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Rent Coach: Best Brooklyn neighborhoods for a West Village refugee

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Q. I've lived in the West Village for the past twelve years and recently decided to move to Brooklyn after getting a divorce this past year.  That being said, I love the history, charm, and the amazing restaurants in the Village and hope to find something similar in Brooklyn. 

Where would you recommend that I look?

A. There are a number of beautiful neighborhoods in Brownstone Brooklyn with a feel similar to that of the West Village.  Here are a few that you might want to consider:

  • Brooklyn Heights:  Traditionally one of the most upscale neighborhoods in the borough, this area has beautiful brownstones, tree-lined streets, and is only one subway stop from Lower Manhattan.  The promenade offers expansive views of the Manhattan skyline, Brooklyn Bridge Park has become a city-wide destination, and Montague Street is the retail center.
  • Carroll Gardens:  Also known for its historic housing stock and beautiful streets, this neighborhood has a vibrant restaurant and bar scene along Smith Street and Court Street.  You also have great subway access via the F and G trains. 
  • Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill:  Once again, any lover of architecture will be quite pleased with the housing stock in these neighborhoods.  Residents are wedged between Brooklyn Heights and Carroll Gardens and like their neighbors in the latter, spend much of their free time enjoy the eclectic mix of stores and dining on Smith and Court Street. Expect a 20 minute commute to Lower Manhattan by train.
  • Fort Greene:  This area has gentrified substantially over the past decade and is now one of Brooklyn’s most popular neighborhoods.  Fort Greene Park offers access to greenery and farmer’s markets, Pratt institute is the center of culture in the community, and much of the neighborhood’s architecture is protected from development by the Historic District (especially near Clinton Hill).  Fort Greene real estate is generally less expensive than the above-mentioned neighborhoods and nearby Park Slope. Even better, you can shave about ten minutes off the train ride from Park Slope.
  • Park Slope: Often cited as the most family-friendly neighborhood in Brooklyn, Park Slope has great schools as well as restaurants and shopping on Fifth and Seventh Avenues, and the streets are reminiscent of the Village.  Situated just west of Prospect Park (the largest park in Brooklyn), residents have access to some of the best outdoor activities in Brooklyn.  Real estate is hardly inexpensive here, but it’s not Manhattan either. Depending on how many blocks you live from the nearest train, expect a 25-30 minute ride to downtown Manhattan.
  • Prospect Heights:  Located just north of Prospect Park, this neighborhood is often said to be the most up-and-coming in Brooklyn at this time, though there are still numerous streets that reflect its past.  With real estate prices substantially less than in nearby Park Slope, access to trendy nightlife on Vanderbilt Ave., and the new Barclay’s arena bringing an NBA team to the neighborhood, there has been a large influx of young people into this neighborhood.  Transportation options are plentiful as the neighborhood borders the Atlantic Terminal, which has access to the 2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, N, Q and R trains, as well as the LIRR and numerous buses.    All this being said, this neighborhood doesn’t quite have the charm that you may have become accustomed to in the Village.    

Mike Akerly is a New York City real estate attorney, landlord, and real estate broker. He is also the publisher of the Greenwich Village blog VillageConfidential.  

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