Moving From Clinton Hll to Bed-Stuy

    by

    Hello everyone,
    We are considering leaving our Clinton Hill condo for a brownstone in Bed-Stuy (owner duplex with garden rental). If you have done this… What do you feel are the pros and cons? Do you miss the “C” train or Ft. Greene park? What are your neighborhood restaurants and grocery stores? Is it easy to rent your apt? Any thoughts, concerns, joys, and pains you can share are very welcome.

    Thanks!

    32 Replies

    1. We also just sold our Clinton Hill Condo and moved to a 2 family in west Bed-Stuy. Definitely no regrets. We are loving having more space and a yard. Once we get tenants in(still doing some minor renovation), we will also enjoying having low monthly payments. I do use my car a lot more and still do my shopping in CH at Fairway and on Fresh Direct, but we signed up for the CSA that picks up around the corner from us at the YMCA, so we’re looking forward to that.

      Come move the neighborhood! The more the merrier!

    2. To respond to rh’s response “Slopette, there are some houses listed in the $400k’s and $500k’s but they will need complete updating and probably won’t be on the best blocks. You may find something decent in the mid $600k range.”

      I have to say, this isn’t accurate. The house we are buying is on a really pretty, quiet, safe block and is in that price range because it’s a smaller house (it does need updating, but we are fine with that). If you look at comps, you’ll find that actual sale prices per square foot are quite reasonable. Obviously, that changes if you’re buying a place for 3600 sq ft versus 2100 sq. feet, and changes too if an owner prices their house at what they want to sell it for, versus what the market is like now. We saw a grand 4-story house with amazing details on the best block of MacDonough near Lewis that sold for $700K which was something like $184 per square foot; it did need updating, but was in decent enough shape you could do some work at the front end, then move in and continue along. We missed out on a fully-renovated, detail-rich 3-story on a nice block of Putnam that ended up selling for $630K.

      All that said, I would highly, highly recommend renting in Bed-Stuy before you buy so you get truly familiar with the neighborhood and learn what blocks are actually great, and which are not. If you’re really ready to buy, work with local realtors who have Bed-Stuy experience, and are not part of large realty agencies – they get very different listings that often do not hit the internet – ours didn’t – plus they usually work with owners who price their properties realistically. Some agents I can recommend are Kingsley Duah of Naucorp Properties, Stuyvesant Heights Realty (on Stuyvesant Ave), Denise Cherry, Celeste Moses of Prospective Properties and Jay Safire of King of Kings and Queens.

    3. Stuy Heights, that was a pretty good summary.

      “neighbors who have weekly parties during the summertime in their front yards with amps and woofers so ear-deafening that they should only be used in a nightclub.”

      It’s not just in the front yards, it can be in the back yard too, and you won’t hear it from the street or know about it unless you live there. Shakes our house.

      There are also CSAs, farmers markets, and produce stores sprinkled here and there.

    4. Slopette, there are some houses listed in the $400k’s and $500k’s but they will need complete updating and probably won’t be on the best blocks. You may find something decent in the mid $600k range.

    5. thank you so much for your thorough (very thorough) repsonses!! This information is so helpful. And I know wherever we end up in Bed-Stuy, we will not miss the C train.

    6. Hi,

      Like you, I lived in CH/Ft. Greene for a few years before moving to Bed-Stuy.

      For me, the pros are:

      – You get much more space for a lot less money.
      – If you buy a 3 story, not a 4-story, you may find you can afford to not have tenants.
      – A lot of the houses have a lot more original detail and layouts than what I’ve seen in CH because many have been owner-occupied for decades, and were never chopped up into smaller rentals or gut renovated in the 1980’s.
      – There are many beautiful blocks which are comparable, or even nicer, than many streets in CH.
      – The A train blows away the C train – I do not miss the C AT ALL. When I’d be waiting at Clinton/Washington, I’d always see four A trains go by before the C came, and now that I actually take the A, I can confirm this is the case. Plus the A is express, so it always gets clearance before the C.
      – People are generally friendlier and more community-oriented in Bed-Stuy than in Clinton Hill, no matter what their or your background or race is.
      – There’s less to do in Bed-Stuy – in terms of bars and restaurants – so neighbors are more interested in getting to know each other and socializing.
      – We get all the kinds of food delivery I enjoyed when living in CH, specifically Thai, sushi, Indian, and a Chinese place that is health-conscious; in all categories, the food is good and gets here hot. We walk to Saraghina for to-go pizza, because once you eat their pizza, you can’t settle for regular delivery pizza.
      – There are a few smaller, nice Victorian-type parks to walk your dog in or sit and relax in, such as Fulton Park, Tompkins Park, Saratoga Park.

      Cons:
      – Some blocks in Bed-Stuy are like Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood – mellow, friendly, safe, and aesthetically beautiful – and some are the polar opposite – lots of unoccupied houses with squatters in them, drug dealers who are dumb/bold enough to deal out in the streets, and neighbors who have weekly parties during the summertime in their front yards with amps and woofers so ear-deafening that they should only be used in a nightclub. A lot of blocks that are within 2 blocks to projects are populated by troublemakers who get in a lot of fights, and many wield guns. I have seen guns out in the open near Lafayette and Tompkins Avenues, and there have been shootings regularly near where I currently live – which is close to the Gates Ave projects. Just last week there were 2 shootings in one afternoon, during daylight hours. This is not to scare you or anyone else from moving to Bed-Stuy, just to give everyone a reality check about the fact that Bed-Stuy is a big neighborhood with many different levels of safety and comfort.

      – The grocery stores (except for Superfood Town) have old-fashioned hours, and a lot close at 7:30 or 8PM on work nights, and aren’t open on Sundays at all. Some are lacking in fresh produce and haven’t even yet gotten hip to selling anything but iceberg lettuce, but others are starting to carry more produce and broaden their offerings. None sell fresh fish, and many have terrible selection when it comes to meat (only selling ground chuck for hamburger, for example). In general, the supermarkets are good to pick up items to make meals, but for full-on grocery shopping, I still shop in Ft. Greene, CH, Food Bazaar on Broadway in Williamsburg/Bed-Stuy, or drive to Fairway because I’m not in walking distance to Superfood Town.

      – There are very few cafes, restaurants, and bars, and not so many specialty shops. Notable cafes are Ms. Dahlia’s Cafe on Nostrand and Halsey and Le Table Exquise on Tompkins and Putnam (both have amazing pastries, breads, and breakfast/lunch items), Saraghina and Peaches on Lewis Avenue (two truly destination-worthy restaurants), and a few other businesses on Lewis Avenue in Stuyvesant Heights, including a wine bar. I noticed a bar looks to be opening next to Ms. Dahlia’s. I know more businesses have opened on Bedford near Myrtle, but not sure of names, since I live on the south side.

      In general, as a CH transplant, I do not regret moving to Bed-Stuy, and after living here for 5+ years now, my husband and I are in the midst of buying a brownstone in East Stuyvesant Heights, near the J/M/Z train, which is worth considering because it’s 2 express stops to Manhattan and has a good mix of businesses within walking distance on Broadway. For us, it was more important to have more space, a real house and yard to work on and enjoy, than to have the convenience of restaurants and stores around the corner. Do I wish there was more of that around us? A resounding yes. But we have a car, and it’s easy to park, so we can easily leave the neighborhood to run errands in Ft. Greene, the Slope, or Williamsburg. We do not have kids, so schools and daycares have not factored into our home-buying, but we have many friends in the ‘hood with kids and they don’t seem to be any more worried than your average NYC parent.

    7. Just got home….90 seconds between Nostrand and Utica stops. Also, to enhance the quality of your experience, coming from Manhattan go out of the subway near the back car and out the side that says Fulton PARK and you will end up in the nice little park at the bottom of Stuyvesant Ave. Exiting towards the front of the train leaves you at the less desirable corner of Utica and Malcolm X. Sometimes these little things make a difference.

      Exiting and entering through Fulton Park will become something you’d look forward to compared to subway stops throughout Brooklyn that dump you out on some gritty grimy crowded corner.

    8. Yes, I forgot. I don’t drive but if I did, 9 times out of ten I could probably park within a few house of my own. Parking where I am is VERY easy. And no churches near me. There’s a church on MacDonough and sometimes I can hear the bell chimes. Beware your proximity to any large loud church!!!!

    9. My then-11-year-old daughter and I moved from Clinton Hill (5 little blocks to the Clinton Washington stop of the C, equal distance to the Clinton Washington stop of the G) to Bed-Stuy (about the same distance to the A/C at Nostrand; about twice as far to the G at Bedford-Nostrand) 4 years ago. Although it’s a mile or so along Fulton St., the A is much, much, MUCH faster. There are A trains every 3 minutes vs. the irregular 10-minute interlude for a C train. No regrets here! And we are still just a few blocks from the B25, B26, B52 buses. Plus it’s a zillion times easier to park.

    10. I have a nice fully renovated house southbrooklyn. All new electric, plumbing, roof, kitchens, baths and deck. I’m also not unrealistic as to what my house will sell for, which is less than what I have in it. The problem with most houses for sale in bed Stuy are that there are usually all sorts of issues and the mechanicals all need updating.

    11. I’m friends with DIBS. that out of the way, his place is very nicely renovated – facade, interior, garden.

    12. cinbk — DIBS now knows your upper limit! Your negotiating position is crippled.

      For that price, seems like you should be able to get a very, full-renovated brownstone in Bed Stuy right now.

    13. Awww. I think instead of selling, you should just keep the brownstone, and we’ll move in as live-in caretakers. I swear, we’re relatively inexpensive. 😉

    14. No, not a quality of life issue…retiring & leaving NYC. I don’t think that there’s really a quiter neighborhood in all of brooklyn than the streets around Stuyvesant heights. there’s acceptable grovery stores within walking distance, expecially the Super Food Town which is better than most supermarkets that I’ve seen in both brooklyn and Manhattan. Nice restaurants with good food are sparse. there are 3. Soon to be a few more.

    15. ha, i don’t think anybody would miss the C … or the G for that matter if it could be avoided. then again, if you’re in the middle of Bed-Stuy and are forced take buses, the C starts looking pretty good 🙂

    16. Well good for you DIBS
      m4l – yes, DIBS will not have a happy time in any of the mainstream retirement destinations, he’ll definitely need to maintain some premises where all the excitement is.

    17. Ditto, DIBS is going to live in Queens afterwards – in Flushing (he heard there’s lots of “talent” there)

    18. We made the move from a coop in Fort Green to a house in Stuyvesant Heights. Once I got it in my head that I was really living in an apartment, I had to go. I would say a house is always better. The next question is how much do you want to spend?

    19. dibs- why are you selling? (just interested if it is a quality of life/changing locations for a specific reason). IN terms of price, it really depends on what the brownstone needs. Are not looking to spend more than 850K.

    20. Your so right Dave.. I would say if your buying in Bedford Stuyvesant you should buy near the Nostrand or Utica stop on the A.. If you like the C you can add Kingston. If I was to buy in Bedford Stuyvesant right now I would buy in the south near a A express stop. Your property value would hold much better…

    21. Trust me, you’ll never miss the C. The A is much better.

      How much you looking to spend? Mine on Stuyvesant Ave might be for sale soon.

    22. Hi- sorry everyone. Bed-Stuy around the Bedford-Nostrand “A” train stop, and around Tomkin’s Park (which is closer to the G). Basically we want to move to the Clinton hill/Bed-Stuy border.

      Thanks again.

    23. Sounds like by the “do you miss the c train” comment OP is suggesting they are looking at the G line areas or even the area off Broadway by the J train. Otherwise if looking at Stuy Heights vicinity they would still be on A or C trains.

    24. rf – my thoughts exactly. The answers to you your questions will be based on location, location, location.

    25. Bed Stuy is huge. You didn’t mention what part of the neighborhood. There’s A train Stuy and G train Stuy, east/west. It kind of makes a difference.