Crown Heights – Brooklyn, NY

Situated in central Brooklyn, just 20 minutes from downtown Manhattan by train, Crown Heights garners a reputation for tree-lined streets, historic homes, and a slow pace of living. Bordering Bedford Stuyvesant, Crown Heights lies east of Prospect Heights and north of Prospect Lefferts Gardens. The neighborhood's population encompass a large number of families as well as young professionals and students, giving the area a friendly residential vibe. Relatively affordable rents and proximity to Prospect Park attract residents, as well as the area's easy access to Manhattan and budding small business community.

Schools in Crown Heights

School data provided by GreatSchools

Restaurants & Nightlife

Brooklyn dining culture may not revolve around Crown Heights, but area residents have plentiful and diverse options. Franklin Avenue near the northern border of the neighborhood acts as a major thoroughfare and features many of the best restaurants and bars. Although not a nightlife destination per se, the neighborhood provides night owls with several laid-back bars and lounges. Beloved by area residents, the Crabby Shack on Franklin Avenue at Dean Street serves up seafood specialties in a no-frills atmosphere. The owners, known for giving all customers a warm reception, have created a neighborhood destination for all things crab. Don't leave without trying their famous crab roll, with perhaps the crab mac and cheese and a crab taco on the side. For finer dining in a casual atmosphere, check out Mayfield on Franklin Avenue near Prospect Place. Foodies flock here for happy hour, when drink specials and dollar oysters keep the dining room buzzing. Stay for dinner to try the buttery spoon bread and odd-but-comforting entrees such as deep-fried quail, all served in a homey atmosphere with an open kitchen and tables made from reclaimed wood. A little later on in the evening, grab a few friends and head to Catfish on Bedford Avenue near Prospect Place. With low-key bartenders and a quality beer list, this place screams neighborhood bar. In the summer months, set up shop on the back patio, where servers gladly keep your glass full. Don't forget to try one of the reasonably priced cocktails — regulars swoon over the Hurricane, a New Orleans classic made with passion fruit and two types of rum.

History & Culture

The area now known as central Brooklyn remained outlying farmland for centuries after the arrival of Dutch colonists in the 1600s. When land became available through auction in the mid-1800s, residents began to settle in what is now Crown Heights, with settlers moving in large numbers after transportation began to improve in the 1880s. The area was attractive to top-notch architects who left their mark in the historic mansions, churches, and row houses still standing today. An influx of new residents made the area home in the 1970s and 80s, giving Crown Heights a reputation for friendliness and a rich history. These characteristics endured even as the early 21st century brought rising housing prices and an eclectic set of new residents.

Transportation

Crown Heights receives high ratings for walkability, and you can run most errands without leaving the neighborhood. At the same time, extensive and reliable mass transit systems make for easy access to the rest of the city. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) operates a 24-hour subway system, and the A and C trains run along the north end of the neighborhood, providing easy access to Manhattan as well as JFK Airport (via the AirTrain). The 2, 3, 4, and 5 trains run through the center and southern portions of the area, with service to Manhattan and southern and eastern Brooklyn. Residents also have access to numerous bus routes bound for points in all directions. Given these options, commuters to midtown Manhattan can often make the journey in as little as 40 minutes. Some residents bike, particularly in the warmer months, and they tend to compete with less traffic than in Manhattan neighborhoods. Several major streets have bike lanes, including Bedford Avenue, and Eastern Parkway has an off-street bike path. Car owners can find street parking relatively easily, and parking garages also exist for those willing to pay. Drivers facing longer commutes can follow Eastern Parkway to Jackie Robinson Parkway or head west to Prospect Expressway. A Long Island Railroad Station at Nostrand Avenue and Atlantic Avenue provides a mass transit option. For a quick trip, hail a green city taxi along a major avenue or reserve a ride with Uber.

Cost

The cost of living in Crown Heights remains slightly lower than New York City at large, though renters can find one-bedroom apartments in Crown Heights for as low as $1,200, and generally with greater square footage than in other neighborhoods. The central Brooklyn location keeps prices for groceries and other everyday items on par with the New York City average. A beer at the local bar sets you back around $7, and a car service to midtown Manhattan can cost as little as $30. Gas prices hover below the New York City average, but are eight percent greater than the national average.

Shopping

The arrival of the 21st century brought significant small business development to Crown Heights. The majority of the newest stores lie in the northwestern part of the neighborhood. For high-quality fashions at discount prices, Crown Heights residents often frequent Installation NYC, a popular boutique on Franklin Avenue. Featuring items by top designers such as Prada and Gucci, art, furnishings and more, this popular neighborhood spot stands as a must-stop shop. The owner has a reputation of making every customer feel at home, and the unique interior and inviting atmosphere only adds more appeal. Farther south on Franklin Avenue near Eastern Parkway, Owl and Thistle General Store puts a 21st-century spin on the general store concept. The owners stock the shelves with stationery, postcards, jewelry, and unique gifts — all in a modern, light-filled shopping space. Owl and Thistle holds regular classes as well, including beginner knitting and soap-making. Residents seeking groceries and everyday items find various options in Crown Heights, with chains such as Associated, Met Food, and specialty groceries such as Pine Tree, where shoppers find organic produce and fresh sushi. Food lovers in search of farm-fresh fare head to the Weeksville Heritage Center at Bergen Street and Buffalo Avenue, which holds a farmers' market and concert series in the summer months.

Parks

No single park dominates outdoor life in Crown Heights like Prospect Park at the neighborhood's southwestern corner. A true urban oasis, Prospect Park covers nearly 600 acres and features running and jogging paths, barbecuing areas, and numerous athletic facilities. The park also has designated areas for dogs and hosts a popular (and free) summertime concert series. Smaller, more intimate green spaces dot the rest of the neighborhood, including Saint Johns Park and Brower Park. The latter has ball courts and a playground and encompasses the Brooklyn Children's Museum, an interactive exhibit space for youngsters since 1899.
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