New York City is dense with history. Nearly every corner of this metropolis is bursting with unique stories. But one small pocket in particular — Weeksville, Brooklyn — played a significant role in our country’s past as one of the first Black communities in the 1800s. These days, visitors and residents can still learn about this section of Crown Heights’ historical significance — not to mention its terrific housing options and authentic neighborhood feel. “The community is robust in terms of its cohesiveness — people say hello to you when you walk down the street,” says Compass broker, Anderson Toney. Ready to explore this down-to-earth pocket of NYC? Here’s what you need to know about renting, buying, and beyond in Weeksville, Brooklyn.

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    History of Weeksville, Brooklyn

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    Historic Hunterfly Road Houses. (via the Brooklyn Histo cal Society)

    Weeksville, Brooklyn, plays an influential and vital role in history as one of the first free Black communities in the United States. In the 1830s — just about a decade after New York state abolished slavery —James Weeks, a freedman, purchased a large chunk of land and created a thriving neighborhood and community. Named after its founder, Weeksville welcomed Black people to join this prosperous haven of over 500 residents, including doctors, teachers, business people, and intellectuals. The area continued to be a bastion for abolitionist and equal rights activism throughout much of the 19th century. 

    Although the community’s identity started to wane with the introduction of the street grid system and urban sprawl, the neighborhood’s important history was preserved in the late 1960s with the opening of the Weeksville Heritage Center (Stay tuned — more on that later).

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    Where Is Weeksville, Brooklyn? 

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    These handsome row houses are on the corner of Ralph Avenue. (Photo by Lore Croghan)

    Considered to be a slice of the larger Crown Heights neighborhood, Weeksville, Brooklyn, enjoys a central location with easy subway access. “It’s close to everything,” Toney explains, pointing out that Bedford-Stuyvesant, Ocean Hill, Eastern Parkway, and Downtown Brooklyn and its attractions — like the Brooklyn Museum — are all just a short distance away. Moreover, with the C train at Ralph Avenue, and the A express train a convenient 10 blocks away from Utica, commuting to Midtown should take about 45 minutes.

    Renting a Home in Weeksville

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- two rooms with large floor to ceiling windows in weeksville, brooklyn
    Views for days! This 1 bedroom has rooftop access as well as a garden. (From a listing at 1515 Park Place #308)

    Those looking to move to Weeksville, Brooklyn will find various housing options, from multi-family brownstones to sleek apartments. Toney points out a lot of new renovation is happening, which she anticipates will translate into a burgeoning local scene.  

    The StreetEasy Data Dashboard shows that the median asking rent for Crown Heights (which includes Weeksville, Brooklyn) was $2,505 as of November 2021. To start your apartment hunt — or to see what’s out there — peruse an array of Weeksville rental units at your leisure. Here are more affordable Brooklyn neighborhoods for renters.

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    Buying a Home in Weeksville

    If you’re interested in putting down more permanent roots in Weeksville, Brooklyn, know that you’ll be investing in a neighborhood that continues to grow in popularity. According to The StreetEasy Data Dashboard, the median asking price for Crown Heights was $1.1 million as of November 2021. But don’t let that deter your search; you can undoubtedly find options well under that price range in Weeksville.

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    Things To Do in Weeksville

    Of course, exploring the area’s fascinating history is a huge draw. In 1968, a group from Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute found four wooden row houses built from 1840-1880, the last remaining vestiges from old Weeksville, Brooklyn. These row homes are now called the Hunterfly Road Houses and are part of the Weeksville Heritage Center, a worthwhile trip for local history buffs and hands-on learners. Visitors can enjoy tours, workshops, live performances, and exhibitions featuring Black artists, all at this thriving community and historic center. Please note, due to COVID-19, in-person tours of the historic houses have been suspended. However, in the meantime, 3D tours of the house can be found online.

    A few blocks away, the 17-acre Lincoln Terrace Park is a tree-lined oasis in Weeksville, Brooklyn, packed with tennis courts, a handball court, baseball fields, basketball courts, and a substantial running loop. 

    Utica Avenue is the area’s main strip to grab a bite or do your shopping. For stellar West Indian food, check out Tropical House Baking, which has gained local fame for its meat patties. Fans of Mediterranean eating shouldn’t miss Mama Kitchen, which serves up mouthwatering cuisine like pita sandwiches and hummus. And thanks to Weeksville’s convenient location, residents can also easily hop over to other parts of Crown Heights or Downtown Brooklyn to check out an array of international cuisine and entertainment. Enjoy!