Confessions of a Neighborhood Blogger

F'D in Park Slope: Wanna move here? Better get a baby or dog pronto

By Julie Inzanti  | June 12, 2013 - 8:57AM

It took F'd in Park Slope founder Erica Reitman a few steps to get to Park Slope, Brooklyn.

She grew up in the suburbs of Long Island, moved with her family to Florida when she was 13 (which she describes as the equivalent of hell on earth), went on to college in Washington, D.C., then moved to L.A. for a few years, and then Manhattan, before moving to Park Slope in 2006.

Reitman fell in love with Park Slope after visiting some friends in the neighborhood. She and her husband were eager to ditch the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, so Brooklyn seemed like a great choice.

Reitman lamented the lack of a snarky, Park Slope-centric blog, so she founded one in November 2008. It's a pretty brutally honest take on the neighborhood of Park Slope and the residents…who are described endearingly as whiney and know-it-all.

The name itself says a lot about the vibe and candor of the blog. Reitman is a self-proclaimed, "tell it like it is" person who looks at everything through a lense of the blog reflects her personality.

Reitman's blogging side-career (yes, she does all this and still works full-time,) started over 5 years ago with Dear Famous Asshole,  a collection of her letters to celebrities. Reitman has also written for MTV Buzzworthy, the New York Observer, and the NY Press.

In its first 5 years, FIPS has earned attention for its Target undercover series, which was a video examining the Brooklyn Target store as probably the worst in the country. Shopping carts were scarce (and often abandoned with dirty diapers and trash), the shelves were always a barren wasteland and the staff seemed angry. Target must have taken note of the series because the store has drastically improved.

FIPS was also hacked by a porn site when their domain name registration expired before they could re-up. 

FIPS draws about 150K unique visitors per month and continues to gain attention and accolades--just last year the blog was voted Best NYC Local Blog by the Village Voice.

Reitman recently came to the realization that she might be too old and uncool for NYC so she decamped for California... Keeping her apartment in Park Slope, she is now bi-coastal and recently started a new West Coast based blog, Valley Blahg.

Reitman LOVES Park Slope and if she were to stay in NYC forever there is no other neighborhood she would want to live in. BUT she did feel a little F'd in Park Slope herself. For instance, she would rather pay $3 for a cucumber than work a shift at the food co-op for cheap fair trade coffee...

1. What would you tell someone moving in?

In order to best fit in with the Park Slope crowd, I would recommend you either get a baby or a dog, pronto. Also, either join the Park Slope Food Co-op immediately, or be prepared to make fun of it incessantly...there is no in-between.

2. Where are the best deals in the neighborhood in terms of real estate? What about in terms of dining/entertainment?

Well, there aren't a whole hell of a lot deals left in Park Slope, sadly. You'll def find cheaper rents the further out in South Slope you go. And if you can handle living on Fourth Ave., you also might be able to score a deal. But Fourth Avenue is ugly, busy, and basically like living on a highway.

3. What's the most coveted location within the neighborhood to live?

That depends on whom you talk to! If you're young and single, you'll likely enjoy yourself more in South Slope--better restaurants, bars, etc., and more people walking around with hipster beards.

If you're older and boring like me, and/or interested in being near express subway stops (Q/B on 7th Avenue and 2/3 at Grand Army Plaza. Plus non-express train options too with M/R at Union and the F, of course, on 7th Ave.,) then North Slope is the spot for you. Just be prepared to pay for it.

4. Is there a dream building in the neighborhood?

I love the buildings on Eighth Ave. Especially in North Slope, it feels a bit like the Park Avenue of Brooklyn. Aside from that, I think owning your own brownstone is seriously living the dream for many Park Slope residents.

5. Any buildings that feel out of place with the feel of the neighborhood?

Well, many believe that the Richard Meier building on Grand Army Plaza is way out of place in Park Slope (though technically it's on the Prospect Heights side of the circle), but I kind of dig it.

I much prefer a modern building like that one, to a new building that someone tries to make look old...that never works in my eyes, for some reason.

6. Any real estate related controversy brewing or currently happening in the neighborhood?

Well, prices seem to be skyrocketing...which is only controversial for buyers (sellers are living large). But reports of multiple offers over ask, and open house lines around the block, continue to make their way around real estate gossip circles. The larger properties, in particular, seem to be on fire.

7. How has the neighborhood changed in the past 5 years? Any projections on how it will change in the next 5?

Well, this biggest change by a longshot has been the opening of the Barclays Center. Though it is not in Park Slope proper, its presence has loomed large for surrounding neighborhoods and Park Slope is no exception. I think it's still too early to tell if this will ultimately be a good or bad thing for the neighborhood. I for one think it's pretty damn cool that we can now all walk to Barbra Streisand concert.

8. What do you think your "sister" neighborhood might be?

I guess I would have to choose DUMBO...although I think they'd be a smaller, younger, slightly more hip sister (sibling rivalry...already at work).
9. Which neighborhood feels like the opposite of your neighborhood?

Williamsburg for sure. Anyone over the age of 35 should have to get a special pass to go hang out there. It pretty much feels like the definition of "tragically hip" to me (clearly I’m over the age of 35).
10. Would you stay in this neighborhood forever if you could?

At this point, I don't want to stay anywhere or do *anything* forever. In fact, I just relocated to Los Angeles to launch a new blog: Valley Blahg! I still own my apartment in Park Slope, though, so I'll never give up on Brooklyn completely.

11. If not, where would you want to go?

Well, I've ended up in Studio City. I have 2C-list celebrities living on my block, a killer view up in the hills, and more sunshine than I know what to do with. So far, this place is rocking the casbah.

12. What is one of the biggest misconceptions about the neighborhood?

Well, some might think that because Park Slope is such a family friendly neighborhood, we might not have much in the way of bars...but there are actually some great ones! (Pork Slope, Owl Shop, Terroir, Union Hall, Dram Shop and The Sackett, to name just a few.) Just don't be surprised if you see lots of babies there.  

See all Confessions of a Neighborhood Blogger

Related posts:

How to buy a NYC apartment

How to rent a NYC apartment

Moving to NYC? Here's a crash course in finding an apartment here

A move-by-move neighborhood guide for the people, by the people

Upper West Side to Park Slope: Affordable outdoor space, fewer bankers and lawyers, and you can always see the sky


Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.