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Sick of overcrowded Gotham? If you covet the land of backyards and porch swings but only for an afternoon, spend the day walking around Ditmas Park, home to some of New York's most beautiful buildings. This Brooklyn neighborhood has so many gorgeous, renovated Victorian mansions, you'll think you're not in Kansas…um, Brooklyn…anymore. Lovers of craft beer and cocktails will find much to love in this hood, too. The main drag is Cortelyou Road, with loads of conventionally Brooklyn bars and restaurants, but we'll start our adventure in a more scenic spot.
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• Take the Q to Cortelyou Rd (this stop is sometimes skipped on the express; alternatively, get off at Newkirk Ave or Church Ave stops). Make your way onto Marlborough Rd heading toward Albemarle Rd. The stretch of Albemarle Rd between Marlborough and Stratford Rds offers some of the most striking mansions in the area. Stop to gawp.
• Circle back to Cortelyou, walk down Buckingham Rd to see a Japanese-inspired house, and be sure to stop by Rugby and Argyle Rds for some colorful homes.
• Stop in for a pint at Ox Cart Tavern(583 Argyle Rd, 718-284-0005, oxcarttavern.com), the closest thing you’ll find to a local English pub on a suburban Brooklyn street.
• Make your way back to Cortelyou and rest your feet at the Castello Plan (1213 Cortelyou Rd between Argyle & Westminster, 718-856-8888, thecastelloplan.com).
• Finish your scenic stroll at dim and delightful bar-cum–flower shop Sycamore(1118 Cortelyou Rd between Stratford and Westminster Rds, Ditmas Park, Brooklyn; 347-240-5850, sycamorebrooklyn.com), where you can duck into the ivy-covered back garden while it’s still warm.