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Where should you move when the L train shuts down?

By Virginia K. Smith | December 28, 2016 - 11:41AM 

As city officials and developers alike rush to figure out alternatives for the planned L train shutdown in 2019, many L-train adjacent New Yorkers are already plotting where to relocate when their main source of transit stops running. This is particularly true in north Brooklyn, which, unlike neighborhoods along 14th Street in Manhattan, doesn't have much in the way of transportation alternatives.

But different residents have different needs, and there's not exactly a one-size-fits-all answer to the question: Where should I go now?

[This article was first published on June 20, 2016.]

"A lot of what happens will depend on what the city does and what industry does," says Jeff Schleider, senior vice president of business development at Citi Habitats. "If Uber and Lyft get really efficient with carpool rides, and if ferry service increases, for instance, the luxury Williamsburg renter might not be that affected."

But for people who do end up needing to relocate, the name of the game will be finding something as convenient—and close by—as possible. That in mind, we asked Brooklyn brokers for advice on where you might want to start looking if you're eyeing the exits from north Brooklyn:

If you're just there for the nightlife...

If convenience, combined with an abundance of bars and venues, was your top priority all along, it's time to start looking either in south Williamsburg, or across the East River in Alphabet City, both of which have rental options that are comparably priced (if not slightly cheaper) than so-called "prime Williamsburg."

For most renters, the top priority is "finding something that's close to their current neighborhood but has better transportation options," says Schleider. So you're more likely to see Williamsburg renters look for options elsewhere in Brooklyn or in lower Manhattan, rather than, say, making the jump to the Upper East Side just because it might be cheaper.

For better or worse, south Williamsburg is getting more developed by the day, and as Citi Habitats' Mario Mangiameli notes, the neighborhood "puts you closer to the JMZ, so you can easily get into Manhattan."

Similarly, says Schleider, they've definitely seen a stream of Brooklynites looking in Alphabet City, where, he points out, "you walk a bit and have access to all these other trains besides the L." And with lots of new development heading to the area, by the time the shutdown kicks in, there'll be more than enough options in the area for renters who were drawn to Williamsburg in part by the shiny new apartments.

If you've got kids and a commute...

For renters in need of family-friendly amenities and reliable, fast train service into Manhattan, take your search to areas like Fort Greene, downtown Brooklyn, or really, anything off the Q train.

"I think the Q will be the line people look to as an alternative while the repairs are going on," says Douglas Elliman broker Emily Matles. Given the immense amount of hype surrounding all things related to the L train, the Q is "kind of a forgotten hero" as a fast, convenient artery for commuters headed into Manhattan.

With all the new development and dense concentration of amenities, the neighborhoods surrounding Atlantic Terminal could be a natural transition for north Brooklynites. "Park Slope and Boerum Hill are nearby, too, though they're brownstone neighborhoods so it's not that same type of Williamsburg feel," Matles notes. They're also quite pricey, and while they've got plenty of amenities, tend to be geared more toward family life as opposed to nightlife. 

"But as along as you can be close enough to the Atlantic Terminal, that would be the most helpful scenario," she adds. "There, you've got the B, D, N, R, Q, 4, and 5 that get you into the city." 

If you're living with a bunch of roommates in Bushwick...

Though Ridgewood has gotten plenty of hype (and Bushwick expats) in recent years, given its limited housing stock and sole dependence on the M train, your better bet if you're looking to find something large, cheap-ish, and close to both amenities and multiple train options, would be to hop across the Broadway border into Bed-Stuy.

"There are parts of Bushwick where you can be closer to the JMZ," Mangiameli notes, "And over into Bed-Stuy can be a good alternative as well. It's a different feel in terms of the neighborhood, but inventory is still good, and prices are reasonable, as well."

It's also a fairly common transition already, as the two neighborhoods border each other along Broadway, and in particular, share the hub of bars, restaurants, and venues around Myrtle-Broadway. "The Bushwick and Bed-Stuy markets already overlap, and Bed-Stuy is going to see a tremendous amount of influx from Bushwick residents [when the L shuts down]," adds Schleider. "Bushwick has a high rate of young, mobile renters who tend to move frequently anyway, and often are looking for better value." 

**This article was first published on June 20, 2016.**


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