between Prospect Park and Greenwood Cemetery is a longtime Brooklyn secret: Windsor Terrace. “It’s always been a place not too many people know about,” says Joe Longobardi, who moved to the neighborhood over 30 years ago to raise a family. Skyrocketing rents have pushed some former Park Slopers into the area, where real estate prices have shown less-drastic increases. Unlike the Slope, Windsor Terrace is neither sleek nor pretentious—and that’s the way most of its residents like it. Heather Musil, a Web developer who left her “cramped” East Village apartment for Windsor Terrace, says she prefers living here because “it’s more like a neighborhood.” Once primarily made up of Irish working class, Windsor Terrace now attracts all types looking for affordability, quiet streets, easy access to transportation, and a friendly, small-town feel.
Boundaries: Only nine blocks wide, the area has borders at Prospect Park West to the north, Caton Avenue to the south, McDonald Avenue to the west, and Prospect Park Southwest to the east.
Transportation: Bus options are plentiful: the B69 and
B75 run on Prospect Park West; the B68, on Prospect Park Southwest; the B67, on McDonald Avenue; and the B16, on Caton Avenue. The F train stops at 15th Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway; it’s approximately 40 minutes to Times Square during rush hour.
Main Drag: Stroll the red brick sidewalks of Prospect Park West past the Roman Catholic church (built in 1878), and you’ll find the neighborhood’s grocers, delis, and shops. There’s no Starbucks yet, but in the last few years several Park Slope-esque additions have slipped under the blue-collar radar such as a sushi restaurant, a cell phone shop, a Connecticut Muffin (206 PPW), and an all-organic grocer with juice bar. Prospect Park West at Bartel-Pritchard Square is home to the multiplex Pavilion Theater (188 PPW). It’s also the street where Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson kiss in As Good As It Gets (corner of Prospect Avenue and PPW) and where Al Pacino holds up a bank (now condos) in Dog Day Afternoon.
Average Price to Rent: Studio, $900 to 1100; one-bedroom, $1000 to $1400; two-bedroom, $1400 to $2000; three-bedroom, $1500 to $2200.
Average Price to Buy: In the last five years, prices have doubled; a two-family house can go for $450,000 up to $1 million.
Local Shop: Jeff Bloch, of Jeff Bloch’s Amp and Guitar Wellness Center (1700 Tenth Avenue), buys and sells top-quality equipment and says he can fix anything (he’s done repairs for Jimi Hendrix and KISS—enough said). In business for almost 40 years (four in
Windsor Terrace), the shop also offers guitar clinics, tons of accessories, and plenty of rock ’n’ roll war stories if you have the time (ampandguitar.com).
Green Space: From the Ruddy Duck to the Northern Shoveler, the migrating birds that stop at Prospect Lake make it a magnet for birdwatchers. The 60-acre lake is also recommended for catching fish or the odd turtle. Visit Kensington Stables (51 Caton Place) to relive the bygone days of Brooklyn with an hour-long trail ride through Prospect Park ($25).
Happenings: Given the neighborhood’s proximity to the Prospect Park Bandshell, many residents take advantage of the summer-long “Celebrate Brooklyn!” performing-arts festival (celebratebrooklyn.org). This year’s schedule featured concerts by Belle and Sebastian,
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, and Café Tacuba.
Best Restaurants: Locals swear by Terrace Bagels &
Café (222A & 224 PPW) for its soft, hand-rolled bagels and hearty sandwiches. Other good bets include Elora’s (272 PPW) for its margarita happy hour, Laura’s Gourmet Kitchen (1235 Prospect Avenue) for brick-oven pizza, and the 16th Street Gourmet shop (212 PPW) for
Local Watering Holes: Don’t be intimidated by the line of heavies at the bar, Farrell’s (215 PPW) is friendly to all of its neighbors. But it wasn’t always that way. Opened in 1933, Farrell’s was for men only until the 1970s. (Legend has it that the first woman to demand and win entrance was Shirley MacLaine.) When you go, ask for the “Farrellizer,” a 32-ounce Styrofoam container of Budweiser for $3.75. Try Rhythm & Booze (1674 Tenth Avenue) if you prefer hot wings with your beer.
Famous Residents: Authors Pete Hamill (Snow in August) and Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes) have lived here.
Politicians: Councilmember Bill de Blasio, Assemblyman James F. Brennan, State Senator Seymour P. Lachman, and Congressman Major R. Owens—all Democrats.
Crime Stats: The 72nd Precinct serves Windsor Terrace and Sunset Park. As of August 24, it reported 1 murder, down 3 from last year; 13 rapes, down 3; 219 robberies, up 20; 302 burglaries, up 30; and 176 felonious assaults, up 5.