Living in Brooklyn Heights
Brooklyn Heights is a desirable neighborhood in Brooklyn that has houses many famous artists including Bob Dylan (who sings about Montague Street in "Tangled Up In Blue"), and Truman Capote, as well as the famous abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher. It stretches from Old Fulton Street, near the Brooklyn Bridge south to Atlantic Avenue, with the river to the West and Court Street to the East.
The neighborhood is composed almost entirely of beautiful brownstones, many of which are still single family, and some of which are mansions, as well as some stately apartment buildings. The architecture ranges in style from federal-style houses from the early 19th century, Italianate brownstones, and Greek revival houses. Because much of Brooklyn Heights is a historical district, there are very few high-rise buildings.
Housing is expensive. Single-family brownstones cost upwards of 2.5 million dollars, but perhaps can be bargained down these days. Apartments are more affordable than brownstones, and a two-bedroom apartment can sometimes be found for under one million dollars, much more affordable than similarly desirable Manhattan neighborhoods.
There's a mix of people in Brooklyn Heights - residents who have lived there since before the neighborhood became so upscale, young yuppies and families. There are a host of religions represented in the community of people living in Brooklyn Heights, including Jews, Muslims and Christians, specifically, though not exclusively, Jehova's Witnesses, who have their headquarters in Brooklyn Heights.
Brooklyn Heights is one of the nicest places to live in Brooklyn. Crime happens everywhere, but walking around late at night in Brooklyn Heights is not an issue. The streets are well lit, and on the commercial streets, many stores are open late into the night, if not all night.
Parks and Recreation
The Brooklyn Heights promenade, a third-of-a-mile stretch which traverses the BQE, has sweeping views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan, and is a beautiful spot the locals and tourists alike like to sit at or run on. Cadman Plaza Park, on the border of Brooklyn Heights and downtown Brooklyn, is a small green space, nice for sitting and walking right near Borough Hall, the post office, and the court houses.
The Equinox gym is the neighborhood's most expensive and fanciest gym, complete with a spin studio, spa and yoga classes. It's located on Joralemon Street. Slightly more affordable options are Curves gym and the New York Sports Club, both on Court Street. Gold's gym, located on Livingston Street, is probably the neighborhood's most affordable gym is quite well-appointed. There are also yoga studios and Karate Studios.
Pubs, Clubs and Entertainment
There are a great stretch of bars on Atlantic Avenue, including Pete's, which has a great beer selection, Floyd's, at which you can play Bocce inside, and Last Exit, a hipster bar with a good dance party on many weekdays and weeknights. Brooklyn Heights Cinema, on Henry Street, plays art movies. United Artists Court Street Stadium has 12 theaters, and shows first-run, blockbuster movies.
Atlantic Antic, a street fair that runs down Atlantic Avenue sometime is September, brings out many local food sellers, all of whom sell certain items on the street, as well as a variety of local craftspeople. Also in September is the Brooklyn Book Festival, in which borough hall is covered with various book publishers and sellers. The courthouse and the historical society host readings and lectures throughout the weekend, and there are also a lot of events that take place outside on the plaza. The book festival attracts many well-known and award winning writers. There's also a public library on Cadman Plaza West and Tillary Street.
Shopping and Eating
There's a Key Food on Montague Street and another one on Atlantic. Both are well-stocked and affordable places to shop. Trader Joe's, on Court and Atlantic offers good store brand dry goods and prepared foods. There are a number of green grocers on Atlantic Avenue that have excellent produce. Perelandra, on Remsen Street, is a well-stocked, if somewhat overpriced, health food store. Lassen & Hennigs, on Montague Street, is a deli, bakery and grocery store that has been run by the same family since 1949. It has delicious prepared foods and bakery items. Borough Hall has a lovely farmer's market that runs all year long. In the winter, there are only three or four vendors, but in the summer and fall months, there are many vendors covering the whole plaza, and selling fresh produce, cheese, meat and delicious breads every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Brooklyn Heights is great for eating. People argue about the best local restaurants. The Wine Bar, on Henry Street, has a wonderful wood-and-dimly-lit-by-candles interior and is a wonderful place to bring a date. Mazzat, on Columbia Street, a Mediterranean tapas place, is relatively affordable, quite tasty, and another nice restaurant for a date. Noodle Pudding, on Henry Street, has delicious Italian food, and is somewhat more upscale, despite the homey name. Their daily homemade pasta specials are particularly worth trying. Brooklyn Heights is a short walk from the famous Grimaldi's Pizza, located in DUMBO. Get there early. Lines for tables stretch out the door starting at around 6pm, and on weekends, the line will often loop around the block.
The Housing Works thrift store on Montague Street has excellent, if sometimes pricey, used furniture and clothes.
Brooklyn Heights is very close to lower Manhattan and has great access to public transportation. The 2/3/4/5/M and R trains are at Borough Hall, the A/C stops at High Street or Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn, and the F train stops at York Street in DUMBO, a short walk away, as well as at Jay Street. Brooklyn Heights is also close enough to Manhattan that most cab drivers will make drop-offs from Manhattan without complaining, and there are cabs to hail on the street in the neighborhood as well.