By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Prospect Heights will be a hot spot for out-of-towners to visit if Marty Markowitz and the folks at NYC & Company have their way.
Markowitz, the former Brooklyn borough president who is now vice president of borough promotion and engagement at NYC & Company, the city’s official marketing and tourism arm, is working to convince visitors to put Prospect Heights on their travel itineraries.
Prospect Heights the next featured neighborhood in NYC & Company’s “NYCGO Insider Guides” for tourists visiting the Big Apple, joining communities like Williamsburg, Coney Island and Sunset Park as desirable destinations.
The big announcement is set to take place Nov. 2 in London at the World Travel Market (WTM), a leading event for the travel industry.
Prospect Heights has a lot to offer, according to NYC & Company, which pointed out that the community borders Prospect Park and is home to several cultural organizations, as well as noteworthy restaurants and charming shops.
The neighborhood is easy to find. It is accessible by the 2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, N, Q and R subway lines.
The attractions that will be touted by NYC & Company in promotional materials include Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Brooklyn Public Library.
The neighborhood’s famous eateries include Chuko Ramen, which serves ramen and Japanese inspired dishes; The Islands, which gives visitors a taste of the Caribbean with savory jerk chicken and calypso shrimp; Tom’s Restaurant, a family-owned and operated diner established in 1936 and known for its pancakes, egg creams and key lime rickeys; The Vanderbilt, which has everything from eggplant lasagna to grilled pork chops on its menu; Ample Hills, which sells homemade ice cream in creative flavors like Snap, Mallow, Pop (marshmallow ice cream with buttery Rice Krispies clusters) and The Raw Deal (vanilla ice cream with chocolate flakes and homemade brown butter chocolate cookie dough); and El Atoradero, a popular Mexican place.
Shoppers will find plenty of places to browse in, including Empire Mayonnaise, which sells a variety of mayonnaise flavors from bacon to white truffle, to Unnameable Books, a shop that sells new and used books.
“Prospect Heights exemplifies Brooklyn life in the 21st century with a trendy and welcoming vibe that appeals to both visitors and New Yorkers,” Markowitz said. “Whether it’s cheering on the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center or eating brunch with visitors from around the world at legendary Tom’s Restaurant, visitors can get a real feel of Brooklyn’s cool factor.”
Eric Adams, who succeeded Markowitz as borough president, is fully on board with the plan to make Prospect Heights the next must-see tourist destination. Adams lives in the neighborhood.
“Manhattan may have its Museum Mile, but we have our cultural half-mile. We have the park, the library, the garden and the museum,” Adams told the Brooklyn Eagle. He suggested that travel packages could be organized for tourists to include all or some of the cultural destinations.
Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber is working with NYC & Company to attract tourists. “As Brooklyn continues to become a destination for New Yorkers and tourists alike, visitors are quickly realizing that there is more to the borough than the neighborhoods directly over the Brooklyn Bridge," he said.
Markowitz said Millennials looking for the next big thing will love the “cool” factor of Prospect Heights.
“We want people to experience the community. Walk its streets like Washington Avenue. It’s a unique experience. Take a walk along Plaza Street and see its unique architecture. Prospect Heights is brownstone Brooklyn.” Markowitz told the Eagle.
Tourism is an important economy engine for the city, according to Markowitz, who said it creates jobs for local residents and brings in tax dollars. In 2014, 56.5 millions tourists visited New York City and pumped a total of $41 billion into the city’s economy, according to figures provided by NYC & Company. There are 362,000 jobs supported by tourism in the five boroughs.
When the Eagle asked Adams to play tour guide and come up with places in his beloved Prospect Heights where he would take out-of-town guests, he had lots of ideas.
“The first thing I would do is take them to Prospect Park. We would rent bikes and ride around to get a visual of the park. If you drive, you miss things and if you’re walking, there is too much to take in. I would give them a sampling of the community. I would have them walk up Franklin Avenue or up Washington Avenue,” he said.
For more information on what to do and see in Prospect Heights, visit www.nycgo.com/insiderguides.