A Day in Windsor Terrace

A wonderful family neighborhood that is no longer Brooklyn's best kept secret? Yep, you found it! Welcome to Windsor Terrace. Maybe it is true that all the hub surrounds the northern Brooklyn neighborhoods, but Windsor Terrace is a petite Brooklyn indulgence nestled between Prospect Park and Green-Wood Cemetery, two National Landmarks. Boasting impeccable history, the neighborhood was the home of three literary geniuses: Pete Hamill, Frank McCourt and Issac Asimov (he wrote his famed shorts story “Nightfall” here). Windsor Terrace was also the setting for one of the most famous films of the 1970s. Just think about the lines “Atti-ca! Atti-ca! Atti-ca!” from Dog Day Afternoon. Yes, the lines were shouted out by Al Pacino on Prospect Park West and 16th Street. 
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Prospect Park

Head over and take a morning stroll through Prospect Park. In 10 minutes you and your dog will be at the Peninsula, where your pooch can take a dip in the lake or in the Nethermead, chasing tails during off-leash hours. The landscape is a bit more majestic on the southwest side of this grand ole park. For instance, there’s the Bartel-Pritchard Square at the park entrance at the intersection of Prospect Park West and Prospect Park Southwest. The memorial’s circular roadway commemorates former residents (Emil Bartel and William Pritchard) that perished in World War I. But between two Stanford White-designed granite pillars, the architecture acts like a gateway to a vast forested getaway.

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Hamilton's

It’s hard to find a pub that serves breakfast in Brooklyn five days a week. That’s why it is Hamilton's that needs to be your first morning meal in Windsor Terrace. The bar and grill, operated by same people behind the highly-popular Alchemy bar in Park Slope, offers numerous tasty plates like the Swiss breakfast (smoked salmon, potato roti and herbed sour cream). Morning staples like brioche French toast and huevos rancheros are also delish.

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Engine 240 Firehouse

The history of the FDNY officially dates back to 1865. Windsor Terrace is home to a firehouse, tucked away at 1309 Prospect Avenue, that dates back to 1896 - the Engine 240 Firehouse. The firehouse remains one of the most indelible landmarks in the city. Named an official NYC Landmark in 2013, the firehouse is quite possibly the most fascinating structure you will ever see. The Romanesque Revival building has been preserved, and even has the original lookout tower that hails back to when fire alarms weren’t a thing.

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Grand Tour of Filming Locations

Windsor Terrace, just like its neighbors, is a movie-making magnet, so naturally, you decide to take a self-curated grand tour of filming locations. You start from the most famous film to have been shot in Windsor Terrace, "Dog Day Afternoon." The bank for the film was set at 285 Prospect Park West between 17th and 18th Street. The next is the star-studded location of “Smoke” and “Blue in the Face.” which starred Harvey Keitel and featured a life in at a smoke shop. The smoke shop was located at 209 Prospect Park West, today a Western Union. Then you make your way over to 1 Windsor Place since that’s where Helen Hunt’s character Carol lived in “As Good As It Gets.” Not that far from there, at 30 Fuller Place, film scenes for “The Amazing Spider-Man” were shot. This is also the same short block that was once the fictional home of Geena Davis’s character in “Angie.” Finally, the nearby Farrell’s Bar & Grill was featured in "Pollock.”

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The Fox & The Crepes

You’re going to need a nice pick-me-up for the morning activities. And the best Joe in town is at The Fox & The Crepes. The crepes are irresistible. The cold brew is exceptional. The decor is to die for, a classy mixture with a large motif of – you guessed it – foxes. I may have mentioned this, but the crepes are truly delectable (try “The Kermit,” a PB&J flavor; and “The McDonald,” a marshmallow, chocolate and graham cracker). But grab the Joe, and hold the crepes! Let’s save this breakfast gem for another day.

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Brancaccio's Food Shop

It’s never NOT busy at Brancaccio’s, a gourmet marketplace and foodie playground famous for their sandwiches. Brancaccio’s offers a rare chance to experience an old-school Brooklyn eatery. The setting is simple, to the point that you may end up feeling like you’re in someone’s apartment kitchen. Still, nothing is ordinary here. Owner Joe Brancaccio likes to blast 90’s hip-hop as he prepares home-style Italian eats like meatballs and sandwiches. The food is beyond amazing, including his rotisserie chicken, which tends to sell out daily.

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Kensington Stables

The large lunch may be making it hard to walk, so naturally you decide to take a horse ride around town at Kensington Stables. The stable remains a local gem, the only remaining stables near Prospect Park. Built in 1930 as part of an extension of a riding academy, the place took on many roles over the years, transforming into a roller skating rink and at one point into a bowling alley. Restored to its original use, the stables give riding lessons at The Shoe in Prospect Park.

A Night in Windsor Terrace

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Butterfunk Kitchen

The thoughts of movies and dreams of making it big on the big screen has you hungry. Butterfunk Kitchen has taken Windsor Terrace by storm for its traditional Southern chow, and you look forward to their approach to good food. The soul food eatery also features live music on the weekend nights. The owners, Chef Chris Scott and his wife Eugenie Woo, call the evening dinner service a “juke joint.” The pair have already made their lunchtime cafe next door, Brooklyn Commune, a success. Take your time as you gobble up the fried chicken and listen to the jazz bands.

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Farrell’s Bar & Grill

If there’s one bar in the neighborhood you MUST visit, then that’s undoubtedly Farrell’s Bar & Grill. The bar has been in the business since 1933, but the watering hole gained fame for being the first bar in New York City to get a liquor license after the end of the Prohibition. Farrell’s atmosphere and regulars have transformed the bar into a landmark. For many years, the place only served men, until local filmmaker and journalist Pete Hamill forced the owners to serve Shirley MacLaine in 1971 (the two were shooting Hamill's “Desperate Characters” nearby). The bar is also known for serving beer only in Styrofoam cups… until the material's citywide ban in 2015.

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Pavillon Theatre

As you may have realized by now, the nabe has a distinct film-making history. The center of it all was the Pavillon Theatre, which opened in 1928 as Sanders, and reopened as the Pavilion in 1996. The historical site nearly went the way of the condo in 2011, before the Nitehawk Cinema group took it under its wings in 2016. As the renovation progresses, the exterior and most of the interior will remain intact as the theater is a New York City Landmark. Only now the beloved theater will house seven screens (650 seats), two bars and in-theater dining.

Words by Arte Vincent

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JENNIFER RHODES
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