Located in northwestern Brooklyn,
just a 15-minute subway ride from lower Manhattan, Boerum Hill
earns its reputation as a desirable residential neighborhood with tree-lined streets, a calm pace of life, and charming shops and restaurants. Bordering the northern edge of Gowanus,
Boerum Hill lies east of Cobble Hill
and south of Downtown Brooklyn.
Families and young professionals make up the majority of Boerum Hill’s population, many of whom find the area’s suburban feel attractive. The neighborhood’s proximity to Manhattan, historic architecture and access to mass transit also attract residents.
Schools in Boerum Hill
School data provided by GreatSchools
Restaurants & Nightlife
Boerum Hill’s dining scene draws visitors from across the city, with plenty of options for both casual meals and special occasions. Many of the best restaurants lie near Atlantic Avenue in the north-central part of the neighborhood. Night owls looking for raging dance parties may want to look elsewhere, but the area offers plenty of quieter pubs and dive bars, also clustering around Atlantic Avenue, to suit those who enjoy a more laid-back night out on the town.
Perhaps Brooklyn’s best-known restaurant, and one with considerable international acclaim, The Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare on Schermerhorn Street serves a tasting menu of more than 15 courses in an intimate space with seating for 18 people. With three Michelin stars and countless raves from top food critics, The Chef’s Table serves seafood-focused new American fare to discerning guests. The chef allows no food photos or note-taking during the meal, and snagging a reservation can be tricky. Call on Monday morning six weeks before your desired dining date, and prepare to hit the redial button until you get through.
For everyday eating in a casual atmosphere, check out Hanco’s on Smith Street near Dean Street. Regulars rave about the classic Vietnamese cuisine, including banh mi sandwiches on crusty baguette and the noodle soup known as pho, served with basil, lime wedges and bean sprouts. Try the bubble tea, available in a range of flavors from coconut to mocha to green tea.
After dinner, head to St. Gambrinus Beer Shoppe on Atlantic Avenue near Barclays Center. Perfect for grabbing a drink before a game or concert, St. Gambrinus features a wide selection of craft beers as well as wine and light snacks. When the weather’s nice, order a pint and sit in their back patio area. Make sure to check their website often to see what’s on tap.
History & Culture
The area comprising Boerum Hill remained rural for centuries after Dutch colonists arrived in the 1600s. The area had two main landowners by the mid-1800s: the Gerritsen and Martenese families. Between 1840 and 1870, developers divided the land and laid out the street grid that still exists today, leading to a large influx of new residents.
The architecture from this period reflects various styles, from Greek revival to Queen Anne, and many of these structures survived into the 21st century. Generally prosperous times in the neighborhood eventually devolved into a downswing in the 1960s, but the development of nearby Smith Street at the border with Cobble Hill helped revive the area.
The completion of Barclays Center in 2012 brought world-class athletic and cultural events to the neighborhood. Residents also have access to the Micro Museum on Smith Street, a gallery featuring pop-up multimedia exhibitions from local artists.
As a small neighborhood, Boerum Hill lends itself to walking, and residents often run errands without leaving the community. However, the area is one of the most well-connected in New York, with 13 subway lines - the A, B, C, D, F, G, N, Q, R, 2, 3, 4 and 5 - running through or near the neighborhood. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) operates these lines 24 hours a day, providing access to nearly every corner of the city. Plenty of bus routes run through the area as well. Given all of these options, riders can reach midtown Manhattan in as little as 25 minutes.
Biking is popular in Boerum Hill, especially on the quieter side streets, though several major thoroughfares have bike lanes. Car owners may encounter difficulty finding street parking, but garages offer an easier solution for a price. For commutes to points outside the city, drivers can hop on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, which runs just north of the neighborhood. If all else fails, hail a yellow or green city taxi on Atlantic Avenue or reserve an Uber with your smartphone.
The cost of living in Boerum Hill is higher than the New York City average. Renters face a limited housing stock and pay an average monthly rate of $2,800 for a one bedroom,
with units in newly renovated buildings going for much more.
Due to the neighborhood’s desirable location, prices for groceries and other everyday items are also higher than the New York City average. A beer at the local bar costs around $6, and expect to hand over around $30 for a car service to midtown Manhattan. Gas prices run below the New York City average but 9 percent above than the national average.
With easy mass transit access, Boerum Hill has found success as a shopping destination. Most of the larger chain stores, such as Uniqlo, lie in or near Atlantic Center, while smaller businesses tend to cluster on or south of Atlantic Avenue.
City dwellers may face unique challenges when it comes to gardening, but Dig on Atlantic Avenue has just the products and expertise to suit green thumbs in small spaces. From fresh herbs to plants that thrive in the shade, Dig’s options do not leave customers wanting. Make sure to ask the friendly and knowledgeable staff for help, and consider buying a terrarium package, the modern staple of a Brooklyn apartment.
A few blocks south on Nevins Street, The Brooklyn Circus specializes in men’s clothing rooted in history but with an eye toward contemporary fashion. From varsity jackets to cardigans to thick-knit beanies, shoppers find plenty to love. The prices may match the quality, but check the sale rack for hidden treasures.
For groceries and other everyday items, Boerum Hill offers chain stores, such as Target, as well as smaller independent shops, such as Jesse & Co Market Place. Locavores should make the short trip to the Brooklyn Borough Hall Greenmarket at Court and Montague streets. The market operates on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays year-round.
Boerum Hill contains two small parks that attract athletes and sun-lovers of all ages. Nicholas Naquan Heyward Jr. Park maintains basketball and handball courts, and Boerum Park features a playground and spray showers. Joggers and dog-walkers are a common sight on the neighborhood’s tree-lined streets, which act as an inviting green space all their own.
Every spring in nearby Gowanus, the Thomas Greene Playground hosts the Gowanus Grind, a day-long festival featuring a skateboarding competition. With local food, live music and activities such as face-painting, the festival provides fun for the whole family.