Neighborhood: Borough Park, Brooklyn
Population Density: 140,093 people; population density 67,659 people per square mile (Brooklyn: 34,917 people per square mile)
Adjacent Neighborhoods: Dyker Heights, Kensington, Bensonhurst, Sunset Park, Bay Ridge, Midwood, Gravesend
Public Transit: D at 9 Av, Fort Hamilton Pkwy, 50 St, 55 St, and 62 St. N at Fort Hamilton Pkwy (different stop than the D) and New Utrecht Av. F/G at Church Ave. F at Ditmas Av and 18 Av.
What’s Here?: Borough Park (or, informally, Boro Park) is a largely Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish neighborhood southwest of Prospect Park in Brooklyn. (In fact, it houses the biggest population of Orthodox Jews outside of Israel.) Judaism infuses almost everything here: even the few non-religious businesses are closed on Saturdays, and during holidays, decorations cover sidewalks and balconies. Yiddish, Hebrew, and Russian are widely spoken. (Italian and Irish residents make up a significant minority, and there are a few churches in addition to the many yeshivas and synagogues.) This is a family neighborhood, with lots of kids-which means mostly family-oriented housing options. Maimonides Medical Center here is home to record numbers of births, and the neighborhood is growing fast.
Flat or Tall?: Flat.
History: In the 1880s, a developer built cottages in a small hamlet called Blythebourne, and subsequent developers added more speculative housing to what became Borough Park. In the early 1900s, Eastern European Jews began migrating to the area. Borough Park’s first synagogue was built in 1904.
Activities: Visit the shops and restaurants along 13th and 16th Avenues, where you’ve got schnitzel bars, discount furniture and china shops, kosher delis, Judaica shops, clothing stores, wig shops, and more. Head to the Boro Park Greenmarket Thursdays between July and November. During Passover, buy matzoh at the Shmura Matzoh Factory. Visit the Living Torah Museum for a perspective on Jewish history and culture – and to see the oldest existing copy of the Ten Commandments. The Kleinman Family Holocaust Education Center-the country’s first Orthodox-based Holocaust education institution -is set to open in summer 2014.
Check it out: Visit on Sukkot or Purim to witness (or take part in!) holiday traditions. (Any holiday will do, but Sukkot and Purim are particularly festive.)