Blocks of 19th-century brownstones. The Brooklyn Academy of Music. The soaring Prison Ship Martyrs Monument. Barclay’s Center. A gorgeous view of the Lower Manhattan skyline from a 30-acre park. Where am I? I’m in Fort Greene, one of Brooklyn’s most sought-after neighborhoods that’s only minutes from Manhattan.
Wedged between Downtown Brooklyn and Clinton Hill and adjacent to Boerum Hill, Prospect Heights, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Fort Greene has become an incredibly desirable place to live and visit. Why? There’s an undeniable small-town feel, a robust selection of bars, eateries, and independent retailers, plus Fort Greene Park anchors the neighborhood, providing residents a nature-filled reprieve from city life.
Welcome to Fort Greene, Brooklyn!
Location is a perk too. Getting to and from Fort Greene is fairly straightforward. More than a dozen subway lines run through the neighborhood, and the Long Island Railroad Atlantic Terminal station is here too. As you stray from the edges of the area, though, longer treks to the subway are common. Buses, however, offer a terrific alternative to getting around.
You’ll find a slew of restaurants lining Dekalb Avenue as well as additional mom-and-pop businesses along Myrtle Avenue, Fulton Street, and Lafayette. For restaurants, Gentleman Farmer (farm-to-table cuisine), Black Forest Brooklyn (German food), Samui (Thai food and cocktails), and Mullanes Bar & Grill are just a few of the edible offerings in Fort Greene. Fave local shops like Bird for women’s clothing, Greenlight Bookstore, Green for home goods, and JILL LINDSEY – a boutique meets coffee and wine bar meets music spot – give residents a reason to eat, drink and shop without ever leaving their hood.
Thanks to Fort Greene’s piece of the Brooklyn Cultural District, locals have the opportunity to attend world-class music, dramatic, and dance performances as well as see exciting art exhibits without ever leaving their neighborhood. Besides BAM, BRIC House (an arts and media center), Mark Morris Dance Company, Urban Glass, MoCADA (Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts) and other cultural organizations have homes in Fort Greene.
Wow – Fort Greene sounds like a fantastic place to be, doesn’t it? Locals think so. It’s common to hear the diverse community praise (if not brag about) their neighborhood.
All that Fort Greene offers comes at a cost. Expect to pay upwards of $2,500 to rent a one-bedroom and more than $3,000 to rent a two-bedroom (new buildings with more amenities can ask as much as $5,000). If you’re able to buy real estate, you’ll fork over anywhere from $500,000 to $900,000 for a one-bedroom, and in the range of $1.2 to $1.8 million for a two-bedroom condo. Better start saving now.
Fort Greene wasn’t always such an appealing place to live, however. In the 1980s and ’90s, crime was high, and some claimed that there were two Fort Greenes: the beautiful brownstone and tree-lined Fort Greene, and the dangerous side of the neighborhood where muggings and murders weren’t uncommon. Today, that dividing line still exists, but it’s been blurred. You’ll see some remnants of the area from 25 or 30 years ago, but you’ll also see people from all walks of life – some have lived there for five years and some for 50 – and all income classes coexisting. Let’s hope that Fort Greene sticks around.
Have you been to Fort Greene, Brooklyn? It’s hard not to fall in love with the neighborhood. It has a wonderful energy about it.
Many thanks to Eric Barao for the photos in this post!