Getting acquainted with Brooklyn neighborhoods
Brooklyn neighborhoods are, in a way, a microcosm. They are packed with diverse people, interesting stories, and rich history. Brooklyn was founded by the Dutch settlers in the 17th century under the name of Breuckelen. This once independent city was merged (along with East Bronx, Staten Island, and Queens County) with Manhattan and New York City in what the Brooklyn residents at the time called the ”Great mistake of 1898”.
So many legends are from Brooklyn
Brooklyn is now the most populous of the five boroughs, with approximately 2.6 million inhabitants. Over the years, some of the famous ones have included Woody Allen, Barbara Streisand, George Gershwin, Michael Jordan, Jay-Z and many others. It is also home of the very first teddy bear, America’s first roller coaster as well as a bank credit card.
As far as Brooklyn neighborhoods go, each has its own unique characteristics and spirit. Listing all of them here with their myriad of intricacies and peculiarities would make this article a very long read. In order to avoid that, we’ll proceed with naming just the more notable ones.
Perfect home for a family
One of the favorite family-friendly neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Park Slope offers an excellent school system, low crime rate, as well as great parks and playgrounds. With the abundance of great restaurants, you can count on good food and quality family time. And if gastronomic delights are not enough for you, visiting the Prospect Park Zoo is always an option.
Safe and quiet place, Bay Ridge is not as popular as Park Slope, but it sure has its qualities. Some view it as a neighborhood that gives Brooklyn its recognizable character. Packed with history and families that have called Bay Ridge home for many generations, it has that nice vibe of an old, small town. You’ll be sure to find good schools and nice parks, some of which are Shore Parkway, Owl’s Head Park, as well as Fort Hamilton Athletic Field for sports enthusiasts.
Cobble Hill is situated south of Brooklyn downtown and is considered to be among the most beautiful ones. Distinguishing itself as one of the most family-friendly areas, it provides the best of both worlds by having the qualities of a quiet surrounding while simultaneously giving access to all downtown attractions.
Brooklyn neighborhoods packed with good food
Located in the heart of Brooklyn, Crown Heights is going through some rapid changes, with rising rents and shifting demographics, the area is still filled with artistic content. It also offers a taste of the world with cuisines such as Mexican, Indian, Caribbean and many others. Some of the more notable restaurants include Samesa, Mayfield, The Islands, The Food Sermon and others.
Colloquially known as Bed–Stuy, it is a vast Brooklyn neighborhood which has been a cultural center for Brooklyn’s African-American population ever since the 1920s and ’30s. It is noteworthy for its Victorian architecture and historic brownstones. Affordable food comes with creative dinners and great hospitality. The ones that stand out include Eugene and Co., Willow, Peaches Hothouse and Joloff Restaurant.
Coming forth with a variety of cuisines for everyone’s pocket, Greenpoint provides a healthy mix of old and new spots. Easter European restaurants, as well as fantastic bars and boutiques, are just around the corner. We recommend checking out Peter Pan Donuts, Five Leaves, and River Styx.
When it comes to art…
Navy Yard is a waterfront community which earned the nickname “The Can-Do Shipyard” due to the efforts of 70,000 workers during World War II. It used to be an industrial powerhouse but is now filled with old shipyards and refurbished warehouses that stand as representatives of art and tech scene. Marco Sea’s New Lab is a huge former shipbuilding site now used to inspire innovation by hosting almost 300 engineers and entrepreneurs who specialize in robotics and advanced hardware. If science is not your cup of tea, give BLDG 92 a try. It provides space for artists of any kind, as well as some insight into the history of the Navy Yard.
Waterfront location and proximity to Manhattan is what makes Sunset Park so suitable for various creative and collaborative communities. It became one of the new frontiers for garment industry through a quick transformation. Companies ranging from architecture and biotech to film and fashion found their home in this Brooklyn neighborhood. Opportunities for workshops, educational classes, and training are readily available.
Next, to Central Park, Manhattan waterfront and Randall’s Island lays East Harlem, a community with cultural and artistic integrity. This Latin neighborhood worked on providing the artist as much as possible by conducting projects like El Barrio’s Artspace PS109. Once an abandoned public school, it is now an arts facility, with numerous artists living and working under its roof. El Museo del Barrio is also a place worth seeing. It pays tribute to Latin American and Caribbean art, mostly displaying works from Puerto Rico. A must is also the neighborhood staple National Black Theatre, being one of the oldest black theaters in the country.
If nightlife is what you’re after
Bushwick should definitely be on your list. One of the working-class Brooklyn neighborhoods, it is situated in the northern part of the New York City. Nightlife tradition sunk its roots deep here. Some of the hot spots include Bossa Nova Civic Club, Trans-Pecos, and House of Yes, but do not hesitate to dance to DJ performances, since all the locals do. Colorful streets will take you through outdoor galleries since it became the place for the creative crowd.
Home to some of the best critically acclaimed bars in the borough, Red Hook is full of warehouses and shipyards which overflow with artistic content. It is a laid-back neighborhood in western Brooklyn, full of fun restaurants and bars with a cool vibe. Getting there might be a hassle since no trains will take you, but a cab ride or B61 bus will pay off. Places to go: Red Hook Lobster, Valentino Pier, Botanica, Sunny’s bar, and many others.
It may come as a surprise that a family-friendly neighborhood such as Williamsburg made it on the list. It has, after all, become the epicenter for New York City’s hipster culture. After undergoing gentrification influenced by the contemporary art scene and vibrant nightlife. Nicknamed ”Little Berlin”, it is now a center of indie rock and electroclash.
And this brings us to the conclusion of our article: whatever your choice might be, one thing is certain – you can’t go wrong with choosing any of these Brooklyn neighborhoods as your home.