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Dec 31, 2000 07:10 AM

Church and Coney Island Aveue - - What gives?

  • d

MY wife and I are seriously thinking of moving to this general area. Neither of us are that familiar with the chowhounding resources that would be available to us there. Please help.

Thanks Chowhounds.

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  1. good move. you looking at some of the big houses in that nabe? they're bargains, and some of the nicest homes in town (wraparound porches, etc). the D/Q subway is really cool down there, feels very european. and you have the park right there (african drumming on sunday!). good movie theater on the other lower corner of the park.

    The food's great. coney island avenue is a thriving chowstrip with a very high standard of quality and a terrific ethnic mix. there's russian, uzbek, Haitian, Jamiacan, latino, pakistani, kosher (moreover, some of the city's only GOOD kosher), Italian (difara's, much mentioned on this board, is nearby). pretty good (not as good as it was) bosnian/albanian place on church. good bagels and turkish way down Coney island ave. Avoid Tres Amigos, the sprawling Mex at the top of Coney Island Ave. The Orchard, at Coney Island Ave and Ave J is the best fruit market in the city (but also one of the costliest). You're not too far from park slope food coop, whose organic vegetables are awesome and cheap enough to offset the fruit expense.

    Lots of place to track, the area rivals even Roosevelt Avenue for the number of new and intriguing places popping up all the time. I love "new and intriguing places popping up all the time", and if you're a hardcore hound, this may be enough to seal your decision.

    problems in the nabe: parking, and it's hard to get to northern Jersey and the upper west side (for transportation centrality, Jackson Heights rules...can be anywhere in 20 minutes). Also Pakistani kids (lots in that nabe) like to play their car radios super loud at 3am.


    7 Replies
    1. re: Jim Leff
      Dan Silverman

      Thanks Jim. Can I infer from your post that you live out there? If so for how long?
      My wife and I live in Brooklyn Heights now and have to move for a number of reasons--#1 being our beautiful one year old daughter, Georgia, who seems to have more stuff than the two of us combined. A great big sunny one bedroom apartment never felt so small.
      Also Brooklyn Heights seems to be on somewhat of a downward spiral chow-wise despite what some people on these boards have indicated. With the Xando-Cosi cafe/bar moving in on Montague and an extremely expensive "luxury condominium" popping up recently I feel that this neighborhood is doomed to become the next Upper East Side--a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.

      Thanks again for the chow tips, Jim. Anyone else care to put in their two cents?

      1. re: Dan Silverman

        No, I don't live there...I just eat there!

        But whenever I travel to other cities, I remark on how NYC has, by contrast, such utterly charmless living space. The only really inviting-looking houses (wrap-around porches, etc) in town, aside from one little strip in Astoria, are in that area. And the chow's great. Forgot to list Afghani and African and Uzbek and Azerbeijan, all within shooting distance.

        Also consider Danbury, CT. I think it was Pat Hammond who paraphrased the place (never having seen it, so she was basically teasing me for my fascination) as "Jackson Hts. with fresh air". Only an hour away.


        1. re: Jim Leff

          Actually, Jim, we have plenty of big ol' porches right here on City Island. And it's a lot closer than Danbury! Too bad the food's not so hot.

          1. re: Jim Leff
            david sprague

            i lived in that general area--specifically church and marlborough--back in the late '80s, when the nabe was largely caribbean (and the chow opportunities the same). while i found it pleasant enough, especially if you're thinking of one of those lovely prospect park south houses, the commute was often dreadful, the most dreadful i've ever experienced in the metropolitan area.

            not to belabor the point, but consider checking out jackson heights--other than a real movie theater (which are just one express stop away in forest hills), the nabe has just about everything i can think of. houses are a decent deal, co-ops seem to be an excellent deal, and, well, there's the chow!


          2. re: Dan Silverman
            Tamara Glenny

            I live on Parkside Avenue, a few blocks up from the neighborhood you're interested in. Some considerations: you can definitely walk from Church & Coney Island Ave down C.I. Ave to some restaurants (e.g., Bukhara, not to mention the venerable kosher deli Edna's on the other side of Ocean Parkway), but with kid(s) you will end up wanting a car. Maybe not right away, but eventually. Actually the parking around there isn't bad, and of course a lot of houses come with driveways. It will not feel like living in Brooklyn Heights--the distances are bigger. Supermarkets in the immediate neighborhood are pretty crap (I drive to Borough Park from our house, it's even nearer where you're going), but there are lots of little bodegas and Indo/Pak type grocery stores for last-minute shopping. With a car in Prospect Park South/Kensington/Ditmas Park you are within 20 minutes of almost anywhere in Brooklyn and thus the eating (and food shopping) possibilities are actually very wide. Stay away from Church Avenue--it's got crummy shops and it's always clogged. (Although the best jerk place in Brooklyn is on Church, Badoo International but it's a ways east from your nabe at 54th St.)

            1. re: Dan Silverman

              Are you the Dan Silverman who was the Chef at Alison on Dominick once upon a time? We've lived in Ditmas Park (the neighborhood with the big houses a la Jim) for 5 years--for free, courtesy of the church my husband serves as pastor. He's leaving, and so are we. To confirm what others said in response to Jim--the prices have skyrocketed in recent years. A house around the corner from us went for about $680,000 a few months back. Yes, it's huge, but well over half a million? We are buying nearby, but definitely the wrong side of the tracks, if you will, compared to Ditmas Park. Webster bewteen Coney and Ocean Parkway, near Bukhara, Famous Pita--my teenage son loves the latter for an enormous, cheap after-school meal. I like it because it's like a lesson in the history of Judaism and New York ethnic groups all-in-one. They used to roll hot puffy pitas off a conveyor belt in the back, ripe for the pickin'--I don't think they do anymore. Besides the places mentioned by Jim, there are a number of little groceries with good dried fruits, nuts, chocolates, etc., on Coney Island. And a quick bus ride or drive out Ditmas/18th Avenue lands you in good Italian grocery territory; a bit off 18th you'll find Collucio's (sp?) for great Italian groceries (can't beat the big salt-packed anchovies) and Royal Crown for bread, biscotti and more. (BTW, since you mentioned your daughter, the public schools in the area are terrific--right through high school, what with Midwood and Murrow nearby and Brooklyn Tech a short subway ride away.)Anyway--the house next to the one we're buying is for sale, if you're interested.

            2. re: Jim Leff
              Joyce Goldstein

              Well, I had to go contrary to Jim Leff, but as a 3+ year resident of the neighborhood I can safely say that the houses are no longer the bargains that they once were and are in fact very difficult to buy. Most of the houses that come onto the market are sold well within a couple of weeks and often to people who are on the broker's waiting lists for some time. So get yourself in line or start knocking on doors. Competition is stiff, though many of the houses need a great deal of work.

              That being said, it is a great neighborhood. Friendly, convenient to the city, diverse and all of that with large space and good neighbors. The downside is that shopping and day-to-day errands are a bit more difficult there. The neighborhood doesn't have the resources of many of the other more gentrified Brooklyn neighborhoods. That is both a good thing and a bad thing.

              That issue extends to restaurants. There are many terriffic Mexican, Turkish, Chinese, Pakistani-Indian, Deli, Italian restaurants not terribly far from this area. Most, though, require a hop on the subway or into your car. If that is not an issue for you....then come join us. It is, as I said, a welcoming neighborhood.

              And if you spot any good new restaurants, shops, etc. please let us know!