From Park Slope to Coney Island
Letter from New York! Luise Müller discovers New York’s “Prenzlauer Berg” in Brooklyn
Feb 02, 2016
As a student, the likelihood of winding up in Brooklyn at one point – even if you don’t reside there – is high. This is where the only IKEA in New York is located. The neighborhood I live in is called “Park Slope” and it’s near the huge Prospect Park. Before I moved there I was told that Park Slope is New York’s Prenzlauer Berg.
After four months of living here, I can confirm that this comparison is on the mark! The high density of yoga studios, the many families with small children, the long-established organic grocery stores, and the trendy cafés and restaurants do indeed remind me of said district in Berlin.
Park Slope is so nice in fact that Bill de Blasio, New York’s mayor, lives here. Like many others, on days when I don’t have any classes, I often work on my dissertation at one of the cafés here. While Park Slope is residential and rather orderly Williamsburg, which is to the North, is Brooklyn’s nightlife hub.
Granted, it is somewhat hipper in Williamsburg than it is in Park Slope – the inhabitants are definitely younger and more prone to partying. But apart from all the bars, clubs, and restaurants you can also experience cultural offerings here. The Brooklyn Academy of Music, or BAM for short, is located between Williamsburg and Park Slope, for example. I will be attending a piano concert there in February.
Another local institution is Coney Island, which is on the southern boundary of Brooklyn. This ocean-side amusement park is open all summer long and offers roller coasters, shows, and fast food stands. Coney Island’s annual Hot Dog Eating Contest at Nathan’s Restaurant is legendary. The person who can eat the most hot dogs within ten minutes wins. The current record is 69 hot dogs, eaten by Joey Chestnut on July 4, 2013. Even though a direct train to Coney Island leaves from my train station, I’ve never been there. But as soon as winter is over I plan to make up for that.