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Living in Boerum Hill

Historic Brooklyn mingles with modern comforts in Boerum Hill. Close to bustling downtown Brooklyn's shops and services, it offers a swift commute into Manhattan. Busy transit hub Atlantic Terminal is at its north-eastern tip and trains from there will get you to Times Square in 30 minutes. Yet there's a small-town atmosphere that pervades Boerum Hill's secluded, tree-lined streets. Like neighboring Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill enjoys a laid-back lifestyle. It retains its Victorian-era brick-and-brownstone architecture while welcoming a balanced blend of modern, independent boutiques and restaurants. Old-world charm abounds here, whether it's in the outdoor terraces of Smith Street's French bistros or the gabled row-houses in the historic district.

Boerum Hill real estate

Brick storefront in Boerum Hill” style=

With classic row houses and contemporary condos alike, Boerum Hill real estate offers something to suit all tastes. There's a wealth of elegant architecture contained in these leafy streets. Traditional brick row houses in the Boerum Hill Historic District date back to the mid-1800s. This in-demand area sits next to Nevins, Hoyt, Pacific, and Wyckoff Streets. It sprouted up during a boom period following the arrival of the Manhattan-to-Brooklyn ferry service. Victorian gables and mansard-roofed facades mask fully restored, contemporary interiors in many of these attractive townhouses. There are also newer Boerum Hill apartments, many of which boast open kitchens and outdoor terraces.

Boerum Hill history

Brownstone, and whitestone buildings in Boerum Hill” style=

Founded by Dutch settlers in 1645, Breukelen village included the area that would become Boerum Hill. Business associates Russell Nevins and Charles Hoyt purchased a large swath of this land in 1834. Boerum Hill was then developed between 1840 and 1870 with plentiful Greek Revival and Italianate-styled homes. Many of these historic properties were on the block for destruction by the late 1960s due to decline. However, residents worked together to save and restore the area.

At the turn of the 20th Century, Smith Street drew visitors more for its furniture stores than its fine dining. In the 1990s, the area underwent development to become the major culinary destination it is today. This has spurred the regeneration of Boerum Hill, with old and new residents alike gravitating to its distinct charms.

Boerum Hill restaurants

The Deerfield Beach sign at Deerfield Beach” style=

Cozy bars and independent eateries line Smith Street, one of Brooklyn's premier foodie destinations. There's a distinct Parisian atmosphere, with antique light fixtures and extra-wide pavement just perfect for people-watching from an outdoor cafe. Establishments like Bacchus Wine Bar, Bar Tabac and Bien Cuit Bakery add to the vibe. Bar Tabac brings to mind the ubiquitous French “tabacs,” small convenience stores found in every town. The bistro features leisurely brunches, live jazz, and one of the country's largest Bastille Day festivals.

Rucola nestles into Boerum Hill's historic district. This rustic northern Italian restaurant's inspiration is Piedmont's slow food movement, and offers the full farm-to-table experience. Expect hand-crafted fresh pasta dishes and whole roasted trout accompanied by vibrant salads bursting with in-season flavor. Indulge your sweet tooth with a visit to Betty Bakery, a second venture from Cheryl Kleinman of Cheryl Kleinman Cakes. These baked goods are gorgeously decorated with retro flair, reminiscent of mid-century homemade baked goods. Red velvet cupcakes, updated twists on Twinkies, and strawberry lemonade turn any ordinary afternoon into a trip down memory lane.

Boerum Hill attractions

Public art crops up in unexpected places in Boerum Hill, like The Mosaic House at 108 Wyckoff Street. Artist Susan Gardner transformed her home's exterior into a vivid mosaic crafted from mirrors, broken crockery, shells, buttons, beads and other bits of ephemera. Visit the Micro Museum for even more thought-provoking artwork. This community art center is as diminutive as the name suggests, tucked into an unassuming storefront on Smith Street. Once inside, view beguiling interactive displays, hands-on exhibitions, and avant-garde performances.

Barclays Center is on the eastern border of Boerum Hill, home to the NBA's Brooklyn Nets. The center also hosts big-name performers and other sporting events in a sleek new entertainment complex.

It's since spread to other cities like Chicago and Boston, but the original Brooklyn Boulders is right in Boerum Hill. A unique space that's part gym, part rock climbing facility, and part workspace, Brooklyn Boulders has something for everyone. There are quirky fitness classes like acroyoga, which combines yoga and acrobatics, and 22,000 square feet of rock climbing surfaces to master. The building also hosts special events and serves as a co-working space with free wifi.

Boerum Hill shopping

Boutiques and specialty shops line Atlantic Avenue, including the flagship stores for Nunu Chocolates and Jonathan Adler. A treasure trove of Middle Eastern shops sits on the stretch between Third and Fourth Avenues. Interior design stores and fashion retailers like Steven Alan sit to the west. Find your signature scent at the Atelier Cologne boutique, or hunt for pre-loved designer fashions at Eva Gentry Consignment. Jewelry designer Erica Weiner has a store on Atlantic Avenue, filled with sparkling handmade baubles containing. Original vintage pieces are on display here too, including diamond engagement rings and disco-era necklaces.

Boerum Hill nightlife

There are a number of bars tucked into the restaurant scene on Smith Street. European-styled wine bars, low-key pubs, and craft beer shops abound in Boerum Hill. The Clover Club is a sleek cocktail bar with Victorian decor. Sink back into curved leather booths or plush velvet sofas and order from an extensive menu of artisanal cocktails served in cut crystal bowls. The bar also serves locally sourced cheese platters while live jazz provides the soundtrack. Camp, with its delightfully kitschy vibe, is just down the block, offering a summer camp experience complete with make-your-own s'mores. The Brooklyn Inn is one of the oldest bars in the neighborhood. It still draws in crowds of friendly locals to its antique carved wooden bar, pool table and eclectic jukebox. 

Beauty of Being in Boerum Hill

"The neighborhood that inspired the novel Motherless Brooklyn, has come into its own. Big enough for 24/7 bodegas, yet small enough to know your neighbors. This vibrant, diverse community seamlessly blends Brownstone tradition with modern comforts."
Lissa Wolfe
Lissa                Wolfe

What's In The Area: Boerum Hill

Driving Walking

Local tips and information for going out in the Boerum Hill from The Corcoran Group. Explore dining, shopping and nightlife.

All Boerum Hill tips




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