Neighborhood: East Flatbush, Brooklyn
Population: 136,277 people, with a population density 47,210 people/sq mile (Brooklyn: 34,917 people per square mile)
Adjacent Neighborhoods: Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Crown Heights, Flatbush-Ditmas Park and Canarsie.
Public Transit: The 2/3 and 4/5 lines only skirt East Flatbush on the NW and SW sides, so most residents use a combination of buses and trains to commute.
What’s Here?: The birthplace of former mayor Rudy Giuliani and rapper Busta Rhymes is affectionately considered to be the un-gentrified example of “real Brooklyn.” Home to a middle class mix of families, professionals and retired folks, this predominantly black neighborhood has pockets of Orthodox Jewish and Eastern European communities who also contribute to its cultural traditions. The low cost of living is an attractive feature of the area, as well as the fact that it is home to three major hospitals. A number of historic churches complete the scene for those wanting a quiet and convenient neighborhood.
Flat or Tall?: East Flatbush is comprised of multi-unit apartment buildings and single family dwellings built between 70 and 90 years ago, the older of which were built along old “trolley” routes, and the newer after the completion of the subway system. The final surge of building ended in the 1960′s, which makes for few ‘modern’ looking residences.
History: Formerly known as “Rugby”, East Flatbush was developed in the 1920s and grew rapidly through the Great Depression as it accepted the overflow of immigrant populations from neighboring localities.Following WWII, the lively neighborhood was home to Jews and Italians and an increasing number of African Americans. Most recently, East Flatbush has seen a distinct rise in its West Indian population. In 2006, the City of New York honored these constituents by renaming a portion of Church Avenue Bob Marley Boulevard.
Activities: East Flatbush boasts some of best food outside of the islands, so grab a curried snack at Trinidadian joint Bake & Things or fresh seafood at Fun City Steamed Food. Shop for bargain basement deals on the busy Kings Highway stretch, which offers an abundance of discount stores and unpretentious food options, or take a stroll down the picturesque Maple Street. Authentic Russian fare and trinkets await on East E. 28th Street and a short subway ride transports you to the wonders of otherworldly seaside destination Brighton Beach.
Check it out: This October, view the annual changing of the leaves at Paerdegat Park. The magnificent Loew’s Kings Theater nearby has had its ornate doors shuttered since the mid-70′s but a $90 million renovation is in the works.