Take It Or Leave It

Take It or Leave It: Is this Prospect Heights/Crown Heights duplex worth $4,050/month?

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In this edition of Take It or Leave It, our longtime renters consider the virtues and vices of a no-fee 3-bedroom/1.5-bathroom Brooklyn duplex with a private terrace. As always, our panelists—who have a collective 43 years of rental experience—are RentHackr founder Zeb Dropkin, freelance writer Lambeth Hochwald, and BrickUnderground’s own senior editor, Lucy Cohen Blatter.

The Apartment:

Size: 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms
Location: 871 Bergen St. between Classon Ave. and Franklin Ave. in Prospect Heights/Crown Heights, Brooklyn
Cost & concessions: $4,050/month, no broker’s fee
Flexible Layout: Yes, it’s a 2-bedroom/flex-3
Days on the market: 12 days
Subway: S at Park Pl.; C, S at Franklin Ave.; C at Clinton-Washington Aves.; S, 2, 3, 4, 5 at Botanic Garden; 2, 3 at Eastern Pkwy.-Brooklyn Museum; A, C and LIRR at Nostrand Ave.

Pros and Cons:

Zeb: This shiny new duplex gets good light and boasts a balcony and new appliances. On the flip side, it looks like this is a 2-bedroom being priced as a 3-bedroom, and it’s right on the edge of what until fairly recently was a somewhat sketchy area.” 

Lambeth: “It’s hard to knock a no-fee apartment that boasts a balcony and an oversized private terrace. With 2 bedrooms--flex to 3--this newly constructed unit in a fancy building plunked down in ever-evolving Crown Heights is eminently shareable. The main downsides are that it’s a high price to pay for this area, it’s a fairly long walk to Prospect Park, and the neighborhood is in transition—in August there was a shooting at 800 Bergen St. Locals even suggest walking home on the main avenues late at night since it gets relatively dark on Bergen.”

Lucy:  "The building is brand new, and the apartment has its own private outdoor space. The kitchen, while small, is certainly attractive—I really like those cabinets.  And there’s no broker fee. And according to the listing there’s a washer-dryer too, which is certainly a perk. Cons: That nice-looking kitchen is tiny--is that a mini dishwasher I see in there?--and that outdoor space also seems small. Also, I checked with a friend who lives in the neighborhood, who said that the area is dominated by warehouses and auto-body shops, not the Brooklyn charm you might be looking for. There’s also not a lot in terms of conveniences, and the Franklin Avenue subway stop is around 10 minutes away.”

Who would this apartment be perfect for?

Zeb: “Roommates who are prepared to live in a neighborhood that’s in transition in return for outdoor space and new appliances.”

Lambeth:  “A couple of 20-something pals/urban pioneers who love Crosby Coffee—which is located right around the corner on Classon Avenue—and don’t mind being a bit off the beaten path.”

Lucy: “Roommates who don’t cook a lot, want a new apartment and are willing to be neighborhood pioneers.”

The Verdict(s):

TAKE IT “…if you’re comfortable with the neighborhood and really want the amenities. ” —Zeb

LEAVE IT “…and move someplace where it’s safe to be out after dark.”—Lambeth

LEAVE IT “…and look for a cuter area or a more charming apartment elsewhere in Crown Heights for even less.”—Lucy

Ready to rent? Check out our How to Rent Guide...and if the apartment you like requires a guarantor that you don’t have, see if the landlord accepts Insurent, a guarantor solution from one of BrickUnderground’s sponsors.


Take It Or Leave It is a weekly column in which a panel of long-time renters weighs in on the pros and cons of an apartment that’s currently on the market.

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