New York City / Brooklyn, New York

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Williamsburg

Young Professionals/Creative Types

As noted there are young professionals flocking to plenty of different neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Williamsburg feels like the “granddaddy” of these gentrified spots with Bushwick and Greenpoint newer options to put on your list to check out. The commonality for a lot of these neighborhoods is lots of beautiful brick buildings with “good bones” that once bought and fixed up become cool loft homes surrounding by boutique shops, cafes, and cool eateries to keep you local on weekends rather than feeling you have to head into Manhattan to have a fun night out.

  • Williamsburg
  • Bushwick
  • Greenpoint
  • Dumbo

Park Slope

LGBTQ+/Families

Park Slope is incredibly popular with the LGBTQ+ community. In fact it has the most female same-sex couples in the entire NYC metro area. While Park Slope does have LGBTQ+ owned and supportive businesses the pull seems more to be just how nice the neighborhood is. The great big gigantic park means you can essentially live next to something equivalent to Central Park but for a heck of a lot less money. Windsor Terrace is another popular LGBTQ neighborhood in Brooklyn. Popular in part due to being next to Prospect Park and in part due to the tree-lined streets, tons of cafes and beautiful row houses that run quite a bit less than those in Park Slope.

  • Park Slope
  • Windsor Terrace
  • East Williamsburg

Brooklyn Heights

Families

Park Slope is probably the most famous of the family-friendly neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The massive park is the most obvious draw but you also are surrounded by big single family homes and huge flats/apartments by NYC standards. You can’t throw a stick without hitting a stroller so for starters you will be surrounded by young families. The schools, both public and private, are excellent here, and while plenty of people go out in Manhattan, there are tons of restaurants, bars and cafes for nights out close by. Brooklyn Heights is another amazing option for families that can afford the most expensive neighborhood in Brooklyn. Absolutely stunning homes and block after tree-lined block of brownstones and even some cobble-stoned streets make it as scenic an area as you can live in the city.

  • Park Slope
  • Brooklyn Heights
  • Bay Ridge
  • Cobble Hill/Boerum Hill

Bushwick

Families/LGBTQ+/DINKs/SINKs

Still an artist neighborhood… for now.

As one resident put it, “Bushwick is all about your ‘scene.’ There are DIY punks, EDM, LGBTQ, sex, drugs, art, and creativity.” With dozens of galleries, art studios, and street art throughout, Bushwick’s reputation has become more and more solidified over the past couple of decades. Since the 20th century, Bushwick has also become a home increasingly for the Hispanic population of New York. Williamsburg and Bushwick host a Puerto Rican Day Parade, and Latin food and music are a part of Bushwick’s culture. On the other hand, there’s “the money that’s buying up the area and slowly washing those fun parts away.” Since 2000, the rise of real estate prices in nearby Manhattan has made the neighborhood more attractive to younger professionals.

Converted warehouse lofts, brownstones, limestone-brick townhouses, and other renovated buildings make up the majority of the residential parts of Bushwick. Among the six-family apartment buildings and two- and three-family townhouses, there are three developments built by the Housing Authority of New York City.

The commute to Manhattan is convenient with the L and J/Z/M lines. Staying closer to the L seems to give you better mileage (both literally and figuratively), but biking is the best way to get around locally. There are always new bars and restaurants opening up, so you’ll never run out of new things to try. To quote Katerina Hybenova of Bushwick Daily: “There’s more to Bushwick than secret warehouse raves, polyamory, declining crime rates, and celebrities parading themselves at Roberta’s.” One recommendation was to get renter’s insurance. There is still crime, but it’s been steadily declining for decades. That being said, be smart about it, and pay attention to your surroundings, especially at night.

If you’re looking to cash in on the social capital of living in Bushwick, cash in while it’s still relatively affordable. Ignore the fact that some people are claiming Ridgewood is really where it's at, and enjoy that Bushwick is hanging on to its queer/countercultural/grunge image, and its working-class communities. And they are real communities.

Cobble Hill/Boerum Hill

Families

Family Friendly

Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill are two neighborhoods in northwest Brooklyn. They’re generally considered more high-end and family-friendly, although there is still a working class population to be found here. Cobble Hill has many pre-Civil War churches, and some have been converted to residential use. The vibe is more low-key, with plenty of cafes, restaurants, and bars. There are brownstones and single family homes full of families and young professionals. The streets are tree-lined, and the boutiques are trendy.

Boerum Hill has a similar vibe to Cobble Hill, with stores, restaurants, and brownstones. There are plenty of galleries and artists in this neighborhood, and not one but two Trader Joe’s. This is also the neighborhood where Jean-Michel Basquiat spent his childhood. The main complaint that people have about Boerum Hill is that it takes about half an hour to walk to Prospect Park (the struggle is real). This area is great for food options, with a whole host of different markets and bakeries (like Sahadi and Damascus Bakery on Atlantic), but it gets pretty quiet after 9 pm. If you’re looking for nightlife, it isn’t too far away, but this is definitely a quieter area.

Greenpoint

Young Professionals/DINKs/SINKs

Yuppie Central

Greenpoint was formerly an industrial area, but it has transformed into a hipster/yuppie paradise. A real community has sprung up around this neighborhood. It is completely full of great bars and restaurants, some bougier than others. There’s plenty of thrifting too. Greenpoint’s proximity to Williamsburg can be seen in the myriad of vintage shops and galleries. This small northern part of Brooklyn relies on the G train to get further into Brooklyn, making transit super easy… as long as it's running. There are plenty of bus lines for those looking to get to the 7 in Queens or other parts of Brooklyn. Formerly a Polish neighborhood, you can find a Michelin Star Pierogi restaurant and plenty of other Polish take-out spots. Greenpoint is the real-life version of what New York looks like on TV shows. Newtown Creek is a former Superfund sight, so it’s seen some pollution. Even so, people love how they can go from the best bars to the best pizza spots on the same block without spending Manhattan money. There are very few boring places in Greenpoint, every part of this neighborhood has personality.

Dumbo

Young Professionals/DINKs/SINKs

Because calling it Down Under the Manhattan Bridge would be dumb.

Dumbo (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass) is a neighborhood in Brooklyn that borders the Brooklyn Bridge and is bisected by the Manhattan Bridge. It has what are almost certainly the best views of the Financial District and the harbor in the city, so it tends be a touristy area. Dumbo is a beautiful neighborhood, with a mix a new developments and refurbished warehouses. Brooklyn Bridge Park runs along the border, offering plenty of free music events and activities. With two bridges and ferry, transportation to Manhattan is super easy, although you may want to make sure your building is soundproofed enough not to hear the trains 24/7. Since the 90’s when the zoning was changed from industrial to residential, the neighborhood has acquired a grocery store, a plethora of trendy restaurants and shops, and a reputation as a tech hub in the city.

Red Hook

Young Professionals/DINKs/Young Families

On the Water

Red Hook is a quiet coastal New England town that somehow got transported to Brooklyn, New York. This neighborhood has been developing from a shipping area to a high-end residential neighborhood, with new white box luxury condos springing up near the water. Although this neighborhood is more isolated, there are some great bars, barbecue, and seafood restaurants along Van Brunt St (there’s also a garden center and a supermarket). Red Hook is seriously beautiful. It has cobblestone-lined streets and converted Pre-Civil War warehouses along a waterfront with views of Governors Island and the Statue of Liberty. Many of the residents here are young families or creatives, and the people who have lived here for a while have built a close-knit community.
What makes or breaks Red Hook is how much you love the isolated, coastal town vibes of this neighborhood. The public transportation is not the best– although with the B61 bus, it usually takes fewer than 40 minutes to get to the Financial District, and there’s also a ferry stop. This is one of the few neighborhoods in Brooklyn where a car really comes in handy. Luckily, there’s lots of parking. And a Tesla showroom. Another thing to know is that Red Hook’s proximity to the water means that the streets do sometimes flood during hurricane season, so living above the ground floor is the best way to make this neighborhood work.

  • Red Hook Lobster Pound
  • Waterfront Museum
  • Look North Gallery

Bedford-Stuyvesant

Young Professionals/Young Families

Actually the Most Brownstones

Bedford-Stuyvesant, AKA Bed-Stuy, is a neighborhood in Brooklyn south of Williamsburg and north of Crown Heights. There are many designated historical sights preserving this neighborhood’s African American history and cultural heritage. There are some tensions between lifelong residents and newcomers, though making an effort to know your neighbors and support local businesses goes a long way when it comes to forging a relationship with your community. Bed-Stuy has beautiful tree-lined streets and the largest collection of Victorian brownstones anywhere. Despite the young families and hipsters moving to the neighborhood, it's still a multicultural area with diverse dining and nightlife options. This area is serviced by not one, but four branches of the Brooklyn Public Library, and almost too many public transportation lines to count. Bed-Stuy is represented by Hakeem Jeffries, and the neighborhood is definitely liberal.
Also, for the size of this neighborhood, an incredible amount of actors and musicians are from here: Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G., Chris Rock, Aaliyah, Mike Tyson, Tracy Morgan, Vanessa Williams, and the list keeps going. There might be something in the water. Fittingly, there are tons of murals and art appreciation events here celebrating the past and current artists of this neighborhood. Its former reputation in the late 20th century has mostly been overturned, though, like every neighborhood in New York, it's still important to have common sense. Bed-Stuy is a neighborhood that its residents take a lot of pride in, so living here means embracing your new community, and being a good neighbor so they embrace you back.

  • Dynaco
  • Dept of Culture
  • Bedford-Stuyvesant Museum of African Art

Flatbush

Families/Retirees

Don’t Stop the Music

The first thing people talk about with Flatbush is its community feel. This is definitely a place where you can and should get to know your neighbors. On the other hand, it’s not a place to live if your reaction to loud music is to call the cops. On residential blocks, you’ll find plenty of families and retirees. This is a great neighborhood if you enjoy Caribbean food, and also a place to celebrate J’Ouvert, a street festival signaling the start of Carnival. (As with most festivals, keep your head on your shoulders, and stay away if you don’t want the party atmosphere.)
Flatbush is conveniently serviced by the Q, making it easy to get into Manhattan. This is an especially good thing because parking is not easy to come by. In addition to regular bus lines, there are also dollar vans, aka mini buses that are usually cheaper than regular MTA lines. There’s a variety of architectural styles, from classic brick apartment buildings to row houses, to Victorian-style houses. Like housing, the people are also incredibly diverse. Flatbush is also just south of Prospect Park, making it a great place to enjoy the greenery and lively neighborhood vibes when it gets warm out.

  • Errol’s Bakery
  • King’s Theater