Earlier this year, the blog featured a post on why you should live in Queens. Queens is a wonderful place, with excellent museums, including the Queens MoMA and PS1, as well as the Socrates Sculpture Park, and awesome Thai food like SriPraPhai in Woodside. The post is very convincing, and enumerates Queens’ many advantages, such as close proximity the GC via many subway lines, and affordability. However, I am unwavering in my commitment to another borough, Brooklyn. Since moving to New York City seven years ago, I have lived in Upper Manhattan and, for the last five years, in Brooklyn; I fell in love with the county of Kings. I don’t think I will ever want to live anywhere else in NYC, for a great many reasons.
First, Brooklyn’s arts and culture are formidable, with free concerts, art openings, pop-up galleries, and food fairs throughout the year. We also host the first distilleries in New York City since Prohibition, and have several wineries, which are making Brooklyn their home base for wine production and retailing. There’s also the Brooklyn Brewery, Sixpoint Brewery, Kelso and a burgeoning homebrew community. There are lots of places to get excellent food, including the borough’s own Fairway Market in Red Hook, Sahadi’s in Brooklyn Heights (better than Zabar’s!) and various shops and stores by neighborhood. In addition, the borough is one of the most accessible by bicycle! Brooklyn’s neighborhoods are distinctive and relatively discrete, and most importantly, easily navigated by dedicated bike lanes that can get you from Brooklyn, to Manhattan (if you are comfortable riding there), and back—hey, why give the MTA all your money if you don’t have to? (NYC and Bike CUNY have resources on safe riding, and even a savvy cyclist road safety course!)
In terms of entertainment/distractions, Brooklyn has the newly finished Barclays Arena, host to the new (and hopefully better) Nets, as well as the Brooklyn Cyclones, excellent in their own right but also a farm team to the Mets. There are also excellent music venues of all stripes, from the live-music Mecca Zebulon, to Jalopy (featuring old-time music, Americana, and more) to the Bell House in Gowanus, The Knitting Factory and Music Hall of Williamsburg in Williamsburg, and other independent venues in Greenpoint, Bushwick, Ditmas, and beyond.
Finally, the neighborhoods and architecture are beautiful. Brooklyn is often known for its “Brownstone Crescent,” an architectural feature sweeping across north/central Brooklyn from Brooklyn Heights, to BoCoCa (Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, and Carroll Gardens), through Bedford Stuyvesant, and south through Park Slope and beyond. Brownstones are beautiful all year round, but, covered in snow make the sometimes-harsh winters in NYC bearable because of their beauty. Not to get too poetic about this, Brooklyn is also as affordable as you want it to be; neighborhoods in North Brooklyn can be more expensive, as can other neighborhoods near Downtown Brooklyn, but deals abound, especially if you take the time to look and go through a no-fee broker. (I have used and would recommend Rapid Realty.) Other affordable neighborhoods, popular with students and recent graduates, include Crown Heights, near the express stop for both the 2,3 and 4.5 train lines at either Franklin Avenue or Utica, as well as neighborhoods such as Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, across the park from Park Slope, Ditmas Park, located near Victorian Flatbush in all its turn-of-the-century glory, Sunset Park, and quiet, family oriented Bay Ridge (albeit a far trek on the R train).
What do you think? Did I miss any neighborhoods that stand out to you? Let us know in the comments section below!