Brooklyn neighborhood with easy access to Columbus Circle?
February 24, 2009 8:59 AM   Subscribe

I'm a neighborhood(s) in Brooklyn with: a) very fast, easy subway access to Columbus Circle, b) pretty good transport to the Village and to the rest of Manhattan in general, and c) great cheap food nearby. What am I?
posted by shivohum to Grab Bag (35 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Williamsburg or Greenpoint. They're both generally one stop from Manhattan on the L. Easy transfers to uptown trains once in Manhattan. Very easy access to West Village, Greenwich Village and East Village via any of the L stops along 14th Street.
posted by TBoneMcCool at 9:05 AM on February 24, 2009


From North to South:

* Greenpoint has cheap food, access to CC is decent (G to the E/V gets you close, changing trains for one additional stop gets you exactly to CC). Village access requires taking the G to the L, or walking down to the L (15-20 minute walk, depending).

* Williamsburg (specifically the North side) has easy access to the Village on the L train, and cheap food, but Columbus Circle requires a transfer.

* Brooklyn Heights has easy access to the Village and Columbus Circle (pretty much every subway in the system runs through/near BH), but food is somewhat lacking.

* Fort Greene has reasonably easy access to CC and the West Village via the A/C - cheap food is possible.

* Park Slope has easy access to the Village and CC, but the subway ride is somewhat longer - you get more reading done. Food is somewhat more expensive (cheap eats still somewhat possible)

I've lived in Greenpoint, Williamsburg, BH, and Park Slope (PS currently). Is this idle curiosity, or are you thinking about finding somewhere to live?
posted by swngnmonk at 9:08 AM on February 24, 2009


Park Slope also has the B, which you can take to broadway/lafayette and to Columb. circle. Flatbush Ave, the line that delineates Park Slope from Prospect Heights has great cheap food (especially Joy Indian Restaurant. That place is epic).

Both Park Slope and Williamsburg are "fashionable" (read=pricey), so bring your checkbook. Williamsburg is slightly less so. Both have their benefits and detriments. Demographically, WMSBRG skews younger, as it's generally 20-somethings and, in its main thoroughfares, more crowded. Park Slope is more new parents and stuff. a lot more young kids in that neighborhood.
posted by orville sash at 9:11 AM on February 24, 2009


Excellent, thanks so far.

Is this idle curiosity, or are you thinking about finding somewhere to live?


The latter. What did you think of living in these neighborhoods?
posted by shivohum at 9:19 AM on February 24, 2009


If you want something cheaper and not LES-Lite, try Flatbush (not East Flatbush, they're quite different). I lived there for two years; the Q takes appx. 30-40 minutes to get to 57th and 7th, which is as good as you're likely to get, and it makes it easy to get to Union Square and the Village in general.
posted by nasreddin at 9:19 AM on February 24, 2009


* Fort Greene has reasonably easy access to CC and the West Village via the A/C - cheap food is possible.

The Q express train at DeKalb in Fort Greene is three stops to Union Square and four stops to 57th & 7th. The MTA schedule shows elapsed time as 11 minutes and 18 minutes respectively. There are geographically closer areas of Brooklyn, but I doubt you could go door-to-door to CC faster than that.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 9:20 AM on February 24, 2009


Not just Park Slope, but also Prospect Heights - w/ the Q and the 2,3 (which also stop in Union Square and the West Village, respectively). I lived in P-Heights for about 4 years while I was going to Fordham Law (walking distance from Columbus Circle) and found it very do-able, with nice places to go out for food/drinks, lots of variety, etc. A bit less pricey than Park Slope.

My warning: I haven't lived in Brooklyn for over 12 months, but I would consider any apartment that requires you to access the L to NOT have consistent subway access. It seems to me it was always down more than up. YMMV, and that problem might be fixed now. In addition, I just heard that they are planning to limit G schedules even MORE.
posted by bunnycup at 9:20 AM on February 24, 2009


For quick and easy access to both the West Village and Columbus Circle, I'd want to live off the A or D.

Have you thought about Morningside Heights around 125th Street? I have two friends who live there (they actually moved from Williamsburg and Park Slope, respectively), and it seems pretty reasonable as far rents and cheap food go.
posted by kathryn at 9:21 AM on February 24, 2009


Oh, and I forgot to mention that the B runs through Flatbush as well, which makes it easy to get to the Lower East Side.

The Q express train at DeKalb in Fort Greene is three stops to Union Square and four stops to 57th & 7th. The MTA schedule shows elapsed time as 11 minutes and 18 minutes respectively. There are geographically closer areas of Brooklyn, but I doubt you could go door-to-door to CC faster than that.

Something is off there. That trip would take me around 20-25 minutes, from what I remember.
posted by nasreddin at 9:23 AM on February 24, 2009


TBoneMcCool, Williamsburg and Greenpoint aren't "generally" one stop from Manhattan. "They" are one stop if you live at the Bedford L station; Greenpoint will put you a transfer (unless you live at Graham ave L stop) on the G and additional 2-3 stops. With the G service cuts, you are looking at an additional 20 minutes or so on your commute. Still, Greenpoint is pretty nice with good eats.

Carrol gardens is also right by the F train (closer than Park Slope) and has better food by far. Still, pretty richie, although you aren't really going to find great areas to commute to midtown that aren't either richie or not really near a variety of eats.
posted by shownomercy at 9:23 AM on February 24, 2009


You should probably suggest a price range. Flatbush should be quite affordable for a single person who makes $30,000 a year. Park Slope or Williamsburg, you need much more than that.
posted by nasreddin at 9:25 AM on February 24, 2009


@shivohum - they're all good neighborhoods, with various pluses & minuses, and varying demographics. It'd help if you could tell us something about what you're looking for in a neighborhood (young & funky? thirtysomething family? uber-hipster?), and what kind of price range you're thinking of.
posted by swngnmonk at 9:31 AM on February 24, 2009


And seconding the point about both the G and the L - the L gets packed during rush hour (to the degree that people watch multiple stuffed trains go by), and has a nasty habit of going out of service on weekends, making it nearly impossible to get home easily. And the G? Well... The less said about the G, the better.
posted by swngnmonk at 9:34 AM on February 24, 2009


TBoneMcCool, Williamsburg and Greenpoint aren't "generally" one stop from Manhattan. "They" are one stop if you live at the Bedford L station; Greenpoint will put you a transfer (unless you live at Graham ave L stop)

Yes, was I not being clear? Large parts of Williamsburg and Greenpoint have access to the Bedford L stop. Williamsburg more so than Greenpoint, but I've made the easy walk from Greenpoint to the Bedford L many, many times. In other words, a good number of people in both neighborhoods live one stop from Manhattan. Your results may vary, hence the "generally."
posted by TBoneMcCool at 9:35 AM on February 24, 2009


I'd like to second my old hood, Brooklyn Heights. You can't beat it in terms of accessibility- the A, C, 2, 3, 4, 5, R, N, M (sometimes), F, V, and a short walk to the G. The food may be a little lacking, but the restaurants on Smith street will deliver and there are a handful of great places on Henry and further down Court St. It's also incredibly pretty.
posted by Thin Lizzy at 10:05 AM on February 24, 2009


Shivohum,

Williamsburg is pretty "hip." there's a lot of show spaces, clothing stores, record stores, in addition to cheap food. It's also, for the most part exceedingly ugly. Untill about 2001, it was mostly just warehouses and vinyl sided homes. Now it's warehouses converted into stores, vinyl sided homes, and huge modern looking high rises springing up here and there. So, again, it has benefits and detriments.

As for Park Slope/Ft Green/Prospect Heights area, there are some actually very beautiful locations (especially park slope). The neighborhoods are comprised mainly of brownstones. On the inside some are decrepit, some are immaculate, but they're all on beautiful tree-lined streets (but good luck finding a parking spot.) Both Prospect Heights and Park Slope are within walking distance of Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

I'm curious to know where you're moving from. I recently left Brooklyn for Queens, and found it to be a perfect fit for me. If you have a lot of friends in Brooklyn, you'll probably need a car, because traveling to any other borough than Manhattan can be difficult, but I am living in a huge 2 bedroom for what I was playing for a small one bedroom in Williamsburg.
posted by orville sash at 10:09 AM on February 24, 2009


In the task you just did, did you see any words appear before the adjectives you had to classify?

My price range would be up to $1800/month for a 2-bedroom or $1000/month for a studio. Obviously cheaper is better.

I'm looking for a neighborhood that's clean, well-trafficked, charming if possible, probably people in late 20s/early 30s, nice brunch spots, a good bakery or two, good coffee shops.

The bit about the L-train being unreliable on the weekends and the G being bad definitely deter me. And Caroll Gardens and Park Slope, while appealing in a lot of ways, seem overly reliant on the F. I want a redundancy of reliable trains. So perhaps I should be looking more at Brooklyn Heights, Fort Greene, Flatbush, and Prospect Heights, sounds like?


Have you thought about Morningside Heights around 125th Street?


I've thought about it, but I'm kind of eager to try Brooklyn for a while :-).
posted by shivohum at 10:12 AM on February 24, 2009


I'm curious to know where you're moving from. I recently left Brooklyn for Queens, and found it to be a perfect fit for me.

I'm moving from East Harlem. Where in Queens do you live?
posted by shivohum at 10:14 AM on February 24, 2009


My price range would be up to $1800/month for a 2-bedroom or $1000/month for a studio. Obviously cheaper is better.

I'm looking for a neighborhood that's clean, well-trafficked, charming if possible, probably people in late 20s/early 30s, nice brunch spots, a good bakery or two, good coffee shops.


Rents are dropping, but you're probably out of luck at that price range. Even in Flatbush, which is a high-crime immigrant neighborhood, a studio will easily cost $1000. (I paid $1050 for a vermin-infested ground level studio facing a ventilation shaft.) I currently pay $1035 for a studio in Bed-Stuy, which is one of those "up and coming" neighborhoods (i.e., still dangerous but more cute coffee shops)--but that's below market value, since I found it through a friend. Other apartments in that area were more like $1150 when I looked. Bed-Stuy is about 45 minutes to an hour away from Columbus Circle.
posted by nasreddin at 10:18 AM on February 24, 2009


I want a redundancy of reliable trains.

In this regard, aiming for a reasonable walk (in an emergency) from Atlantic Center is smart. At a minimum, I know the N, R, Q, 2, 3, 4, 5, B/D and perhaps others run through, with the A/C not much farther away.

I normally took the 2,3 to Columbus Circle, but if that was down it was not TOO far a trek to Atlantic Center to get something else. So, I suggest you do some looking in Prospect Heights, i.e. Flatbush Ave - Pacific b/w Vanderbilt and up to Franklin (another semi-major subway hub). I really liked the community there, and still miss Flatbush Farm and some other places.
posted by bunnycup at 10:24 AM on February 24, 2009


Astoria. Close to Astoria Park. Excellent cheap eats (including the best pizza I've ever tasted), cute, cheap, two-story Duplexes, a couple great bars, and all the Greek food you could possibly stomach. There's a movie theater nearby, you're just a couple miles or so from P.S. 1 and the Museum of the Moving Image or whatver it's called.

The N goes directly to 7th and 57th (about 20 minutes) and if you ride a bike, and you can make it to Williamsburgh in about 25 minutes (over the pulaski bridge) or 15 minutes in a car. It's not for everyone. The Sparrow is a nice little bar, but the hood is not exactly known for its night life, but the neighborhood is safe and quiet and pretty.

Just a thought.
posted by orville sash at 10:24 AM on February 24, 2009


P.S.: Astoria = full of good bakeries

My apartment is $1650, and, like I said, easily the biggest I've lived in in New York.
posted by orville sash at 10:26 AM on February 24, 2009


Rents are dropping, but you're probably out of luck at that price range.

Just to echo this, a quick search of craigslist for 2 bedrooms under 1800 puts most results in Bushwick, Bensonhurst or Crown Heights.
posted by JaredSeth at 10:29 AM on February 24, 2009


If you're seriously considering North Brooklyn, I'd recommend the McCarren Park area, with the cheaper places skewing to Greenpoint. My roommate and I live off in between the Nassau stop on the G (which is a 25 minute commute to midtown during rush hours) and the Graham Ave stop on the L (which is about 8 minutes to the East Village). The G is indeed a pain for non-rush hour jaunts, but it's as reliable as any train on M-F between 7-10am and 5-9pm.

Greenpoint is like Williamsburg but a little mellower and more threadbare, with blue-collar bars far outnumbering the vintage boutiques. There's a bit of tension between the resident Polish community and the American young things who rent from them, but it's nothing compared to the urban colonization going on in trendy Bushwick. The bars here are better than the restaurants, but Enid's is one of the neighborhood's best-known places for brunch, and there's a lot of Thai, sushi, and mom 'n pop Polish joints nearby. Coco68 is quite nice, and Lamb & Jaffey has astoundingly good food. There are literally scores of coffee shops, notably Cafe Grumpy and Cafe Bogota. My roommate and I pay $1280 for an adorable little apartment in a pretty neighborhood near McGolrick and McCarren parks, but I doubt you'll find a studio for less than $1200.
posted by Viola at 11:04 AM on February 24, 2009


I'd avoid living near the Greenpoint/Williamsburg recently because of the awful subway service.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:51 AM on February 24, 2009


Ugh, I meant living near the G/L trains.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:52 AM on February 24, 2009


My price range would be up to $1800/month for a 2-bedroom or $1000/month for a studio.

This price is not happening in the convenient part of Williamsburg, even being really optimistic with the current rent fall. If this is your budget, its ok to ignore Williamsburg's pros and cons because its just way too expensive. For the record, though, I'd live in a neighborhood w/ express to columbus circle service if getting to columbus circle was important to me, and williamsburg doesn't have it.

I think other people on this thread are being very optimistic on commute times. I live a couple blocks from the Bedford L. At rush hour mornings, it takes me _at least_ 25 minutes to get to midtown, and I'm talking 34th street, which is the closest stop to williamsburg you could possibly consider midtown. It frequently takes me way longer because of the insane overcrowded conditions on the L, so I have to budget much more time.

I just don't understand how you could, for example, take G to the L or take the L from Graham and get to any place that counts as midtown in 25 minutes reliably in the morning. I also don't think 8 mins from Graham L to 1st ave is close realistic. The L train is the king of "This train is being momentarily held by the train's dispatcher!", especially during the morning rush. You can easily spend 8 minutes at a dead stop in the east river tunnel.
posted by jeb at 12:03 PM on February 24, 2009


I agree with roomthreeseventeen: the G and L are atrocious. If I couldn't swing Ft. Greene or a place with a good A stop I'd consider Williamsburg's southside and taking the JMZ to the BD to columbus circle. The JMZ is way more reliable and less crowded and the rent is also cheaper. Still too expensive by your standards, but I'm skeptical that you'll get a place in most of the neighborhoods mentioned here within that budget (though i only really know anything about williamsburg)
posted by jeb at 12:06 PM on February 24, 2009


Orville, thanks for the great Astoria review. I'll seriously consider it.

Hrm - several people are saying the budget isn't high enough. What is high enough? Let's narrow this down to say Ft. Greene near the A and Prospect Heights. How much is reasonable to pay for a good 2-BR close to the subway? How about a studio?
posted by shivohum at 12:27 PM on February 24, 2009


You could also try Sunset Park off the D (below park slope in brooklyn). It is cheap and by express trains and has great authentic Chinese restaurants and a bunch of Mexican ones too with populations to match.
You'd still prob be looking at $1000-$1200 for a studio though. Apartment prices in NY aren't plummeting as much as I would have hoped.

To live in Ft greene you prob need closer to $1300 for an acceptable studio, more if you want to be near a train. Same for P Heights, with the heights being a tiny bit pricier. I wouldn't advise you to move to Ft. Greene because most of that neighborhood is not at all close to trains.
posted by rmless at 1:16 PM on February 24, 2009


Yeah, Thin Lizzy (who posted above) and I paid about 1400 for a tiny one bedroom in Brooklyn Heights. Brooklyn Heights is awesome, by the way, but you can't live there for 1000 per bedroom.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:17 PM on February 24, 2009


Well, I had a $1,050 small studio in prime Prospect Heights for awhile, during what I think of as a "peak rent" time. That's about as much as I can help other than pointing you to Craigslist.
posted by bunnycup at 2:34 PM on February 24, 2009


Boerum Hill! Wikipedia defines it as the area between State St, Court St, Warren St and 4th Ave. It's near every subway line except the L and the 7. Atlantic/Pacific, Bergen St, Hoyt/Schermerhorn and Nevins St stations are all walkable.

It's mostly middle to upper middle class families, but there's a good about of young people also. Your price range is doable, though it would take some hunting. I, and some other people I know, live on "ugly blocks in a nice neighborhood" in Boerum Hill and our rent is much cheaper than the brownstones on the next block.

If you like falafel, Atlantic Ave has tons of good, cheap falafel. There are a few other reasonably priced places on Smith, Court, Atlantic, 3rd and 4th. There are 3 coffee shops within 4 blocks of my apartment that I love, all with WiFi and pretty relaxed environments (2 with backyards).

Most of the neighborhood is very charming. As I said, I live on an ugly (mostly industrial) block that is surrounded by tree-lined blocks of brownstones. Even my uglier block is well-trafficked and I've always felt safe in the neighborhood at any hour.
posted by cheerwine at 4:17 PM on February 24, 2009


I think with some creative apartment hunting you could definitely find a a two bedroom for 1800. It may not be top o' the line, but you could swing it and it not be too skanky. A few of my friends who lived in Brooklyn within the past three or four years were paying between 1500-2000 month for a 2 bedroom, and they were pretty decent and in good neighborhoods.
posted by Rocket26 at 4:51 PM on February 24, 2009


Further south than other places mentioned, but try Kensington or Midwood.
posted by cmgonzalez at 11:30 PM on February 24, 2009


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