From ‘burbs to Brooklyn Part II

Thanks everyone for your comments. Alot of you raised valid points that I didn’t even consider. I know money will be the biggest factor. One of the main reasons I want to move is because I love to renovate houses and love the style of brownstones. With that being said I have looked into the real estate prices for brownstone ownership and know that is not obtainable on my budget. But I would be happy just living in one of these beauties w/out actually owning it. Can anyone suggest another NY city that offers stately brownstones at more affordable prices where owning a car is not so much of an inconvenience?
To my credit I do have a 5 bedroom home here in PA with a lot of equity that I am hoping will finance my move.
I totally agree with exploring all the neighborhoods before I make my move. I have rented a garden apt in Park Slope on a few occasions on a daily basis and it was ideal. However I found it hard to find an arrangement like that in another neighborhood, can anyone suggest any daily/furnished rentals?
Thanks to all you Brooklynites (native or adoptee) for your help, I’m sure I’ll be asking more of you in the future.

12 Replies

  1. You know who can say what rowhouses/brownstones will be in 4 years. You might be able to afford one if the big real estate correction finally reaches Brooklyn. I have had 2 co-workers buy round front limestones needing total renovations, however livable enough to do the renovations while they live there in Crown Heights in the mid 400’s in the past 6 months. 4 years ago when we were looking even those in the same shape were going for $600-$800K. Crown Heights has a lot of beautiful houses just waiting for renovation that you would like and even many have garages behind them so that owning a car wouldn’t be a problem. Except for a couple little pockets on the eastern edge, it’s an overall safe area and has nearby amenities. In 4 years the whole area might be fine. Bed-Stuy also has some houses in those price ranges and are the true brown brownstones, and for the most part it has become a decently safe area. My primary drawback with most of Bed-Stuy is that it truly is a residential neighborhood with nothing but houses around interspersed with a few bodegas, and after dark you will feel like the only soul around – which might be suburbia enough for you. There are some good bus lines that run through Bed Stuy but depending on how deep you are into the neighborhood getting to a train can be a long walk or you’ll need to take the bus to the train. Street parking is actually not that bad there but you do have to move your car for cleaning. One thing you will learn about living anywhere in Brooklyn (or any other dark mostly peopleless area in the city) is after dark if you are alone and approach a group of unsavory looking characters (and I hate to say it, mostly packs of teenagers) is 1) cross the street if you can, and 2) walk fast and confidently where you look like you know where you are going even if you don’t, and 3) If you are female, don’t wear revealing clothing that would excite the teenagers. 🙂 If you do, take a cab home. Looking lost or stopping to actually talk to them will only let them know you are a potential target. If someone approaches you, look straight ahead and keep on walking or pretend to be talking on your phone, and if they start to follow you duck into the closest open bodega or restaurant you come to. Even in the sparsest of neighborhoods there will usually be a chinese restaurant or yummy taco open late at night – just don’t eat the tacos or trust that the beef fried rice is really beef. lol For the most part, people won’t mess with you if they think you are a true NY’er.

  2. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, and you don’t want owning a car to be an inconvenience (as compared to suburban living), you won’t find that in ANY city. And, as far as I know, brownstones (and rowhouses in general) are city houses. You want a brownstone in the suburbs!

  3. “you could not do better than a $1200 a month floor through in Stuyvesant Heights (Bed Stuy)”

    floor thrus are going for about $1,500 in Stuy Heights now.

    if you’re on a budget, hard to beat Ditmas Park in value. You can get a one bedroom/studio for less than 1,300, and there’s a good amount of restaurants, great grocery shopping, and decent commute.

  4. Bed Stuy and Jersey City have very attainable rents in brownstones. It takes me 35 mins door to door including walking to my office on 60th and Mad from Van Vorst Park in Jersey City. My wife is down in the financial district and it takes her under 15 mins to work.

  5. Re NYC, if your primary motivation is beautiful brownstone living as a renter, you could not do better than a $1200 a month floor through in Stuyvesant Heights (Bed Stuy). If that seems too expensive, I agree you should look in Philadelphia, etc.

    Also, just FYI, I meet a ton of people here who are earning $30,000 to $70,000 and they are looking to buy or move to Pennsylvania, or they have rent control here and own in Pennsylvania. The last few years here rents in outlying areas have just become so expensive.

    Grass greener!

  6. I find it odd that people care more about what their house looks like than WHERE they live.
    I guess this is prevalent on Brownstoner, based on the premise of the site, but I’ve never been happy in a lousy neighborhood, no matter what my place looked like.

  7. What’s your budget? There are much more affordable historic houses in Philadelphia. I’m on 12th just south of Pine.

  8. Have you tried Queens or The Bronx? The Metro North Hudson line has some affordable towns along the way. There are nice old homes in those areas. The problem is, you’re paying for Metro North if you commute every day.

    Newburgh, NY has some gorgeous older homes. The problem is that it’s pretty rough right now. Maybe in 4 years it will be better.