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Feb 26, 2001 11:54 AM

Not food related: Asking about Fort Greene

  • k

Sorry to ask a non-food related question here but it is specific to New York so I couldn't go to the not about food boards.

I am considering moving to Fort Greene but don't know anythign about the area and I'm not sure if it would be a good move.

I currently live in Cobble Hill but want to move to a larger apt. (so I am used to BRooklyn living). I will, of course, walk around the neighborhood to see if I like it but wanted to hear about the area from people who are familiar with it.

It seems that new restaurants, bars and cafe's are popping up but what is the vibe of the area - will it become another Smith St? (not necessarily a good thing.


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  1. Fort Greene and neighboring Clinton Hill are currently gentrifying at a breathtaking pace - they are physically very attractive low-density neighborhoods with some of the loveliest and most charming residential streets in downtown brooklyn. IMO much greater racial diversity than Cobble Hill, a very interesting mix. Once you get a few blocks into Fort Greene,there are no extensive commercial areas (I exclude Fulton and Myrtle, which are at the margins), so a concentrated Smith Street type phenomenon is not likely to develop. Think of what it would be like if your local corner bodega on a residential block turned into a nice cafe -thats more what it feels like.

    9 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb

      Thanks for the info Jen. I had been to Ft. Greene a few years back but really sounds like I need to revisit!

      1. re: Kiki

        Kiki, My husband had lived in Cobble Hill all his life, but we've been priced out and moved to South Oxford Street in Fort Greene just a few months ago. We love it! There's better subway service, Twyla Tharp and Mark Morris are opening studios, there's a great restaurant scene on DeKalb which is perhaps a little Smith Street-ish except that you can actually get a table and the clientele seems much more mixed, etc. etc. It's a little underserved by dry cleaners and produce shops and the like, but you should definitly take another look.

        1. re: Kendra

          Not to be a wet towel or anything, but a good friend of mine has lived in Ft. Greene for some time now, in one of the tonier sections. He had the unsettling experience of being robbed at gunpoint just outside his building by two gentlemen who offered to put "a cap in yo' white ass." My friend declined this opportunity and swiftly surrendered his wallet in appreciation of being spared the pleasure. I am sure that many will be quick to point out that this kind of thing happens all the time all over the city, but the part that made the experience especially edifying was my friend's encounter with NY's finest. My friend, being an officer of the court felt it was his civic duty to report this incident to the authorities. The police did everything but laugh in his face. They essentially pointed out to him that he was residing cheek by jowl with a large and relatively unsavory housing project wherein dwelt some predators, and that he, (lawyer, yuppy scum) was the preferred prey animal. My friend is planning on moving.

          1. re: Roger Lee

            Ah yes. But the same can be said about all of Brownstone Brooklyn or indeed, the Upper East and West Sides of Manhattan. There are projects not to far from most "desirable" residential areas. And wealthier people will always be "prey animals" to predators. As anyone who has been followed home from the subway and mugged in Park Slope can attest. But it is interesting that the crime rate remain substantially higher in our poorer neighborhoods. So I guess those folks are prey, too.

            All of the Brownstone nabes are substantially safer than they were 10 or even 5 years ago. Ft G may be a bit "edgier" than some but to me it feels pretty safe. Eveyone has to know their own comfort level and test out the situation for themselves. Before we bought our house in Prospect Hts and moved from the UWS, 20 years ago, I went out there, by myself at night to be sure I was comfortable. And it was so quiet (by comparison and I could see the stars!) That was in a neighborhood that was infinitely poorer and more crime-ridden than FtG was now. So be your own judge. And dont be scared off by the inevitable horror story which, believe me, everyone has.

            1. re: Roger Lee

              I find it very disturbing that we are discussing a situation of "predator" and "prey". I mean if you really analyze the situation (economically and sociologically), who preys on who? The poor preys on the rich?

              1. re: dasein

                The characterization was the one proposed by the police officers in the anecdote, although I did modify it slightly. I believe the original formulation was "wolves and lambs." I suppose that the police tend to look at things from a more practical perspective and leave the heavy-lifting of sociology to others.

                1. re: Roger Lee
                  Adrienne Ward

                  As a former resident of Fort Greene (the isolated part near the Navy Yard) and then Clinton Hill, I never had any safety issues, which was a big concern as I was living there as a single woman. However, I made it my business to get to know most of the people on my block -- it's a wonder what baking Christmas cookies will do! Also, my block in Clinton Hill, as many do, had an active block association that traded info about crime.

                  Apart from the obvious fact that many of the houses are beautiful, a big plus of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill is that many of the blocks are very deep and the buildings are relatively short, so it was actually possible, without having roof access, to grow tasty tomatoes and herbs, as well as lilies, roses, dahlias and other sun-loving flowers. Now I'm getting all nostalgic....

                  1. re: Roger Lee
                    Thought Police

                    Part of not getting mugged in any neighborhood, of course, is not walking around with your head up your ass and sticking to places that have other people walking around in them. The same advice applies to any neighborhood in the city--statistically, you're as likely to get mugged in "safe" neighborhoods with lots of fat wallets walking around as in ghetto neighborhoods, where no mugger in his (her?) right mind would hang looking for marks with money. Decide which you'd rather be--a chowhound or a shock troop for real estate interests.

                2. re: Roger Lee

                  Since this thread is interesting but is Not About Food, I suggest moving to the Not About Foods board. I've posted a response there.