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2. Best Secret Block:
In our last best blocks round-up
, we declared Bay Ridge’s stately Colonial Court the best secret block. But then we learned that Colonial Court’s back alley is sometimes called Westerly Lane—making this a side street off a side street off a side street that usually does not appear on maps. PRETTY FUCKING SECRET.
3. Best Block to Get a Sense of “Before the Grid”:
(between Richards and Dwight, Red Hook)
Anytime we go to Red Hook, we go out of our way to walk down this block, mostly because we adore the several houses set several yards from the sidewalk, which suggests they were there before Dikeman Street was.
4. Best Block with Stairs:
(between Ridge and Colonial, Bay Ridge)
In the middle of this block, the street turns into a grand stone staircase—just like Montmartre! (It’s one of two blocks in Bay Ridge where the ridge was so steep they couldn’t cut a street.) When the trees are bare, from the top you have a stirring view out toward the harbor; from the bottom, you can see the fronts of the grand old mansions that flank it.
5. Best Back Alley Block:
Most of Malbone Street, named after a grocer, was renamed Empire Boulevard after a famously deadly train accident, The Malbone Street Wreck of 1918
. All that survives is this half-block extension, now running parallel to Empire and intersecting with a crooked alley (Clove Road). Just past where the old right-field wall of Ebbets Field once was, it’s home to some drab apartments and a lot of parked cars—presumably spillover from the 71st Precinct station house on the corner of New York Avenue.