You could call this buzzing neighborhood one of the jewels in the (ahem) crown of Kings County. Just for starters, it’s within walking distance of some of Brooklyn’s most must-see sights. “I love Crown Heights,” says Kila Lamadora, a licensed real estate associate broker for Compass, who lives in nearby Bedford-Stuyvesant and represents listings in Crown Heights. “It’s a very vibrant community!” We asked Brooklyn realtors for their best intel on the neighborhood. Here’s a quick primer on living in Crown Heights.
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Where Is Crown Heights?
Tucked into central Brooklyn, Crown Heights is bordered by Bedford-Stuyvesant and Atlantic Avenue to the north; Prospect Lefferts Gardens and Empire Boulevard to the south; Ocean Hill and Ralph Avenue to the east, and Prospect Park and Washington Avenue to the west.
The area’s appeal is reflected in sellers’ asking prices. According to StreetEasy Data Dashboard, the median asking price in Crown Heights as of November 2021 was $1.1 million, more than Brooklyn overall (at $949,000) but less than Manhattan’s of $1.5 million. If you’re looking to rent, you may find yourself a steal. The median asking rent in the neighborhood was $2,505 in November 2021, compared to $2,600 for Brooklyn overall and $3,475 over in Manhattan. Discover more affordable Brooklyn neighborhoods.
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Brief History of Crown Heights
Built on what was once Lenape land, Crown Heights was a destination for the well-to-do by the early 1900s. That’s when posh Manhattanites built second homes here, many in ornate brownstones that still leave architecture lovers breathless. (The neighborhood is home to three historic districts.)
One of its most appealing promenades, Eastern Parkway, was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the landscape architect who famously designed Central Park and nearby Prospect Park. “It’s really nice for people coming out of the pandemic, with simple things like going for nice walks and people walking,” says Brooklyn-based Kristen Jock, a real estate agent for Compass. “The things we used to take for granted are really nice ways to interact with your neighbors.”
What Are the Housing Options in Crown Heights?
If you want to ogle some of the prettiest mansions in Brooklyn, look no further than President Street. It’s here that you’ll find “Doctor’s Row,” a collection of fanciful brick limestone and bow-front brownstones that surgeons had built for their families in the early 1900s. “There are beautiful brownstones for sure — that’s my niche,” says Lamadora. “But there are a lot of new condo build-outs being done there. It definitely has a vibe!” Not quite ready to move into a historic mansion? You will find plenty of multi-unit apartment buildings in the area, too.
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What Are the Commute Times to Midtown Manhattan?
One of the best parts of living here is how easy it is to leave. It takes a zippy 36 minutes to get from Kingston Avenue to Bryant Park in Midtown via the 3 and D trains (with a quick transfer at Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center). If you prefer to ride a single line, the 2 train from Kingston Avenue will get you to Times Square in about 45 minutes. Residents in the northern part of the neighborhood benefit from the proximity of the A and the C trains, which run along Fulton Avenue.
Parks and Green Spaces in Crown Heights
If you live here, you’ll have one of the prettiest neighbors in all of Brooklyn. We’re not talking about a movie starlet, although plenty of celebrities do call the borough home.
We’re talking about the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which edges the neighborhood’s western side. “The Botanic Garden is lovely!” says Jock. Founded in 1910, it has everything from an orchid collection to a cherry esplanade (and world-famous Cherry Blossom Festival) on 52 lush and leafy acres.
Prospect Park is adjacent to the Botanic Garden for even more great green space. Heavily utilized by city residents near and far, the park offers 586 acres for numerous outdoor activities such as birdwatching, ice and roller skating, boating, and even horseback riding. Additional features include expansive lawns, ball fields, deep woods with trails, and a zoo.
Destinations in Crown Heights
“There are charming boutiques and restaurants and a lot of little social activities you can do,” Lamadora says. “The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is super cute — a lot of my clients love to bring their kids to it.”
The 1899 museum was the first children’s museum in the entire nation. Today, thousands of people visit to experience exhibits like the Nest, a cedar rooftop play space inspired by the nests of the baya weaver bird, and Totally Tots, a special section just for toddlers.
Another cultural institution is The Brooklyn Museum, located on the neighborhood’s western edge. The Beaux-Arts gem houses more than 1.5 million art pieces, including works by Georgia O’Keeffe and Mark Rothko. “I love the Brooklyn Museum. I’ve gone there for several exhibits over the past few years,” Jock says.