Where should I live in Brooklyn and why?
February 6, 2017 11:43 AM   Subscribe

Hello! My husband and I are planning our move into NYC and have decided to live in Brooklyn. We currently live in the Hudson Valley and previously lived in Chicago (Andersonville to be specific). My question to y'all is what neighborhood in Brooklyn would you recommend and why?

A bit about what we are looking for:
1. An apartment that has great light.
2. A short walk to a train line (no more than half a mile ideally).
3. We are looking for either a 2 bedroom or a 1 bedroom +office (as my husband works from home).
4. Easy access to a supermarket/grocery store. We will be taking our car with us, but would prefer not to have to drive if frequently.
5. A sense of community. We don't have kids (and don't plan on having them), therefore we like to go out to eat and get drinks on a regular basis. We would like to have a neighborhood that provides us with our "local haunts".

We have been looking at Bed Stuy (as that is where we have always stayed in the past when visiting), but aren't committed to a neighborhood yet. This past weekend we viewed apartments in both Bed Stuy and Bushwick. We liked both neighborhoods, but didn't particularly like the apartments we saw. We have been looking online, but I am struggling to determine where we should focus the search. Our maximum amount for rent is $2500.

Any help at all would be amazing!!!

posted by maryrosefromthedead to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Just in case you are not aware: the L train will be shutting down some time in 2018/19 for at least a year. Keep that very much in mind as you consider subway access for your apartment.
posted by praemunire at 12:01 PM on February 6, 2017 [11 favorites]

You might be able to find something in your range in Park Slope, which is where I live. Searching specifically in the South Slope, Windsor Terrace and Greenwood areas (Greenwood and Windsor Terrace are adjacent neighborhoods) will help. We live in South Slope for less than $2,500, and while the area has a reputation for being ground zero for young families, it has a very lively restaurant and bar scene, is close to Prospect Park, is super walk-able, and it's a breeze to get into Manhattan.
posted by cakelite at 12:09 PM on February 6, 2017 [4 favorites]

I'd say Fort Greene, Park Slope, Clinton Hill or Prospect Heights but a full 2 bedroom at that price point might lead you to some pretty "cozy" (ie cramped) situations. Maybe search specifically for a "railroad" apartment?. These are usually way cheaper than a "real" two bedroom and mostly good for couples who want a guest room or a home office or a baby room, or for roommates who want to pay way cheaper rent at the miserable cost of cutting through each others bedrooms to pee or use the kitchen. My friend lives in a gorgeous well-lit "2 bedroom" railroad in north slope by himself for lower than your price point. A railroad in a nice neighborhood like Park Slope or Clinton Hill usually goes for 2000-2500.

Can not speak for parking in any of those neighborhoods but keeping a car in Brooklyn *sounds* like a pain.
posted by windbox at 12:31 PM on February 6, 2017 [5 favorites]

I think you might find a place within your budget in Ditmas Park. Though there are several apartment buidlings in the neighborhood that might be in your price range, there are also many, many single family homes, which helps make it a lower density neighbhorhood than you will find in many parts of Brooklyn, which is good for parking. You can walk to restaurants and shopping on Cortelyou Road, and the Q and B trains run through it. Time to downtown Manhattan is about 30-40 minutes. I've lived all over Brooklyn and haven't found any other place that does better at feeling like a neighborhood.
posted by layceepee at 12:35 PM on February 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

The above are all good suggestions - I'd add to those Sunset Park and Greenpoint and maybe Carroll Gardens, but for all of those, you'll want to check how long your commute will be, because they are served by trains which come less frequently and go fewer places in Manhattan.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:45 PM on February 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also - Bed-Stuy is pretty huge, and if you've only been looking up by Bushwick you haven't gotten a good sense of the whole neighborhood. I live down on the border of Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights, which is a neighborhood you should also consider.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:49 PM on February 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Your question is pretty broad for an NYC housing search ("a short walk to a train line" vs. "I need to be on the A or C line” or “I need to be able to get to Union Square in half an hour tops”), so there are *lots* of neighborhoods that would meet your criteria. (Of the 9 or 10 neighborhoods already mentioned, the only one I didn't nod agreement at was Greenpoint, because of the L issue praemunire mentioned.) If you’re overwhelmed by the number and stuck on where to focus your efforts, try fiddling with Nate Silver’s old “livability calculator” from a 2010 New York Magazine feature. It’s dated and a bit silly but may be a useful prompt for questions that could narrow your choices some. (It may also raise the question: If my needs are so broad, why Brooklyn in particular?)

That said: I’d suggest the Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus, & South Slope end of things. If I were going out more, I’d love to be closer to Court and Smith Streets, or to 5th Avenue, where there’s lots going on in terms of bars & restaurants. Plenty of places to call your local, as well as a good range of cuisine & fanciness. From a quick glance it looks like all of these might have places in your price range.
posted by miles per flower at 1:52 PM on February 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Unfortunately what you're looking for at your budget rules out what I would immediately suggest for the kind of stuff you're looking for (namely the northern Park Slope/Fort Greene/Prospect Heights area). That being said the neighborhoods that have been suggested so far are all good, and I'd add Kensington. It's in the same general South Slope/Windsor Terrace/Greenwood area, and one of Brooklyn's real hidden gems - it's extremely safe, family-oriented and diverse (primarily young Bangladeshi and ex-USSR families), close to Prospect Park and the subway (the F and G in the western park, and the Q in the eastern part), and rents are fairly cheap (my girlfriend is in a large, true 2br for 2,000 a month).

Not much of a bar scene but plenty of great restaurants and coffee shops, and some great easily-walkable grocery stores, both general-purpose (Foodtown, Key Foods, etc), and specific (there are some great small Bangladeshi grocery stores for stuff you wouldn't find in most American grocery stores, and Carnival Market on Church Ave might be the single best fresh fruit and produce market in the city, on top of a great selection of dried fruit and nuts, baked goods, and Russian and Turkish products).
posted by Itaxpica at 2:35 PM on February 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

My wife are moving from Cobble Hill (very family orientated and imho snobby, and out of price range-- Carroll Gardens more affordable and feels more like a village).

We're looking into Ditmas Park,Crown Heights, Windsor Terrace and South Slope. Our budget is slightly higher but looking for same things. I think "a sense of community" would be better in those areas than South Slope, etc...
posted by sandmanwv at 2:51 PM on February 6, 2017

Agree with some of the others that your budget might be a bit tight for some of the neighborhoods mentioned but it's doable! I would recommend Greenpoint. The L train issue will be a mess but there's the G train and it's a quick cab ride into the city which I always found helpful when the trains were a mess at night or on weekends. I know several people in that neighborhood with railroad style apartments. Great bars and restaurants though not necessarily a tight community feeling. Finding parking in Greenpoint would be WAY easier than Park Slope, South Slope or Cobble Hill (which are GREAT neighborhoods but truly a nightmare to find parking in.) It's also walkable to Williamsburg, if that's your thing.

Ditmas Park is lovely and there are new bars and restaurants popping up there all the time and it's not as dense so there's more of a sense of community. There's also Kensington where you'd probably get way more for your money. It's not as "hip" as some of the other neighborhoods mentioned but it meets most of your requirements. I personally would rather live in the Flatbush/Ditmas/Prospect South/Kensington part of Brooklyn than Bushwick any day - lots of trains and buses, close proximity to Prospect Park and you can get to the restaurants and bars of Park Slope/Carroll Gardens pretty easily. My friends who live in Bushwick dislike living there and basically only moved there because they wanted to live close to Williamsburg. There are bars and restaurants but little else.
posted by blackcatcuriouser at 3:05 PM on February 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

On the other hand, I love Bushwick & detest Park Slope / Windsor Terrace / etc. Cortelyou? Kill me. But that tells you nothing because it's not super clear what you like. Trains & walkable supermarkets is large parts of Brooklyn. You'll get better local bars in Bed-Stuy, Bushwick, Greenpoint, and Prospect Heights. If you're near the J or M, the L-pocalypse isn't a huge deal. The restaurants in Bushwick are MUCH better than Carroll Gardens (I've lived in both). What did you hate about the apartments you've seen? What do you like in a local? What do you need commute-wise?
posted by dame at 4:32 PM on February 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

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