Brooklyn Broadside: The L Magazine Spotlights Its Best Blocks in Brooklyn

March 27, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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By Dennis Holt
Brooklyn Daily Eagle

BROOKLYN — How would like to be told you live on the worst block in Brooklyn? You may already think that you do, but it’s another thing for a credible Brooklyn-based magazine to say so.

It may even be grating that this pronouncement comes in a story about the 50 best blocks in Brooklyn in the current issue of The L Magazine, which is well known for such editorial exercises.

As is usual with such treatments, some flippant “bests” are included, such as the Best Block to Smoke a Joint. This turns out to be Gregory Place between Baltic and Butler streets in Park Slope. Here’s what the magazine says:

“Butler doesn’t cut through to Fifth Avenue, making this side street behind the Key Food more like a back alley, the kind where you might see joint-toking teens pass a yuppie walking his dog.”

(By the way, the worst block to live on is Park Avenue between Cumberland and Carlton because the BQE is 10 feet away from the buildings, the packed Tillary Street exit is nearby, and you hear the steady drone of Park Avenue traffic.)

But many entries are not flippant. South Portland Avenue between Lafayette and DeKalb avenues becomes the Best Block for Brownstones.

Also not flippant and quite correct is the “Most Unrecognizable-as-Brooklyn Block.” It is Hudson Avenue between Evans and Plymouth streets in Vinegar Hill. The magazine says, “North of the Farragut Houses, Hudson Avenue looks like a quaint Main Street in small-town New England with its Belgian-block street and old-fashioned storefronts.”

L Magazine has always been fascinated by Williamsburg, and well it should be. Look at its listings for that fascinating part of town: Best Example of Gentrified Ugliness, Best Example of Gentrified Perfection, Best Example for Illustrating the Multiple Stages of Gentrification, Best People Watching, Best Block for Urban Palimpsests, Best Block for Accidental Voyeurism, Best Block for Asian Food, and the Greenest Block — in terms of energy efficiency, not trees and flowers.

All told, the blocks that are listed cover 23 Brooklyn neighborhoods, and seven are mentioned more than once.

At the end, the editors nominate the five best Brooklyn blocks to live on. They are, in order, Carlton Avenue between DeKalb Avenue and Willoughby Street in Fort Greene; North Third Street between Wythe and Berry street in Williamsburg; Owl’s Head Court in Bay Ridge; Cranberry Street between Willow Street and Columbia Heights (the only Brooklyn Heights entry); and Milton Street between Manhattan Avenue and Franklin Street in Greenpoint.

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