When we started our house hunting adventure in January, we were afflicted with a myopia for Manhattan. It’s where we’ve rented for years and our friendly neighbor right now just happens to be Mr. Empire State. I guess you could say we’ve been spoiled rotten by the view.
No surprise that we were miffed by some of the Chelsea listings boasting “gorgeous views of the Empire State” that really amounted to an obstructed dot in the smoggy distance. After a few weeks, we also got tired of scrolling through listing after listing of Manhattan apartments that were either the size of a shoebox or that touted “pre-war detail” and “classic charm.” From what I’ve seen, “pre-war” must be real estate code for dark rooms, boxy floor plans, dreary rugs, and grandma drapes. Hmph.
Disappointed, we’ve since expanded our search to Brooklyn and are, 2 months later, finding ourselves quite smitten for the borough. It’s like life runs on an entirely different gear here and it feels a bit like you’re on a little vacation from the claustrophia of the city. I mean, heck people actually hold doors out here for you, once in a while.
After many a property visit across the river, I think I’ve started to get a sense for the vibe of a few ‘hoods. And my, what a land of multiple personalities, at the turn of every corner! And no, not all Brooklyn neighborhoods are created equal, at least in my book. The top 3 things that come to my mind in these neighborhoods:
- Prospect Heights: Grand. Historic. Quiet.
- Williamsburg: Young. Trendy. Self important.
- Fort Greene: Gritty. Diverse. Accessible.
- Brooklyn Heights: Moneyed. White. Exclusive. (Did I mention $?)
- Park Slope: Community. Strollers. Boutiques.
Verdict? The little heart yearns for a home in Fort Greene. Yeah, it’s a bit rough around the edges, especially the ones bordering Downtown Brooklyn, but it’s a diamond in the rough. It has a raw sincerity to it that some of the other neighborhoods have either lost or given up. It’s where you can live among fellow artists/creatives and kindred bohemian coffee and park lovers, without the pretense of hipsters or the chaotic fuss of Brooklyn helicopter moms.
Admittedly, I’m getting a little impatient with the Hunt. But my horoscope (as seen on Hello Giggles) urges patience for the Leo in the month of March. So I’m gonna take that as a sign to chill out.