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If you were just strolling east down this Brooklyn-y commercial block, you would be pleasantly surprised when you suddenly ran into Brooklyn College, which looks nothing like the block you’re on. When the CUNY school was awarded Most Beautiful College Campus in the country a few years back, many scoffed. But it’s precisely this radical juxtaposition that earned it such an accolade.
Best Block to Pretend It’s New England
Coffey Street, between Ferris and Conover streets, Red Hook
After Superstorm Sandy, news reports kept making Red Hook sound like some weird urban fishing village, which it’s not, really, except maybe on this block, with its charming brownstones and smaller homes with large front yards that set them back from the sidewalk. It also leads to Valentino Pier Park, whose eponymous pier is popular with actual fishermen.
Block Most Unlikely to Change
Sherman Place, between 11th Avenue and Terrace Place, Windsor Terrace
Lined with a mix of brick and limestone townhouses set back from the street, this block feels protected from any development. Strictly residential, it’s unlikely ever to undergo any changes other than the occasional new family moving in. But once they’re in? They stay. It’s that kind of place.
Best Urban Palimpsest
Plymouth Street, between Washington and Main streets, DUMBO
On one side are old Gairville warehouses, repurposed for start-ups and a (now out-of-business) restaurant; on the other, a mod Brooklyn Bridge Park playground. In the middle are belgian blocks cut through with decommissioned rails, driving over which you might spot an aughts-model sports car (as we did the other day).
Best Block to Pretend It’s Staten Island
Neptune Avenue, between Stillwell Avenue and W. 12th Street, Coney Island
A strip mall? In Brooklyn? We used to walk up here when the Luna Park Saloon was still open, but it’s been closed some years now. RIP.