Greenwood Heights, Brooklyn: Open Space and Room to Breathe

The Four Percent


Greenwood Heights is bordered by South Slope to the north, Sunset Park to the west and south, Borough Park to the south and Windsor Terrace to the east. It is generally recognized as extending to Fourth Avenue (but not all the way to the bay) on the west, the Prospect Expressway on the north and 38th Street on the south.

Besides a few fast-food places on Fourth Avenue, there are no chain stores or restaurants; there are no Citibanks or Citi Bikes. On Fifth Avenue, the main commercial thoroughfare, many of the businesses and restaurants cater to Spanish-speaking residents. Luigi’s Pizza has been serving slices and squares since 1973, and the once-prominent Polish population is represented by Jubilat Provisions, a Polish market.

Signs of modest gentrification abound in tattoo parlors, hipster bars and restaurants like Tambour Bistro & Wine Bar, on Fifth Avenue, where live jazz and blues can once again be heard by those enjoying outdoor table service. Greenwood Grape & Still, a boutique wine shop, opened in 2016 on a busy four-lane stretch of Fourth Avenue dominated by tire shops, storefront churches and bodegas.

A more tranquil stretch of urban living can be found along the leafy blocks of Sixth Avenue, with its quartet of cozy restaurants: Giuseppina’s Brick Oven Pizza, Battle Hill Tavern, Brooklyn Pub and Lot 2, a neighborhood favorite that has been serving comfort food since 2008. All four remained open for delivery and takeout during the lockdown; they are now offering alfresco dining in one of the few areas of the city where the sidewalk cafes and parking-spot patios don’t feel entirely ad hoc. Striking sunsets and unobstructed views of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty add to the appeal.

Near the northern border of the cemetery, on Seventh Avenue, is Greenwood Park, a 13,000-square-foot, indoor-outdoor beer garden with bocce courts and a seasonal menu. That part of the neighborhood, bordering the Prospect Expressway, is also home to an esplanade, a dog run and Open Source Gallery, a nonprofit arts organization.

But the main attraction is the cemetery, a verdant display of statues, monuments and mausoleums on acres of rolling hills, with ponds and some 7,000 trees. The resting place of such New York luminaries as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Leonard Bernstein, it offers wide lanes and cobbled paths for strolling, as well as Brooklyn’s highest natural elevation. The main entrance, marked by an elaborate Gothic archway, is at 25th Street and Fifth Avenue, directly across from one of the area’s best-kept secrets: Baked in Brooklyn, a commercial bakery with a small retail space offering baked goods and savory snacks.


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