Prospect Heights – Brooklyn, NY

Situated in northwestern Brooklyn, just 15 minutes from downtown Manhattan by train, Prospect Heights distinguishes itself with tree-lined streets, historic homes and superb cultural attractions. Bordering the north edge of Prospect Park, Prospect Heights lies east of Park Slope and west of Crown Heights. An increasingly diverse set of residents populates the neighborhood, including large numbers of young families, professionals and students. The friendly residential vibe, central location and proximity to green space attract residents, as well as the area’s easy access to shopping destinations and sporting events.

Schools in Prospect Heights

School data provided by GreatSchools

Restaurants & Nightlife

Though lagging a bit behind neighboring Park Slope and Boerum Hill when it comes to dining reputation, Prospect Heights residents have some tasty options. Vanderbilt Avenue and Washington Avenue feature many of the best restaurants and bars. Although not a nightlife scene, the neighborhood keeps night owls entertained with several laid-back bars and lounges. Beloved by area residents, The Islands on Washington Avenue does hole-in-the-wall restaurants proud with authentic Jamaican cuisine in a no-frills atmosphere. If you can fit in the dining room, opt to eat in instead of taking out, and make sure to try the curried goat. You can’t go wrong with anything shrimp-based, either, and the dessert bread pudding perfectly caps a meal. For new American cuisine in a casual atmosphere, check out Purbird on Sixth Avenue near Flatbush Avenue. Diners swoon over the jalapeno mac and cheese, and other comfort food, including the chicken burger with fries. Along with the contrasting decor of dark hardwoods and white subway tiles, selections from this menu can warm up even the coldest of days. A little later on in the evening, grab a few friends and head to Weather Up on Vanderbilt Avenue near Dean Street. The expansive patio provides a reprieve from busy city life in the summer months, and the indoor lounge offers cozy spots for long conversations. Don’t forget to try one of their reasonably priced cocktails; those in the know ask the bartender to come up with a drink on the fly to suit their tastes.

History & Culture

The area known as Prospect Heights remained outlying farmland for centuries after the arrival of Dutch colonists in the 1600s. After real estate speculators began selling land in the 19th century, residents began to settle in this newly established suburban community. Between 1865 and 1900, some of the city’s best architects completed work in the neighborhood, creating historic mansions and rowhouses that still stand as of 2014. Although it historically attracted more middle- and upper-class New Yorkers than some nearby areas, Prospect Heights retained a diversity among residents that continued into the 21st century. Part of the neighborhood has also received recognition as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places, and the area’s southern edge features cultural institutions like the Brooklyn Museum and the central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.

Transportation

Prospect Heights receives high ratings for walkability; indeed, you can run daily 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, with no fewer than nine subway lines running through the area. The B, D, N, Q, R, 2, 3, 4 and 5 trains offer service to Manhattan and southern, eastern and western Brooklyn. Residents also have access to numerous bus routes running in all directions. Given these options, commuters to midtown Manhattan can often make the journey in as little as 30 minutes. Many 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 Vanderbilt Avenue, which leads to Grand Army Plaza and Prospect Park. Car owners can find street parking relatively easily, particularly farther away from the park. Some 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. For a quick trip, hail a green city taxi along a major avenue or, better yet, reserve an Uber.

Cost

The cost of living in Prospect Heights has remained slightly lower than New York City at large, though higher than the Brooklyn average. Renters can find one-bedroom apartments for as low as $1,400 per month, but prices increase exponentially from there. The neighborhood’s desirability and proximity to Manhattan keep prices for groceries and other everyday items a bit higher than the New York City average. A beer at the local bar sets you back around $8, and a car service to midtown Manhattan costs at least $30. Gas prices hover below the New York City average, but remain 9 percent greater than the national average.

Shopping

Though primarily a residential neighborhood, Prospect Heights encompasses Atlantic Center, a transit hub and shopping center, at its northern tip. Shoppers find numerous chain stores in or near the center, including Target and Uniqlo, while smaller businesses cluster on major avenues such as Washington and Vanderbilt. Residents in the area love stopping by the Jill Lindsey boutique for shopping and drinks. This charming shop carries high-end fashions and a full calendar of crafting events and parties. Daily happy hour runs from 6 to 8 p.m., and the small cafe shop serves up fresh desserts to satisfy the sweet tooth. Farther east on Vanderbilt Avenue near St. Marks Avenue, Unnameable Books attracts bookworms from all over the city. The owners stock the shelves with new and used books, creating a wide selection from contemporary fiction to classic poetry. Bring your used books to see if you can make a buck or two, and check out the regular events, including poetry readings in the backyard. Residents seeking groceries and everyday items find various options in Prospect Heights, including chains such as Key Food and Met Foods and independent grocers such as BKLYN Larder, where shoppers find cheese, chocolate, and prepared specialties. Food lovers in search of farm-fresh fare head to the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket at the southwestern corner of the neighborhood, which is open on Saturdays, year-round.

Parks

No single park dominates outdoor life in Prospect Heights like Prospect Park at the neighborhood’s southern edge. 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 Underhill Playground and Dean Playground. Both maintain handball courts and play facilities for children.
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