Neighborhood: Fort Greene
Population Density: 15,903 people; population density 43,501 people per square mile (Brooklyn-wide: 34,917 people per square mile)
Adjacent Neighborhoods: (clockwise from west) Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Park Slope, Boerum Hill/Cobble Hill, Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO. The Brooklyn Navy Yard is due north.
Public Transit: Subway: DeKalb Avenue (B/D/N/Q/R trains), Atlantic Avenue Barclays Center (2/3/4/5/B/D/N/Q/R trains), Lafayette Avenue (A C trains), and Fulton Street (G train);LIRR: Atlantic Terminal
What’s Here?: Fort Greene looks and acts like a small town in a big city. Local residents take pride in their neighborhood’s mosaic of newcomers and multigenerational families, its gorgeous residential streets, and the thriving food and cultural scene. Its proximity to Atlantic Terminal and the LIRR makes it an attractive home base for commuters.
The crown jewel of the neighborhood is Fort Greene Park, a 30-acre public park designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux. The streets approaching the park, composed of brownstones in the Italianate and Eastlake styles, often appear on lists of the best blocks in New York City. The neighborhood is in a transformational moment, as the city funds more than $100 million in new facilities for the arts, public space, and housing in the Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District.
Flat or Tall?: Fort Greene is known for its historic 19th-century brownstones and serene tree-lined streets and is recognized as a New York City Historic District. The neighborhood contains a mix of brownstones and co-ops in its historic center, high-rise condos on its north and south ends, and several housing projects. It is known as one of the best-integrated neighborhoods in the city, both culturally and economically. The iconic Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower near Atlantic Terminal, now converted to condos, is one of the tallest buildings in Brooklyn.
History: Fort Greene has a long history beginning as the site of a Native American settlement in 800 A.D. and was the largest fort on Long Island during the Revolutionary War. Many historic figures are associated with the neighborhood, including Walt Whitman, Nathaniel Greene, and William Howard Taft.
The neighborhood is well-known as a haven for the arts. Robert Mapplethorpe, Erykah Badu, Patti Smith, and Chris Rock have all lived in Fort Greene. In 2009 the New York Times and CUNY chose Fort Greene and Clinton Hill as the locus for The Nabe, an experimental, ultralocal community-based news source.
Activities: Start the morning with chicken and waffles at Walter’s, spend a sunny afternoon on the hill at Fort Greene Park, sample the ostrich carpaccio at the South African restaurant Madiba, and top off your evening with a cold brew at Mullane’s.
Check it out: The Fort Greene Flea on Lafayette Ave features Brooklyn’s best local food, artisans, antiques, and more, and is open every Saturday from April to November. If fresh veggies are your thing, stop at the Fort Greene Park Greenmarket any Saturday of the year. Catch a genre-defying show at BAM or an indie concert at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple. Oh, and don’t forget to snag a “Squat,” among the best Cronut knockoffs, at Le Petit Bakery.