I lived in Gravesend, Brooklyn (a highly residential neighborhood just north of Coney Island) for 12 years. The upside? The rent was $850 a month for a big one-bedroom. The downside? There was not much to do in the way of nightlife.
The apartment was relatively convenient, though. I was about two blocks from the F and 10 blocks from the N.
When I decided to move, my girlfriend and I looked mostly in Brooklyn -- Prospect Heights, Carroll Gardens, and Park Slope. But we found that those neighborhoods were just too expensive, especially since we were looking for a two-bedroom and wanted to spend about $1,800.
Bay Ridge was a little bit more affordable (though we went over $1,800 anyway), but the big difference was that it offers more space. We found a large three-bedroom, two-bathroom in a third-floor walk-up, and moved in about a month ago.
I'm still getting to know the neighborhood, but it's great so far. There are so many things to do right around the corner -- bars and restaurants, you name it, it’s there. I've already tried My Thai and Olla Wine Bar, both of which were nice. There are a couple of good dive bars, too, which I like.
It also feels really safe. At night you see a lot of young people walking around, going out.
The only downside is that the closest train, the R, takes forever, about 50-60 minutes to my office in midtown. That's actually a little bit worse than my subway commute from Gravesend.
I paid a little bit extra for a spot in the driveway of my building, but Bay Ridge is known to be awful in terms of parking.
The neighborhood is a total mix -- young and old, families and single people. There are mom-and-pop shops and restaurants, but there are also convenient chain stores like Dunkin' Donuts, Chock Full of Nuts and Rite Aid.
In Gravesend you didn't have that variety, a lot of the storefronts were medical centers and dentists.
Bay Ridge has that charming Brooklyn feel, but it also feels like it’s kept its neighborhood feel -- it still feels authentic. It's kept its character.