Jacob Wood Brooklyn Neighborhood Spotlight: FT GREENE

Fort Greene: Historical & Geographical features

Fort Greene is named after a revolutionary war era General who built a garrison against the British on what is now Fort Greene Park. It’s bordered by Flatbush Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn to the west, Flushing Avenue and the Brooklyn Navy Yard to the north, Cleremont Ave and Clinton Hill to the east, and Atlantic Avenue and Prospect Heights to the south. One of the first characteristics that attract New Yorkers to Fort Greene is the easy subway commutes to downtown Manhattan from a variety of trains at Atlantic Terminal, which is also a central hub for events at Barclay’s Center, a big concert venue and also where the Nets play. The neighborhood has an impressive artistic history as the historic home of Walt Whitman, John Steinbeck, Truman Capote, Biggie Smalls and Old Dirty Bastard.

The best of Fort Greene

It continues to be an artistic hub of the borough with the Brooklyn Academy of Music, instituted in 1858 as a center for avant-garde performance, a role it fulfills to this day. It also has a laid-back and really underrated foodie scene which we’ll talk more about. What I like most about Fort Greene is it’s versatility of character: The largest transit hub, arena, and shopping center in Brooklyn is less than a half-mile from serene brownstones and the borough’s oldest park. The real estate is mostly beautiful brownstone and brick row-houses which began popping up in the 1840s, and also includes luxury rental and condo high-rises near the western border with downtown Brooklyn. The neighborhood has a Whole Foods, new Wegmans, an Apple Store, Target… as many neighborhood conveniences as any other area in New York City.

Wine & Dine

The food scene is also versatile… from Slutty Vegan, a new vegan fast food chain out of Atlanta with a hip-hop following and VC funding, to Loretto, a gourmet, coastal Italian experience with an authentic, Italian wine list, homemade pasta, Neapolitan seafood, and fantastic pizzas. There are too many other great restaurants to list… My favorites are the Mediterranean menu at Miss Ada, brunch at Dino or Aita, cocktails at Baby Jane or the beer garden at DSK. Ft Greene is an outstanding neighborhood for food.

Current Real Estate Scenario

The real estate in the neighborhood tends to be mostly mid 19th century townhomes, which are among the priciest in Brooklyn. Move-in ready, they cost over $1000 a square foot and average about $3.5m… think $1 million per floor. They’re a hot commodity as well… Only about 20 turnkey townhouses sell in the neighborhood each year. There are some affordable postwar co-ops in the neighborhood… Most notably Kingsview Homes on the west side, across the street from Long Island University.

A nice one bed will cost $500k, and an affordable two bed can be had for $700k. It also has what might be the most well-known pre-war condo conversion in Brooklyn: 1 Hanson Pl, the Beacon of Brooklyn. It was originally built as the Williamsburg Savings Bank tower, and converted to luxury condos about fifteen years ago. A little studio will run $550k, a nice two-bed $1.5m, and there are a half dozen four-beds that can ask up to $4.5m.

Neighborhood Amenities

My favorite neighborhood amenity is the oldest park in Brooklyn, Fort Greene Park. Built in the early 19th century, Ft Greene Park was redesigned during the Civil War by Olmsted and Vaux, the guys who designed Central Park and Prospect Park, a bit further south in the borough. At over 30 acres, the park offers tennis, basketball, playgrounds, is great for picnicking, with movies and jazz festivals on the lawn in the summer. The perimeter is a great jog almost exactly 1 mile, with hills and stairs.

When my wife and I moved to Ft Greene a few years ago, we liked that it was in between what we called ‘Hipster Brooklyn’ off the L train to the north, and ‘Stroller Brooklyn’ near Prospect Park to the south, and that’s where we were in our lives metaphorically. No matter where you are in your life, you’ll love Ft Greene as well.