The prospect of moving to Brooklyn can be a daunting task – it’s a big place with a rich, colorful history. It is also changing faster than nearly anywhere else in the country, which makes it extra hard to keep up with what’s cool and affordable. Here’s your go-to guide on where to move next or where to go out for a slightly cheaper night out on the town.
The beautiful neighborhood of Prospect Lefferts Gardens right at the southeastern edge of Prospect Park has somehow managed to be the last neighborhood around the park with affordable prices. But you better get there fast; with new coffee shops and bars (Midwood Flats and Bluebird) popping up all over the neighborhood, the cheap housing probably won’t be there too much longer. The area has many streets which boast being the “greenest block in Brooklyn.” Between that and the easy access to Prospect Park, if you crave some more nature in your life, this is the neighborhood for you. Lefferts Garden is also home to come of the best Caribbean food in New York, so you have a hankering for some jerk chicken, there’s plenty to be found.
Just a few stops further in on the Q line, Ditmas Park is hardly up-and-coming anymore – it has arrived. But somehow it’s been kept a secret from the rest of New York. Still reasonably affordable, but with all the cute coffee shops (Qathra, Milk and Honey), bars (Sycamore), restaurants (The Farm, Lea), and organic grocery stores (Flatbush Food CoOp) that you could want. On top of that, it’s within comfortable walking distance of Prospect Park. It’s also home to some of the largest and most beautiful homes in Brooklyn. Walking through the side streets, you feel as if you’ve been transported to a completely different city – until you come out on Courtelyou and see the bustling commerce. It’s quick ride on the Q into the city, but with all this neighborhood has to offer, you might find yourself never wanting to leave.
There is a lot of exciting stuff going on in this neighborhood on the rise. With both Greenwood Cemetery and Sunset Park, there is no shortage of beautiful greenery for a stroll at any time. It also sits right along the Hudson and offers a fantastic view of Lower Manhattan. The area at the water’s edge, once home to shipping warehouses, is now the site of Industry City, turning the empty warehouses into retail and office spaces. There are pop up stores, food truck stands, and DJed parties in the outdoor patio area throughout the summer. The pool in the eponymous Sunset Park is another amazing asset to the neighborhood. It’s completely free and while it can get busy, it’s large enough to accommodate the crowds. This area is also graced with some of the best Mexican food in the city, Tacos El Bronco are a particular favorite. Sunset Park is starting to edge its way onto the radar.
Despite the fact that Red Hook is nearly unconnected from any mode of convenient public transit (excluding the IKEA ferry) this neighborhood at the top of Brooklyn offers a nice, quiet industrial seaside vibe that makes it stand out from the rest of the borough. Red Hook is home to a wide variety of food and beverage options from lobster at Red Hook Lobster Pound, to a whole area of food vendors that take over Clinton Street for the spring and summer bringing a mixture of Mexican, Salvadoran, and Guatemalan flavors. The warehouses have also started to house slightly more interesting products like cacao-based items at Cacao Prieto, the Red Hook Winery, and three distilleries. And of course with IKEA right in the neighborhood, getting all the stuff to fill your apartment has never been easier.
Bed-Stuy is fast becoming the neighborhood of choice for young artists, with its easy proximity to both Williamsburg and Bushwick (yep, Bushwick is the new Williamsburg, and Williamsburg is practically Manhattan). It has always been known for its quiet, tree-lined streets filled with historic brownstones, but the recent influx of young people is bringing a new wave of development. It is a large and diverse neighborhood right in the heart of Brooklyn, and while some areas are reportedly experiencing price hikes causing investors to back out, there is large portion of the neighborhood that is still within reasonable range, and has a ton of exciting new bars and restaurants. It’s also known for being home to some famous musicians (Jay-Z, Mos Def, Aaliyah) and has a rich musical history. One Last Shag is a great bar to check out to get your groove on, or just to chill in the backyard with friends.