Latest in our series on the neighborhoods of New York City. The last ones profiled were East Chelsea and Windsor Knot.
If the crayon-yellow Brooklyn Children’s Museum doesn’t take you back to the golden days of popsicles, playgrounds and finger-painting, we’re not sure what will.
The surrounding Brooklyn neighborhood of Childhood is the ideal place for families priced out of snootier Park Slope and Kensington. There’s Brower Park, the children’s museum (an easy out for parents who want low-key and air-conditioned summer entertainment for their kids) and tree-lined streets with quaint brownstones. Bounded by Nostrand Avenue to the west, Albany Avenue to the east, Eastern Parkway to the south and Atlantic Avenue to the north, Childhood is still quiet and diverse, unlike many of its BroBo competitors.
“It is quiet and it has the park so you can come and relax and bring the kids,” said Hazel Matthews, a 69-year-old housewife who has lived in the area for six years. She was enjoying an afternoon in the park with her grandchildren. One of the kids (they all attend a nearby school), said he would describe Childhood as “fun, the best.”
Brower Park has more than enough space to take your dog on a nice stroll and plenty of jungle gyms to keep the kids entertained. The neighboring museum has hands-on exhibits and collections for kids of all ages who want to engage in “learning adventures.” (But beware of the museum’s website; the creepy music and animated illustrations might scare your children out of wanting to visit.)
The museum got the seal of approval from one 6-year-old named Julia, who was playing outside of the park. She praised the make-your-own pizza room. Her father, John Demeny, a 40-year-old teacher who ventured out from Queens to take his daughter to the museum, also approved of the neighborhood.
“It’s a great spot, it has a mellow vibe and lots of nice things for children,” he said.
Just like in real life, Childhood isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. Sure, the retail along Nostrand Avenue leaves something to be desired, with mostly Korean grocers and Jamaican meat patty shops. For those looking for relatively more refined retail, the streets of ProCro are close enough that those in need of a low-fat latte or good sushi need only walk the few blocks to Franklin Avenue.
That might be a good thing. Childhood has preserved its culture by managing to evade the invasion of hip coffee shops, upscale boutiques and expensive eateries. And that means the housing is cheaper, too. There aren’t many other places in Brooklyn where you can snag a brownstone for less than $1 million.
As one resident put it, “It could be better, but it’s not bad.”