Living in Carroll Gardens
Carroll Gardens is an area of Brooklyn bordered to the north by Boerum/Cobble Hill, and to the west by Red Hook. It extends from Baltic Street to the north to 9th Street in the south. It is characterized by row houses and brownstones that have large gardens in the back.
Rental prices range around $1200-$1700 for a 1-bedroom, and cheaper for two or more bedrooms. Brownstones are expensive (upwards of $1.5 Million Dollars), but you can find a two-bedroom apartment unit in a Brownstone for under $600,000 these days, if you are lucky and patient.
Carroll Gardens is a long-standing Italian American neighborhood, and many of these people still live there. This area of Brooklyn is gentrifying fast, so mixed in with the working and middle class Italian Americans are new upper middle class brownstone owners, and young people in their 20s and 30s who are renting from them. There is also a large Latino population in the south end of the neighborhood and just to the east and west, going towards Gowanus and Red Hook respectively.
Statistically, Carroll Gardens has one of the lowest crime rates in New York City. It feels safe to walk around there at all hours of the day and night. The streets are well-lit and well-kept.
Parks and Recreation
Carroll Park is a block-long area of playgrounds, walkways and sitting areas between Court and Smith Streets, with Carroll Street as its southern boundary. There are a number of gyms in the neighborhood, including the locally-owned Body Elite and the chain Curve gym. There are also a number of Yoga studios on both Smith Street and Court Street including Area Yoga and the Yoga Center of Brooklyn.
Pubs, Clubs and Entertainment
Cobble Hill Cinema is a short walk away. During the summer, the Celebrate Brooklyn festival occurs in Prospect Park, which is a good 30-minute walk east from Carroll Street.
Gowanus Yacht Club, on the corner of Smith and President streets is a fun place to go out in summer months. There is no indoor seating, just outdoor picnic tables where people sit for hours at night or on weekend days enjoying pitchers of cool beer, and plates of pickles, burgers and hot dogs. PJ Hanleys, on Court Street and 4th Place is a nice place to watch a sports game, has lovely outdoor seating, and live music on Wednesday nights in the summer. They also have a rather extensive menu of bar food. South Brooklyn Pizza is a good place for a pie, and recently has launched the neighborhood's only gay bar/dance party (called Fondle) on Monday nights.
Shopping and Eating
On Smith Street and Sackett, Zaytoons has cheap BYOB Middle Eastern Fare and pleasant mood lighting. Cafe Cubana, on Smith Street between Degraw and Sackette has delicious Cuban food and also makes mean mojitos. There is also apparently a sizable French population living on and around Smith Street and the restaurant selection reflects in. In nine blocks, there are three French restaurants (Provence En Boite, Cafe Luluc, and Bar Tabac), all of which are relatively affordable and quite delicious. Court Street is also plentiful with food options. Frankie's Spuntino on Court Street, is a mid-priced Italian restaurant with small plates, delicious salads, fresh cheeses and cured meats, and an ample wine selection. Olive and Vine is, much like Zaytoons, cheap Middle Eastern food and BYOB on Court Street and Sackett. Lucali, on the corner of Henry and Carroll Streets makes one of the best pizza pies in New York City. The Grocery, on Smith Street and Sackett, is one of the best-reviewed restaurants in all of New York City with a menu that changes nightly based on the fresh produce, game and fish. It is more expensive than many other restaurants in the neighborhood, but far cheaper than restaurants of its caliber in Manhattan.
There are also plenty of little shops for many of your needs. Mazzola's Bakery on Union Street is something of a neighborhood institution, and is famed for its coffee and pastries. G. Esposito and Sons on Court Street is a meat market where people rave about their fresh cuts and their deliciously spicy soppresetta. Park Natural Foods, also on Court Street, is a clean and appealing health food store. The MET on Smith Street and Baltic is the closest supermarket, but it is somewhat of a hike for people living in the south end of Carroll Gardens. There's also a Fairway market in Red Hook, which has a much fuller selection and is much cheaper than the MET, but it is significantly farther away, and with more than a single bag of groceries, it is too far to walk.
Court Street and Smith Street, the two main drags of this neighborhood, are also lined with many small boutiques most of which sell clothing. There are a number of well-stocked hardware stores in the neighborhood, as well as some stores selling locally-made jewelry and other handcrafts.
Carroll Gardens is only served by the F train at Carroll Street and Smith Street, and the F and G train at Smith Street and 9th Street. The B61 bus stops at Court Street and Carroll Street and runs south to Red Hook and North through downtown Brooklyn to Queens Plaza in Queens.