Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Walk to Sunset Park

I often walk south from Park Slope to Sunset Park, the neighborhood named for the park that is on Brooklyn's highest point. I generally go for lunch at one of the Asian restaurants on 8th Avenue, though I occasionally stop in at one of the Latin American (Mexican or Ecuadorian) places on 5th Avenue. It's about a three-mile walk each way, and I convince myself that I'm at least burning off some of the calories I'm consuming. Solitary walking is also my favorite form of relaxation.

I was recently joined for the walk by an old Manhattanite friend, and I decided to bring my camera to document some of the highlights.

Before we were out of Park Slope, we stopped off at the Bagel Hole and shared one of the best bagels in the city to fortify ourselves for the walk.

Then we went west from 7th to 5th Avenue, in South Slope. Further north 5th Avenue has become quite trendy, but below 9th Street it's dominated by downscale stores (much like those of Manhattan's 14th Street of yore). And then there are the historic spots.

The Grand Prospect Hall is a lavish 19th-century reception hall on Prospect Avenue between 5th and 6th Avenues. I've never been inside, but the website has lots of photos and videos.

Eagle Provisions, at 5th Avenue & 18th Street, is a big Polish food market that has been around since the 1930s. I don't shop there often, but I love their smoked loin of pork at the deli counter.

The Green-Wood Cemetery is Brooklyn's Elysian Fields. It was established in 1838 and is the final resting place of numerous famous and infamous individuals, including Horace Greeley, Boss Tweed, Henry Ward Beecher, Joey Gallo and Leonard Bernstein. Before the development of Prospect Park it was a favorite picnic spot for Brooklynites.

McGovern Florists, across from the main entrance to the cemetery, occupies a greenhouse that dates back to the 1870s.

There may be a Ralph Kramden statue in front of the Port Authority bus terminal, but Brooklyn has the MTA's Jackie Gleason depot. It's on 5th Avenue just south of the cemetery.

I love the signs at the Rainbow Cafe, on 5th Avenue and 39th Street. It's a legacy establishment in what is mainly a new-immigrant Latino neighborhood.

Right next door is the Puebla Mini-Market. They make wonderful, humongous grilled and pressed tortas (Mexican sandwiches). The west side of Sunset Park is predominantly Mexican, almost exclusively from the state of Puebla. Unfortunately, I haven't found any restaurants or taquerias I can rave about.

The park, which runs from 41st to 44th Streets and 5th to 7th Avenues, has fantastic views across the Hudson, but since it was a cloudy, foggy day I couldn't get any decent shots.

On the east side of the park is the beginning of Brooklyn's largest Chinese neighborhood. The main commercial drag runs down 8th Avenue in the 40s and 50s.

Yun Nan Flavour Snack, a fairly new place on 49th Street, is the only place I know of in the city that serves food from China's southwestern Yunnan province.

We ended up at Nyonya, my favorite Sunset Park Asian restaurant. It's a Malaysian place that also has a branch on Grand Street in Manhattan. Pictured is a roti canai (pronounced chanai), the flaky, multilayered pancake that was introduced to Malaysia by North Indians. It's served with a little bowl of chicken curry for dipping.


Anonymous Fendergal said...

I was just at the Grand Street Nyonya on Thursday night. Had a very tasty prawn mee and some roti.

Does the Yun Nan Flavour Snack serve any of the street food found in Yunnan? I was in that part of China earlier this year, and fell in love with the fried corn cakes served by one woman in Jinghong.

Okay, I'm going to have to make a trek out there.

7:02 PM  
Blogger Peter Cherches said...

It's hard to tell what else they might have. The folks don't speak English, and only noodle soups and dumplings are listed in English. However, there are several cheap items at the top of the menu that I couldn't glean any information about. I think I need to bring a Mandarin speaker. If you have any better luck, let me know.

1:44 PM  

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