Windsor Terrace: A great staycation neighborhood
Eye on Real Estate: Take a tree-lined stroll
If you’re staycationing in Brooklyn, there’s a neighborhood to visit that you might not have thought of: Windsor Terrace.
It’s tucked between Prospect Park and Green-Wood Cemetery. So if you’re going to the park’s BRIC Celebrate! Brooklyn Festival, a stroll around Windsor Terrace’s tree-lined streets is an fun preliminary activity.
This is the 41st season of the free outdoor concerts at the Prospect Park Bandshell. BRIC is an arts incubator and presenter of free cultural programming.
If it’s not a concert night at Prospect Park, you can combine your Windsor Terrace stroll with a movie at Nitehawk Cinema. The theater is at 188 Prospect Park West, just steps away from the edge of Windsor Terrace.
People love this landmarked movie house because:
A. You can drink and eat excellent food that you order from your theater seat while you watch the film.
B. There had been a theater on this spot since the 1920s. Then a couple years ago, developer Hidrock Realty decided to build condos on the property with just a small movie theater.
There were widespread objections to the condo design. The developer changed course and sold the building to investors connected to Nitehawk, which already operated a popular drink-and-dine movie theater in Williamsburg.
Lovely limestone in the summer sun
A good place to start a walk around Windsor Terrace is outside the F train’s 15th Street-Prospect Park Station. This puts you at the corner of Prospect Park West and Prospect Park Southwest, where a pair of eye-catching tall columns marks the entrance to the park.
There’s something else here that might confuse you if you see it on a map before you arrive — a circle that’s a square. When you’re actually standing here, it makes perfect sense.
Across from Prospect Park there’s a traffic circle lined with handsome old-fashioned apartment buildings with curving facades. A small piece of land in the middle of the traffic circle has a World War I memorial called Bartel-Pritchard Square.
The square commemorates two Brooklyn soldiers who fought and died in that war: Emil Bartel, who’d lived on nearby Windsor Place, and his friend William Pritchard from Bushwick.
So. Let’s start walking already.
When you head down Prospect Park Southwest, there’s all kinds of architectural eye candy.
The great visuals start with limestone rowhouses with angled facades. They are adorned with elaborate decoration on the stonework above their windows and front doors.
On the other side of the street, Prospect Park’s tall trees and lush foliage brighten the scenery.
Further along, there’s an especially charming home at 85 Prospect Park Southwest. The old-fashioned shingled house is painted green and has window shutters, a mansard roof and a weather vane.
There are numerous interesting turns you can take off Prospect Park Southwest.
Whichever direction you go, you’ll find houses with nifty porches, some glassed-in and some open-air.
Pretty porches are a feature on two single-block streets called Howard Place and Fuller Place that run parallel to each other between Windsor Place and Prospect Avenue.
In “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, a house on Fuller Place served as Peter Parker and Aunt May’s home, the website Movie-Locations.com reported.
Please don’t email me to tell me they lived in Queens. I know they did. The filmmakers used a Brooklyn location to depict that other borough.
A landmarked fire house
Another street where the rowhouses are particularly beautiful is Windsor Place.
And on Seeley Street, some homeowners have turned their front yards into picturesque mini-meadows of wildflowers.
Now let’s detour into the 19th century for a minute.
Lots were laid out and some streets were built in Windsor Terrace in the early 1850s, but neighborhood development got off to a slow start, a city Landmarks Preservation Commission report indicates.
Irish immigrants arrived after the Civil War. By 1890, there were about 150 houses in the neighborhood.
Rowhouses were built in the early 1900s. Developer William Calder constructed and sold 700 of them in a 17-year span, the LPC report says.
The report’s main focus is the Engine Company 240/Battalion 48 Firehouse.
Danish-born architect Peter J. Lauritzen designed this Romanesque Revival-style FDNY treasure at 1307-1309 Prospect Ave. It was built in 1895. It’s an individual city landmark.
One vantage point from which you can see the firehouse is a pedestrian bridge you enter at the corner of Prospect and Greenwood avenues. The footbridge hangs over the Prospect Expressway, which split Windsor Terrace into two parts when it was built in the 1950s.
A bronze sculpture of Liberty
Pedestrian bridges are such a novelty to me. This one’s got interesting stuff on both ends of it.
For instance, the ramp on the other side of the footbridge leads to the corner of Greenwood Avenue and East 5th Street. There, at the edge of Greenwood Playground, there’s a monument to 47 soldiers and sailors from the neighborhood who died while serving in World War I.
It’s a bronze relief sculpture of Liberty placing a palm frond — which symbolizes peace — on an altar.
An inscription on the altar says, “They gave their lives in the cause of Freedom.”
The artist who made the sculpture was Charles Keck. His best-known New York City work is the statue of Father Duffy beside the TKTS discount theater-tickets booth in Times Square.
On another corner of Greenwood Avenue and East 5th Street, there’s an ice cream stand that makes slushies out of the Italian ices that are on its menu. They’re staggeringly good. The shop is called Kathy’s Gourmet Italian Ices and Ice Cream.
It takes a really large serving of Italian ice to make a slushie, in case you were wondering.
An Instagram-worthy pedestrian overpass
There are so many beautiful blocks in this area.
After you weave your way around to the part of the neighborhood where the streets don’t have “East” in their names — which is on the other side of Vanderbilt Street — you’ll find another Prospect Expressway pedestrian bridge. Its entrance is at 10th Avenue and 19th Street.
This photogenic footbridge is enclosed with a semicircle of wire mesh. It’s like you’re walking through a tunnel, but up in the air.
When you get to the other side, on Tenth Avenue and 18th Street, the wire enclosure casts an abstract pattern of shadows on the sidewalk.
Speaking of photogenic, the brick rowhouses on nearby 17th Street are eye-pleasing.
At this point, you’re on the north end of the neighborhood — near Prospect Park West, where there are bars and restaurants for a bite to eat before the BRIC Celebrate! Brooklyn Festival.
If you stroll in the opposite direction and wind up on the south end of Windsor Terrace, there are fun spots to eat on Fort Hamilton Parkway.
There’s also some great housing to see — for instance distinctive red-brick rowhouses on Caton Avenue, which is Windsor Terrace’s southern border.
The homeowners on the corner of Caton Avenue and East 4th Street display a small cannon on their lawn that commemorates the Battle of Brooklyn.
Caton Avenue was a roadway called Martense Lane during the Revolutionary War. Hessian troops marched on it on their way to the battle.
Follow reporter Lore Croghan on Twitter.
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