1. Best Block For Groceries
Atlantic Ave between Court and Clinton Streets, Cobble Hill
All-world market Sahadi and wonderful bakery Damascus (nearly side by side) would already count for the win, but this block also has a Trader Joe's, a Key Food, and the Green Pea Grocery.
2. Best Block For Date Night
Water Street between Main and Old Dock Streets, DUMBO
Highbrow culture at St. Ann's Warehouse or Galapagos Art Space; drinks before dinner or after at Water Street Restaurant; and fancy-ass dessert at Jacques Torres (closes at 9pm on weekends). Top off the night with a stroll through Brooklyn Bridge Park for that Woody Allen moment...
3. Best Block For Cheap Eats
Bedford Ave between N. 7th and N. 8th Streets, Williamsburg
Drunk people need food, too: Bahn mi, pizza, Cajun, old-school delicatessen... L to Bedford, turn right.
4. Best Block For Drinking
Bedford Ave between S. 2nd and S. 1st Streets, Williamsburg
Breakfast cocktails at Supercore or Dumont Burger, lunchtime craft beers at Lucky Dog, early bird happy hour at Thai joint Khao Sarn, booze specials at liquor store Bottle Shoppe and nightcap forties from the Espinal bodega. You really never have to leave the block, (we haven't).
5. Best Block For Dive Bars
Metropolitan Ave between Union and Lorimer, Williamsburg
This one was tougher than you might think. Obviously, Brooklyn is filled with hundreds of wonderful dive bars, but not many of them are on the same block: except the Subway Bar and Jr. and Son—god love 'em both.
6. Best Block For Classy Bars
Does an intersection count as a block? Yes, it does. The three corners of Berry and North 9th Streets (Williamsburg) offer Hotel Delmano's borough-topping cocktails, Cafe Colette's ease with the pastis, and unsung bistro Miranda's great wine list.
7. Best Block For Coffee
Berry Street between N. 5th and N. 6th Streets, Williamsburg
Yeah, Stumptown, we know... But Blue Bottle Coffee roasts its own, right there on the block. And it's really effing good.
8. Best Block for Old Media
N. 10th Street between Berry and Wythe, Williamsburg
Inventors of Williamsburg, VICE, came all the way from the Bifteck to hang out on the Northside. Good for them.
9. Best Block For Low-Brow Entertainment
The Boardwalk between Stillwell and 10th Streets, Coney Island
Shoot the Freak, Ruby's and Cha Cha's, two amusement parks, and a handful of places to buy greasy fries and Budweiser. You're welcome.
10.Best Block For Vice
North 4th Street between Bedford and Driggs Aves, Williamsburg
Ok, Williamsburg is clean and shiny now, but every now and then you can still spot a hooker at the corner of Driggs and N. 4th, where they used to work by the half dozen, waiting for truckers coming off the BQE heading down to the river to park. Oh, and there's also a tattoo parlor, two bars and cheese shop (gluttony!).
11. Best Block For Virtue
Fourth Avenue between 80th and 81st Streets, Bay Ridge
Whether your God is a Christian God or Jewish God, he's watching you on this block... (That's why it's best to have no god at all.)
12. Best Block For Stoop Life
Sterling Place, Prospect Heights
This could obviously have been a hundred other blocks, but in 2008, when cops tried to ticket Kimber VanRy for drinking a beer on his stoop, he just wasn't having it. And so this brave defense of stoop rights earns Sterling Place the title.
13. Best Block For Gardens
Vanderveer place between Flatbush and 23rd Street, Flatbush
Not gonna argue with the Brooklyn Botanical Garden people, here. Pretty block.
14. Best Secret Block
Colonial Court, off Harbor View Terrace, Bay Ridge
Colonial Court is a tiny dead-end side street off a side street in Bay Ridge. The rich live there (where even Google street view cannot reach).
15. Best Block For Street Festivals
Smith Street between Bergen and Dean Streets, Cobble Hill
This might piss off borough traditionalists of the Italian persuasion, but the annual Bastille Day party (brought to you largely by Bar Tabac, at the corner of Dean) is the most fun had by French people anywhere, ever.
16. Best Block For Celebrity Sightings
Front Street between Jay Street and the Manhattan Bridge, DUMBO
Jason Schwartzman, Cynthia Nixon, Jay Z, Beyonce, Spike Lee, Alexis Bledel (of the Gilmore Girls!), the entire cast of Gossip Girl, Paul Dano, Michael Pitt... These are just a few people we've recently seen near our office.
17. Best Block For Historical Significance
Montague Terrace between Remsen and Pierrepont Streets, Brooklyn Heights
It was here, way back in 1776 at the "Battle" of Brooklyn, that George Washington staged the evacuation of his army to Manhattan, allowing it to survive for another day, insuring that we'd one day drive on the right side of the road.
18. Best Block For Iconic Brownstones
Garfield Place between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, Park Slope
Yeah, there's a dozen of these that could work, but only one with a fully pink brownstone... Oh yeah.
19. Best Block For Ugly Condos
Fourth Ave between 4th and 5th Streets, Park Slope
This one was really tough, but seriously, the Novo (which takes up the whole block) is ugly enough on its own, but the other side of the street is even worse: storage, auto mechanic, cheap condo-style Hotel Bleu... It looks like a service road south of Cancun.
20. Best Block For Vintage Shopping
Grand Street between Bedford and Driggs Aves, Williamsburg
Unlike Manhattan, vintage has yet to cluster on particular blocks, but for now, Fille de Joie and Life: Curated do a pretty good job (and just a block over you have Franny and Roey). Also, see below...
21. Best Block For High-end Fashion
Grand Street between Kent Ave and Havemeyer Street, Williamsburg
Ok, you caught us, we're cheating this one time, but from the APC and Paul Smith outlets to great Brooklyn indie boutiques like Bird, Sodafine and Love Brigade, this is where you buy your clothes in Brooklyn.
22. Best Block For Gallery-Hopping
Washington Street between Water and Plymouth Streets, Dumbo
See large-scale projects by established artists and new works by emerging locals skipping between Smack Mellon's massive refurbished boiler house space, the Dumbo Arts Center's expansive loft and Rabbithole Studio's raw basement gallery.
24. Best Block For People-watching
Fulton Street and Lafayette Avenue, Fort Greene
This triangle at Lafayette and Fulton is a cross-section of Brooklyn's most diverse neighborhood—lifers, the creative class, brownstoner parents, roving packs of Brooklyn Tech and Pratt kids—thanks to the confluence of bars restaurants, residences, retail and cultural institutions along Fort Greene's busiest strips.
25. Best Block For Sidewalk Sales
Lafayette Avenue between Vanderbilt and Clermont Aves, Fort Greene
Yeah, duh, the Brooklyn Flea on Saturdays is pretty much the best "sidewalk sale" in the country, plus the spillover stoop sales all around it.
26. Best Block For Street Art
Meserole Street between Waterbury and Bogart Streets, Bushwick
This whole rather desolate section of Bushwick sports walls filled with tags and graffiti, but what really sets this block apart is a series of murals by street art stars like Gaia, PaperGirl and Clown Soldier near the corner of Waterbury, all watched over by the ROBOTS crew's "Brooklyn Griffin" sculpture peering down from the roof of the building across the street.
27. Best Block For Wildlife
Shore Parkway between Bay 44th and Bay 56th Streets, Gravesend
This big-ass block is otherwise known as Calvert Vaux Park, a south Brooklyn shoreline destination for the borough's birders.
Best Block That's Not Actually in Brooklyn
The Beach at Fort Tilden
Murray Hill is to Southampton as Bushwick is to Fort Tilden.
29. Best Block For Pretending it's the 1870s
Argyle Road between Beverley and Cortelyou Roads, Ditmas Park
Unless you can think of a more representative Ditmas Park block filled with pristine Victorian Homes...
30. Best Block For Pretending it's the 1930s
"Little" Street at the corner of Evans Street
Tucked between the outskirts of Vinegar Hill and the Navy Yard, behind wrought-iron gates, sits the Commandant's Mansion. The driveway is filled with vintage cars from the 30s and 40s and Don Corleone could walk out at any minute.
31. Best Block For Pretending it's the 1970s
Clinton Ave between Park and Flushing Aves, Brooklyn Navy Yard
Sandwiched between the still mostly inactive Brooklyn Navy Yard and the elevated portion of the BQE that separates this odd quasi-neighborhood from Clinton Hill, this strip features all your staples of derelict 70s New York streetscapes: overgrown dirt lots, a construction vehicle scrapyard, a cluster of auto-shops, a self-storage facility, and a big warehouse labeled "Bangkok Market."
32. Best Block For Books
Bedford Avenue between N. 6th and N. 7th Streets, Williamsburg
The first L stop has overtaken the NYU Library as the go-to spot for used-book vendors—and to fit in to the neighborhood, they've augmented the Penguin and Vintage paperback favorites with thumbed-through theory and weathered art books.
33. Best Block For Live Music
The City Block Encompassed by Kent, S. 1st and S. 2nd Streets, Williamsburg
Death By Audio on S. 2nd, Glasslands on Kent, Live at the Pyramids on S. 1st. Boom, all you need.
35. Best All-Purpose Block
North 6th between Berry and Wythe, Williamsburg
Pan-Asian, French or Polish food, live music, toys, records, underwear, American Apparel, furniture, computer help, one-stop grocery shopping... and bars to relax in.
36. Best Block For Home Furnishings
Wythe Ave between S. 1st and Grand Streets, Williamsburg
Williamsburg's furniture row: Cosmos, Two Jakes, and Jon Howell Antiques (Moonriver Chattel, Portmanteau and the Golden Calf are also just a block away).
37. Best Block for Halloween Decorations
Humboldt Street between Nassau and Driggs Aves, Greenpoint
Every year, like witchcraft, Greenpoint's most ghoulish Halloween display emerges from the earth in front of 648 Humboldt—Hannibal Lecter, Jason, Frankenstein, Uncle Fester and dozens more are currently on hand—infecting neighbors up and down the block with an uncontrollable thirst for similarly sinister installations.
38. Best Block For Trick-or-Treating
See above. So scary.
39. Best Block for New Media
Main Street between Water and Front Streets, Dumbo
Realtors recently re-dubbed Dumbo "Silicon Beach." Seriously. A sampling of new social networking locative buzzword emergent media companies operating in this block's behemoth office building: Digital Gravel, Fusia Communications, Red Herring Design, Lost Boys International, FreeAssociation, Domani Studios, Freeserver, Big Spaceship, The Joey Company, and so on. Also, The L, keeping it real for old media!
40. Best Block Currently Closed for Atlantic Yards Construction
Pacific Street between Fifth and Sixth Aves, Prospect Heights
It's been somewhat sparse for years, but the buildings dotting this AY-adjacent block are/were of an unusually high architectural pedigree, from the elegant brick Spalding Building at the corner of Sixth Avenue and the historical firehouse next door, to the ornate Atlantic Arts Building nearer to Fifth Avenue, all of which are coming down behind closed gates.
42. Best Block to Make You Feel Like You're Strolling by a Parisian Cemetery
23rd Street between Sixth and Seventh Aves
If you squint your eyes you can see all the way to Jim Morrison's grave. Green-Wood, our underrated treasure.
43. Best Block to Make You Feel Like You're Entering Hell
Central Avenue between Moffat and Knollwood Cemetery, Bushwick
That underpass is scary as hell. Sorry, Hell.
44. Best Block for Righting History's Wrongs
Malcolm X Boulevard between Monroe and Madison Streets
See who got the boulevard? (Slaveowners only warrant streets in this town.)
45. Best Block for Urban Detrital Discoveries (by day), Lynchian Encounters with the Unheimlich (by evening), and Profound Malaise Bordering on Fear (by night)
Meserole between Bushwick Ave and Morgan Ave
This one wrote itself.
46. Verandah Place between Clinton and Henry Streets
Whenever we pass by the tiny Ted and Honey and see the happy people outside enjoying a drink or relaxing in the park or meandering down the lane-like Verandah Place, we wonder, "Who are they, and how did they get here?" And then we are jealous.
47. Oak Street between Guernsey and Calyer, Greenpoint
This quiet little street does a cute little bend, and the house on that bend is totally amazing. We want to live there. (Also, it's just a block away from all the action on Franklin Street.)
48. Columbia Heights between
Pierrepont and Clark, Brooklyn Heights
Hard to argue with the views from the western side of this heightiest of Brooklyn Heights streets. Seriously, how do these people get anything done?
49. Argyle Road between Church and Abermarle, Ditmas Park
We asked earlier if you could name a better example of Ditmas Park Victoriana, and this block might qualify. Doesn't hurt that it's so close to the park, does it?
50. Fillmore Place between Driggs and Roebling Aves, Williamsburg
All of Williamsburg at your doorstep, while living on a pretty, quiet, non-through street.
Illustrations by Christopher Darling