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39. Because Ditmas Park Is the New San Francisco

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What New Yorker with a repressed slacker-hippie side hasn’t fantasized about ditching Gotham for calmer, quainter San Francisco? Some locals have been satisfying that yen by simply moving to Ditmas Park, the Victorian-packed enclave south of Prospect Park. It isn’t just that the West Coast metropolis and the west-of-Flatbush hamlet share an abundance of turn-of-the-century painted ladies (which in Ditmas now fetch up to $1.8 million and reach their height of Gothic-Oriental grandness on both sides of stately Albemarle Road). You can also see similarities in the restaurant scene: The reigning culinary draw, the Farm on Adderley (1108 Cortelyou Rd.; 718-287-3101), references Chez Panisse (okay, that’s in Berkeley, not Frisco) in its strident locavorism and mismatched plates. And Ditmas’s tiny, cozy Cinco de Mayo (1202 Cortelyou Rd.; 718-693-1022) can hold its own in the Mexican brunch department against the Mission District’s Pancho Villa Taqueria (although the latter’s burritos are admittedly better). Then there are the political echoes, with the Beat- beloved City Lights bookstore and Café Trieste intertwining at Vox Pop (1022 Cortelyou Rd.; 718-940-2084), where, on a recent Sunday, you could order a Cesar Chavez personal pizza, buy lefty tracts, and listen to a live drum circle from a group called Manhattan Samba. “The vibe there’s very San Francisco,” says local Joshua Levy, managing editor of change.org, a “social-action blog network” based in, naturally, S.F. “It’s a bunch of communists hanging out and drinking Fair Trade coffee while reading conspiracy books,” he half-jokes. Not that every Ditmas denizen embraces the comparison. Political-contribution records show that chunks of Ditmas actually lean red, notes Liena Zagare, who writes the popular Ditmas Park Blog. And Mary Kay Gallagher, a longtime Ditmas Realtor, points out that those Bay Area Victorians are mostly stuck together. “Ours are detached,” she says. “That means a driveway and a garage and a backyard.” But is it big enough to leave your heart in?


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