Park Slope tour
Brooklyn's celebrated (+ sniped at) neighborhood, with fine architecture, near a great park.
Yes, Brooklyn 101 provides an introduction to Park Slope, but it's well worth a full 2.5 hours. I lived for some 17 years in the neighborhood, and volunteered for numerous Park Slope House Tours.
I know why some people mock Park Slope, and I know why it consistently wins honors, such as New York magazine's designation as the city's "best" neighborhood, and why it has become increasingly unaffordable. It is currently home to both (former) Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York's senior Senator, Chuck Schumer.
The tour expands on Brooklyn 101 for a more extensive look at the western and southern parts of Park Slope, including blocks known for Victorian-era architecture. We meet in the area of Brooklyn's magnificent Grand Army Plaza, the psychic center of Brooklyn.
We can make a more extensive visit to Prospect Park, and even dip into the adjacent (small but interesting) neighborhood of Prospect Heights.
The tour includes a visit to Park Slope's main shopping street, Seventh Avenue, then the new Restaurant Row and snacking/shopping district on Fifth Avenue, a far more diverse and vibrant area. We even visit the Fourth Avenue corridor, home to new development, some thoughtful, much not.
We will continue south to the historically more working-class South Slope, walking past an old clock factory since turned into housing and streets evoked by the writer Pete Hamill. And we can dip into adjacent Windsor Terrace.
We can also do the walk "backwards": starting in the South Slope or Windsor Terrace, or making our way north.
Another option can include a walk west toward the Gowanus Canal and the "emerging" (and contested) Gowanus neighborhood, home to new businesses and development projects on previously industrial/commercial blocks, all near a canal with a rather un-salubrious reputation.
Distance from Midtown Manhattan: 25-35 minutes by subway
Basic tour length: 2.5 hours (see fees)
Starting place: Typically North Slope, but can be customized (to South Slope, etc.) based on your location or travel plans
Ending place: Varies, depending on starting place
Highlights: History, architecture, parks, civic life
Option before/during/after tour: Many places to snack/eat
Potential tour extensions with me: Fort Greene/Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, Atlantic Avenue, Prospect Heights
Why I like leading this tour: My old neighborhood (!), which is large enough for a great mix of blocks, shopping streets, quirks, and history.