Park Slope , Brooklyn, New York City
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Park Slope is a neighborhood in the western section of Brooklyn, New York City's most populous borough. Park Slope is roughly bounded by Fourth Avenue, Prospect Park West, Flatbush Avenue, and Fifteenth Street. It takes its name from its location on the western slope of neighboring Prospect Park. Seventh Avenue and Fifth Avenue are its primary commercial streets, while its east-west side streets are populated by many historic brownstones.
Park Slope is characterized by its historic buildings, top-rated restaurants, bars, and shops, as well as close access to Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Central Library (as well as the Park Slope branch) of the Brooklyn Public Library system.
The neighborhood had a population of more than 62,000 as of the 2000 census, resulting in a population density of approximately 68,000/square mile (or approximately 26,000/square kilometer) in the area bounded by Fourth Avenue, Prospect Park West, Flatbush Avenue, and Fifteenth Street.
In December 2006 Natural Home magazine named Park Slope one of America's 10 best neighborhoods based on criteria including parks, green spaces and neighborhood gathering spaces; farmer's markets and community gardens; public transportation and locally-owned businesses; and environmental and social policy. Park Slope is part of Brooklyn Community Board 6.
The area that today comprises the neighborhood of Park Slope was first inhabited by the Canarsee Native Americans. The Dutch colonized the area by the 1600s and farmed the region for more than 200 years. During the American Revolutionary War on August 27, 1776, the Park Slope area served as the backdrop for the beginning of the Battle of Long Island, also called the Battle of Brooklyn, the first pitched battle between the British and the Continental Army under the command of George Washington. In this battle, over 10,000 British Redcoats and Hessians routed outnumbered American forces at Battle Pass. What appeared as a major defeat for the colonials was actually the first of many of Washington's tactical retreats. The historic site of Battle Pass is now preserved in Prospect Park, and on Fifth Avenue there is a reconstruction of a stone farmhouse where a countercharge covered the American retreat.
In 1814, ferry service from the nearby Brooklyn Terminal linked the Park Slope and South Brooklyn region to Manhattan, a thriving business center at the time. By the 1850s, a local lawyer and railroad developer named Edwin Clarke Litchfield (1815-1885) purchased large tracts of what was then farmland. Through the American Civil War era, he sold off much of his land to residential developers. During the 1860s, the City of Brooklyn purchased his estate and adjoining property to create the famous 526 acre (2 km˛) Prospect Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.
Park Slope's bucolic period ended soon after. By the late 1870s, with horse-drawn rail cars running to the park and the ferry, bringing many rich New Yorkers in the process, urban sprawl dramatically changed the neighborhood into a streetcar suburb. Many of the large Victorian mansions on Prospect Park West, known as the Gold Coast, were built in the 1880s and 1890s to take advantage of the beautiful park views. Today, many of these buildings are preserved within the 24-block Park Slope Historic District, one of New York's largest landmarked neighborhoods. By 1883, with the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge, Park Slope continued to boom and subsequent brick and brownstone structures pushed the neighborhood's borders farther. The 1890 census showed Park Slope to be the richest community in the United States.
In 1892, President Grover Cleveland presided over the unveiling of The Soldiers and Sailors Arch at Grand Army Plaza, a notable Park Slope landmark.
The Old Stone House is a 1930 reconstruction of the Vechte-Cortelyou House which was destroyed in 1897. It is located at Fourth Avenue between Third and Fourth Streets beside the former Gowanus Creek.
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