The best places to live in Brooklyn could fill an entire book, as this New York City borough is larger and more populous than all but two other cities in the entire country. The most sought-after Brooklyn neighborhoods tend to be those closest to Manhattan, as most commuters still make the trip onto the island for work every day.
Where Should I Live in Brooklyn?
The above-mentioned neighborhoods that are close to Manhattan (and subways) would include such diverse communities as Williamsburg, which also boasts an amazing array of great restaurants, bars, and music venues (and is therefore extremely popular with young professionals); Park Slope, for its pretty brownstones and tree-lined streets and family-friendly culture; DUMBO, which has charm to spare with its beautiful old converted industrial buildings and cobblestoned streets; and Fort Greene, for its neighborly feel, great restaurants, and lovely historic homes.
Any list of the best places to live in Brooklyn would also likely have Carroll Gardens right up there near the top, for its lively food and nightlife scene, gorgeous brownstones, and concentration of families with young children; Bushwick, for young people with a creative, somewhat rebellious spirit; stately Brooklyn Heights, for its views, sense of community, and historic homes; and, for those seeking an almost suburban feel to go along with their city-living, the community of Bay Ridge, which makes up for its long commute to Manhattan with elegant old homes and a neighborly atmosphere.
Brooklyn has Something for Everyone
Living in Brooklyn has become increasingly popular in the past decade or so, as the borough becomes a magnet both for Manhattan families seeking more space and light and sense of community, as well as for young professionals and creative types drawn to the artistic energy and grass roots, do-it-yourself culture that's become such a part of Brooklyn's character.
In Brooklyn, apartments are available in some of New York City's oldest and most elegant buildings. From the brownstones of Park Slope and Bedford-Stuyvesant, to the grand Victorian homes in Flatbush, to the early 19th-century red brick Federal houses in Brooklyn Heights. You will also find contemporary luxury high rises, converted warehouses, and homes of all size, description and budget. In the top neighborhoods, apartment prices will often rival those in much of Manhattan.
There are neighborhoods for everyone, from the recently hip enclaves of Greenpoint and Williamsburg, to the family-friendly areas of Park Slope and Windsor Terrace, to the secluded communities of Sheepshead Bay and Sea Gate, to the historic, leafy environs of Carroll Gardens and Brooklyn Heights.
Landmarks and Culture that Rival Manhattan
Brooklyn residents can live near many of New York City's most iconic landmarks and most vital cultural institutions, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, or BAM, which hosts a huge variety of cutting-edge dance, music, and theatrical performances in its opera house and theater. There's also the reknowned Brooklyn Museum, which rivals art museums in all but the largest cities.
The Frederick Law Olmstead- and Calvert Vaux-designed Prospect Park, which features the 90-acre Long Meadow, the Picnic House and Boathouse, and the Prospect Zoo is Brooklyn's best known park. However, other treats such as Marine Park (530 acres of grassland and salt marsh), Fort Greene Park, Sunset Park (with breathtaking vistas), and the new Brooklyn Bridge Park delight residents and visitors alike.
Other landmarks include the magnificent Soldiers' and Sailors' Arch, anchoring Grand Army Plaza, which every Saturday plays host to one of New York City's largest Greenmarket Farmers Markets; the beaches and boardwalk of Coney Island, home to the recently renovated and updated Luna Park. Here you'll find the world-famous, wooden, rickety-sounding (but totally safe) Cyclone rollercoaster, built in 1927 and still terrifying hundreds of thousands of beach goers and thrill seekers almost a century later.
Coney Island is also home to the Brooklyn Cyclones, a minor league team associated with the New York Mets. They play at MCU Park, located just off the boardwalk, with seating for 7500 fans (and another 2500 standing room only). The stadium has also hosted a number of popular concerts.
Of course, lucky Brooklynites may have a view of the magnificent, John and Washington Roebling-designed Brooklyn Bridge, one of the oldest suspension bridges in America (and, for two decades, the longest such bridge in the country), an engineering marvel that is also aesthetically stunning, and a site that not only attracts visitors from all over the world but is also among the most cherished and most heavily trafficked landmarks by native New Yorkers.
Did You Know?
Despite its feeling of openness, especially when compared to the skyscraper-dense Manhattan, Brooklyn is the most heavily populated borough in New York City, and it is the second largest in terms of area. That's right, more people live in Brooklyn than live in Manhattan.
Although the official motto of the borough is (translated from the Dutch), In Unity There is Strength, Brooklyn only became a part of New York City in 1896, and remains fiercely protective of its distinct character and social culture, both by second- and third-generation Brooklynites as well as the many newcomers to the borough who have fallen in love and made it their own.