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Living in Downtown Brooklyn

Downtown Brooklyn is one of the largest business districts in New York City, and also the civic and commercial hub of the Brooklyn borough. The neighborhood's boundaries are the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) on the north, Atlantic Avenue on the south, Cadman Plaza on the west and Flatbush Avenue on the east. It connects to Manhattan via the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge, and is more informally located in the northwestern corner of Brooklyn. The A, C, F, 2, 3, 4 and 5 trains all reach Manhattan in under 20 minutes.

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At first glance, it’s all business. Towering, glass-paned office buildings characterize the neighborhood’s skyline; at 610 feet, the residential high-rise The Hub stands high over its neighbors. Commanding marble staircases are crowded with well-suited businesspeople. The area has an energetic edge, but the flourishing neighborhood also has a softer side. You’ll see it in the charming residential streets, the renowned restaurants that have served the area for decades, and the surge of singles and families of all ages recognizing the area for its comfort and safety.

There are the modern condominiums set alongside turn-of-the-century homes; the mom-and-pop eateries sharing street space with hip clothing boutiques; the hyper-focused professionals crossing paths with parents and prams. Fast-paced during the daytime hours, Downtown Brooklyn quiets down considerably at night.

Downtown Brooklyn real estate

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In between modern residential buildings and retail establishments are Downtown Brooklyn’s old guard: the handsome brownstones on quiet, suburban-like roads lined with trees seem straight out of a storybook. Modern developments combine chic amenities in Downtown Brooklyn real estate —think yoga spaces and fitness centers—with quintessential Manhattan styles, like spacious lofts and charming multi-story townhomes with original hardwood flooring.

While its high-rises were once strictly courthouses and offices, Downtown Brooklyn’s tall buildings now house sought-after real estate in New York City. Properties like the Oro on Gold Street and the BellTel Lofts on Bridge Street are spectacular examples of the area’s newfound penchant for luxury. The BellTel Lofts building was once home to the historic New York Telephone Company. Its conversion into condominiums indicated a changing tide for the area—one that studiously honors the past while recognizing the neighborhood’s growth, popularity and need for more contemporary housing.

Downtown Brooklyn history

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Downtown Brooklyn went to the Dutch in the 17th century. At the time, it was known as Breuckelen and was a bit of a ghost town. Then Robert Fulton invented his legendary steamboat—and Downtown Brooklyn history changed forever. The new mode of communication made it easy to reach the neighborhood from Manhattan. It was a bold change for Brooklyn, and it drew many abolitionists in the latter half of the century. Many areas, including the African Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal Church in what is now MetroTech Center, served as safe houses in the Underground Railroad.

Over time, Downtown Brooklyn became a central commercial point. Its economy thrived as businesses were erected and schools, like the Brooklyn Academy of Music, were developed. It wasn’t until the neighborhood rezoning in 2004, though, that it became a more promising residential option. The extensive growth carried over to the retail sector, and Downtown Brooklyn emerged an energetic, thriving neighborhood.

Downtown Brooklyn restaurants

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Once more of a hotspot for commonplace fast food restaurants and small delis, the neighborhood developed into a foodie’s paradise in much the same way it exploded in the residential sector. It was in response to the new residents’ desire for better food, more eclectic options worthy of New York City’s mixed population.

Today, there’s a hodgepodge of mouthwatering options that range from Peruvian chicken takeout joints and chic sushi bistros to farm-to-table establishments and gritty-yet-charming taco bars. Several eateries are local fixtures that have been around for decades: Souvlaki House, whose gyros draw visitors from afar, and Junior’s Cheesecake, which has served its world-famous sweet treat since 1950.

Downtown Brooklyn attractions

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Activities abound in Downtown Brooklyn. The area is jam-packed with exquisite parks, including the nearby Brooklyn Bridge Park and the volunteer-run Rockwell Place Bears Community Garden.

One of the most active spots in Downtown Brooklyn is Albee Square, a 27,000-square-foot plaza that features live performances and hosts Albee Square Farmers Market from spring through fall. Equally bustling Fulton Mall is a pedestrian-friendly spot with over 150 national chains and local boutiques, including fashion hotspot Brooklyn Industries and New York City clothier Cookie’s Kids.

Lively theater and art spaces pepper Fulton Street, including the urban performing arts center BAM Harvey Theater, and UrbanGlass, a center devoted to art made solely of glass. Barclays Center, the renowned sports and entertainment complex, is one of the most popular Downtown Brooklyn attractions—it’s home to the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and the NHL’s New York Islanders.

Downtown Brooklyn apartments

There’s a strong mix of apartments in the neighborhood, ranging from straightforward studios to stylish lofts to luxury options with upscale amenities. Refined options are found at City Tower at City Point and The Brooklyner on Lawrence Street, which also happens to be one of the tallest buildings in the borough. Ultra-luxe amenities, including heated dog runs, a rooftop terrace with a fire pit, and a top-floor lounge, make the multi-room apartments at AVA DoBro a strong draw for anyone seeking chic Downtown Brooklyn apartments.

Downtown Brooklyn nightlife

The ever-growing culinary scene has contributed mightily to the thriving nightlife in Downtown Brooklyn. Nab a seat in The Dining Room for a sampling of over 30 local beers and a popular happy hour menu. If you’re feeling competitive, a visit to Livingston Manor Bar is smart: every other Monday is trivia night at this cozy-meets-rustic joint, and it can get pretty spirited. Even live performances have a place in Downtown Brooklyn—Hill Country Brooklyn is a barbecue hotspot with live Americana music nearly every night of the week.

The Heart of it All

"Downtown Brooklyn is truly the heart of Brooklyn. Boasting the borough's only three Michelin-starred restaurant, Brooklyn Fare, as well as fast food favorite Shake Shack, Downtown Brooklyn is the place to be."
Jacki Esposito
Jacki                Esposito
Explore Properties in the Neighborhood
173 CONCORD ST, Downtown Brooklyn $3,799,995Featured

What's In The Area: Downtown Brooklyn

Driving Walking

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

All Downtown Brooklyn tips




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