The tiny, comma-shaped neighborhood of Windsor Terrace is bookended between two of Brooklyn’s largest green spaces, Prospect Park and the massive Green-Wood cemetery. Aside from the presence of the Prospect Park Expressway, which dissects the neighborhood in two, this residential community offers a suburban sensibility with its tree-lined streets, low volume traffic and the low height character of its streetscape.
Many homes in the area are low to the ground, lending a suburban feel to the neighborhood, and the area has been down-zoned to maintain its low-rise appeal and character. There are plentiful brick row houses that have very low turnover. If you are lucky enough to buy or rent one, you tend to hold on to it. There are also small apartment buildings, private homes, condos and multi-family homes in a wide price range
There is commercial development along Prospect Park West, Fort Hamilton Parkway and Prospect Avenue, but even these new stores and restaurants are mostly family-owned and operated, maintaining the small-town charm. The pace of life is slower. The schools are good, which is a big draw for families with young children. The people are friendly, which gives a real sense of neighborhood and community to Windsor Terrace.
Green-Wood Cemetery. Founded in 1838, this historic cemetery is a beautiful place for a peaceful stroll at any time of year. It is filled with interesting architecture, water features, landscaping and of course the gravesites of some of the historical characters that are New York its flavor. There are trolley tours, guided tours and self-guided tours where you can walk the cemetery using a complimentary guide book and map. Admission is free. Don’t get lost, the grounds stretch for some 478 acres. Richard M. Upjohn’s massive Gothic Revival gate at the main entrance was built between 1861 and 1865, and has been a NYC landmark since 1966. The highest point in Brooklyn, Battle Hill, is located within the cemetery, as well. Located 219 feet above sea level, it was the site of the Battle of Long Island on August 27, 1776. The cemetery contains the gravesites of Leonard Bernstein, Samuel Morse, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Elias Howe, Duncan Phyfe, and many other famous people. Main Entrance at Fifth Avenue and 25th Street.
Dub Pies. Craving pie? Drop by Dub’s and try a savory New Zealand meat pie and a flat white - what passes for a latte in New Zealand. For dessert? You guessed it - more pie, but a sweet one this time! Located at 211 Prospect Park West.
Terrace Books. An independent bookstore, well that’s a novelty, that offers a gathering place for local writers and readers as well as collection of used rare books for collectors. After filling yourself with a bit of tasty pie at Dub Pies, wander down Prospect Park West and stop into this tiny, narrow shop, lined with books, and find yourself a collectible treasure. Located at 242 Prospect Park West.
Bartel-Pritchard Square. Yes, this square is really a circle! It was named to honor two area residents who died in combat in WW I. Originally, the center of the circle was planted with flowers. In 1965, a black granite monument was installed to honor all those area residents who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. There is an entrance to Prospect Park right behind the Bartel-Pritchard Square, that consists of two granite pillars with acanthus leaves and lanterns on top. They were designed by Stanford White. Located at the intersection of Prospect Park West, 15th Street and Prospect Park Southwest.
Farrell’s Bar & Grill. One of the anchors of this small community, continuously in operation since 1933, it has been a long-time hangout for the local police and firefighters. It was one of the first bars in the City to get a liquor license after Prohibition ended. It has been used as the bar backdrop in many films. Farrell’s Bar & Grill was one of the last male holdouts in the city, not allowing female patrons to drink at the bar until 1972, when actress Shirley MacLaine stormed the door with her boyfriend and demanded to be served at the bar. Traditionally, women had to congregate at the rear of the venerated establishment. Incidentally, the bar is the only place to drink, as there is no table service. The only food you will ever be served, in spite of what the sign says about there being a grill somewhere on the premises, is a corned beef sandwich, if you happen to visit on St. Patrick’s Day. Located at 16th Street and Prospect Park West.
What You Might See
People on horseback! Windsor Terrace is the home to Kensington Stables, located at 51 Caton Place, the last surviving stable in the area. It is not uncommon to see a group of people on horses headed over to Prospect Park for a scenic trail ride. The stables date back to the early 1900s, when there were many stables in the area. You can get riding lessons, too.
What’s In The Future
In 2009, Windsor Terrace went through “down-zoning” to preserve the neighborhood’s low-rise character by prohibiting the construction of high-rise condo buildings. Some mid-rise buildings have been constructed close to Prospect Park in the past few years, so although growth in the area is slow, it is occurring. There is some commercial development along Fort Hamilton Parkway.
A block-through development is in the works on Caton Place, just steps away from Prospect Park. Demolition of the existing office building and warehouse are underway. A 9-story mixed-use building is planned for the site
What You Might Not Know
McDonald Avenue, which runs along one side of the Green-Wood Cemetery, was once named Gravesend Avenue, quite appropriately.
Although it appears that Prospect Avenue and Seeley Street intersect on most street maps of the neighborhood, they have never actually touched. The middle part of Brooklyn lies atop glacial moraine, which has resulted in steep hills. This moraine is very difficult to remove or tunnel through, so when Prospect Avenue and Seeley Street were planned for the area, right at an area with a moraine outcropping, it seemed like the easiest course was to create a bridge of Seeley Street over top of Prospect Avenue. These types of “bridge over” street patterns are quite common in the Bronx, but are quite rare here in Brooklyn. There is a steep staircase that allows pedestrians to climb from Prospect Avenue up to Seeley Street.
There is a unique relationship between the Altar to Liberty: Minerva statue that sits atop the highest point in Brooklyn, Battle Hill, in the historic Green-Wood Cemetery and the 151-foot-tall Statue of Liberty. The 9-foot-tall statue of Minerva locks gazes with and raises her left hand in salute to the Statue of Liberty, who raises her right hand and torch in return, 3.5 miles away across the New York Harbor. With the differing elevations and relative heights of the statues, their eyes are in a direct lock.
What We Love
The culturally diverse dining on Prospect Avenue, a few decent bars for a dash of nightlife, quiet and quaint tree-lined streets, the brick row houses that characterize the neighborhood, scenic streets like Sherman Street, with its unique brick homes sporting columned porches, and the lack of through streets that tend to isolate the neighborhood from surrounding areas all combine to make Windsor Terrace a peaceful place to live, a perfect neighborhood to raise a family, or a haven for couples seeking a quieter lifestyle.