While traveling abroad, have you ever found yourself in a small city or neighborhood and thought, Whoa. Why do I feel like I'm in (insert NYC neighborhood) right now?
“International Sister Cities” is a program meant to promote dialogue, travel and understanding between similar cities around the world. Apparently, Brooklyn has 6 such relationships with cities in Poland, Italy, Turkey, Israel, Austria and Britain. Here's the thing, though: Brooklyn is huge. For example, how does the whole borough of 2.5 million relate to Anzio, Italy, for with a population of 58,000? That’s how many people are in line at any given Rite Aid in Brooklyn.
So I've gone on a personal mission to seek out sister cities for Park Slope instead of all of Brooklyn. Yeah, we aren’t technically a city, but the point is that I'm looking for better matching communities.
First up: London.
I have found Park Slope's sister nabe in Notting Hill, an area of London made famous by that somewhat annoying Hugh Grant film. I know this because I'm currently visiting, and have found the following striking similarities:
- Beautiful, dense residential buildings which fell in disrepair due to white flight, but were rediscovered in the past few decades.
- Prior to gentrification, heavily populated by Caribbean emigrants.
- Artsy coffee and tea shops marred by a Starbucks.
- Cool cafes and local eateries marred by a Subway sandwich shop.
- Food fair/antique shows on the weekends (though Portobello handily beats PS 321).
- Bad Mexican food.
- Home to somewhat famous musicians, models, actors and authors.
- Notting Hill was once called “the piggery,” with 3 hogs for every human. We’ve got Pork Slope.
- Sidewalks full of strollers and kids. Though their kids have much cooler British uniforms.
- Both have names indicating a change in elevation.
- Bike shops and boutiques
I’ll try and find some local officials so I can present them with a key to Park Slope. Or an MTA card. In the meantime, have you ever traveled to a city or neighborhood outside of the US that felt way the hell too much like Park Slope?