Neighborhood: Downtown Brooklyn
Population Density: 7,053. Density 16,296per square mile. (city-wide: 26,798 people per square mile)
Adjacent Neighborhoods: DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, Vinegar Hill.
Public Transit: A-C (High St, Jay St-MetroTech, Hoyt-Schermerhorn) F (York St, Jay St-MetroTech); N (Jay St-MetroTech); R (Jay St-MetroTech, DeKalb) B-Q (DeKalb); G (Hoyt-Schermerhorn); 2-3 (Borough Hall, Hoyt St, Nevins St); 4-5 (Borough Hall, Nevins St). Dozens of bus lines converge on downtown Brooklyn, and the LIRR station at Atlantic Terminal provides easy access to JFK airport. Also, CitiBike bicycle share stations are throughout the area, bringing more Brooklyn neighborhoods within easy reach. (Manhattan is also a short ride over the Brooklyn or Manhattan Bridges, though long uphills on both and gawking tourists on the former can make this a more daunting trip.)
What’s Here?: Because so much of the appeal of living in Downtown Brooklyn is tied to its proximity to most of Manhattan and Brooklyn, it’s hardly fair to penalize the compact area (less than half a mile square) for being mostly commercial and government offices. Three universities NYU Polytechnic Institute, NYC City Tech and Long Island University call Downtown Brooklyn home. Meanwhile, artsy DUMBO, leafy Brooklyn Heights, and funky Fort Greene are all right here, as are the restaurants and bars of Smith Street in Boerum Hill. That said, one of the hardest seats to score in the whole city is the Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare the only spot outside Manhattan with three Michelin stars. Pizza lovers have a minor Mecca on Old Fulton Street where Grimaldi’s and Juliana’s stand almost next to each other. Gems such as Mile End (a Montreal-style delicatessen) and Ganso (a ramen spot) can be found, too.
Flat or Tall?: Downtown Brooklyn mirrors the skyscrapers across the river in Lower Manhattan, and the borough’s tallest building is the new Brooklyner apartment tower on Lawrence Street.
History: Downtown Brooklyn was one of the first parts of the borough to be settled by the Dutch, and before Brooklyn was absorbed into New York, it was the central business district for the city. There is no landmarked historic district, though the area is surrounded by them.
Activities: Brooklyn Bridge Park is technically a couple blocks outside the neighborhood, but it keeps getting improvements, opening up the waterfront and its amazing front-row views of Manhattan to everyone. The BRIC Arts and Media house just opened on Fulton Street across Flatbush, a few blocks north of the better-known Brooklyn Academy of Music, which hosts performing arts and films.
Check it out: The Borough Hall Greenmarket features fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, bread and other fare from local farmers and producers three times a week, on the plaza near Court and Montague. The Brooklyn Book Festival was started in 2006 at Borough Hall to promote the borough’s own literary voice.