We are looking for the Brooklyn-Queens!
April 16, 2018 7:53 AM   Subscribe

After nearly 3 years away, we’re moving back (from DC) to NYC…but our lives are totally different. Help us decide where to live.

Potentially useful info about us: We lived in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, for 7 years before we left in 2015. Now in 2018, we’re returning, but with a 1.5-year-old kid! And we can’t afford Fort Greene anymore. We’re seeking to rent a 2 bedroom apartment for around $2300/month, preferably with a dishwasher and in-unit (or at least in-building) laundry. We’ll need to move in August so we know we can’t start looking for an apartment now, but we need to target an area so we can start securing childcare. We’ve been in a wonderful nanny share in DC, but we’re hoping to transition to a play-based, respectful, full-day daycare or preschool, preferably with its own outdoor play area. Would love to find a place that is Montessori or Reggio-Emilia inspired, but that may be out of budget (less than $2,000/month for full-time care). My husband’s job will be located in Greenwich Village. I don’t have a job yet (eep) but will likely be downtown or midtown Manhattan.

Neighborhoods we’re considering:
Jackson Heights. Pros: my sister lives there with her baby (yay!); express train access; affordable; amazing food. Cons: while we’ve visited a lot, we’ve never really loved the neighborhood; lack of green space; we don’t have any other friends who live in Queens; looks like childcare options may be somewhat limited (just a couple preschools which probably all have waitlists at this point, plus a lot of in-home care).

South Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington. Pros: We love Brooklyn; our friends are all in Brooklyn (though in Ft Greene/Clinton Hill/Park Slope/Boerum Hill); seems to be tons of childcare options/family friendly; green space. Cons: May be harder to find affordable housing; more limited transportation; while our friends are in the borough, they still won’t be in walking distance.

Would love to hear from anyone who lives in either of these areas on the above topics, OR pitches for other neighborhoods we should consider. Eg, should we consider Astoria since it’s a great place for families even though we don’t know anyone who lives there? Sunnyside? I lived there for a year and loved it, but the 7 train…
posted by CiaoMela to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Heads-up: if you would be living anywhere in southern-ish Brooklyn, the L train will be shut down for allegedly about a year and a half starting some time next year.

If your rent budget in Brooklyn or Queens permitted you to be close to downtown Manhattan, I wouldn't suggest this, but you're going to be far away regardless--why not consider Washington Heights? The A will run you from there to midtown or to Greenwich Village directly. (I have a bit of an aversion to the deep-underground WH subway stations, but I'm told that's an idiosyncrasy.) Depending on where you are, Fort Tryon Park could be accessible. The schools I can't speak to, though.
posted by praemunire at 8:06 AM on April 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Heads-up: if you would be living anywhere in southern-ish Brooklyn, the L train will be shut down for allegedly about a year and a half starting some time next year.

The L is one of the northernmost lines in Brooklyn - did you mean northern-ish?
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:17 AM on April 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

I live in South Slope and love it, but we pay about $2,300 for a one bedroom and feel like we are getting a deal. Kensington might be more affordable, same with Ditmas Park. Both neighborhoods feel like nice places to raise a kid. My brother lives in Sunnyside and loves it.
posted by cakelite at 8:33 AM on April 16, 2018

Have you considered New Jersey? We live in Union City, but Jersey City and Weehawken are also very affordable with great schools, and the commute is shorter than most parts of Brooklyn or Queens. (Hoboken is also quite lovely, but it's kind of the Park Slope of Hudson County.)
posted by monospace at 9:42 AM on April 16, 2018

Have you looked at Forest Hills, Queens? It's super family friendly, loads of parks, restaurants, etc. The parent community is really active and accessible. We lived there until my daughter was 2 and it was amazing. It's accessible by the E and F express trains or the LIRR into Penn.
posted by avocado_of_merriment at 10:12 AM on April 16, 2018

The L is one of the northernmost lines in Brooklyn - did you mean northern-ish?

Yes, I did, thanks.
posted by praemunire at 12:35 PM on April 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the comments so far. Would love to hear more from anyone re: the neighborhoods I mentioned.

Thanks Cakelite--I agree that the budget is optimistic for South Slope.
posted by CiaoMela at 1:14 PM on April 16, 2018

I live in Astoria. I think your budget is too low for a dishwasher and laundry here (but you could find a two-bedroom with fewer amenities for that price). There is a lot of green space along the waterfront. It's a schlep to Greenwich Village and other downtown areas in my opinion; much less so to Midtown. I can't speak to childcare or schools.
posted by enn at 2:25 PM on April 16, 2018

I'm on the WT/Kensington border. Definitely a family-friendly area, but it's getting more and more expensive. You might find what you're looking for in Kensington (more likely the farther south you go).
posted by the_blizz at 7:32 PM on April 16, 2018

The lack of green space in Jackson Heights can be painful, and the subway is terrible from there at rush hour.
posted by zvs at 12:12 AM on April 24, 2018

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