Fuhgeddaboutit! That's the message you'll see on the "Welcome to Brooklyn" sign as you head into the borough from Manhattan on the Brooklyn Bridge. But it's doubtful that you'll forget about this magical place anytime soon.
Brooklyn is known for being Manhattan's little lesser-known brother, but in recent years, it has actually developed a reputation completely its own - and a well-deserved one at that! Brooklyn is home to some of the best music, art and culture that you can find anywhere in the country, and with a population of 2.6 million people, it has very much become its own city. The area has unique neighborhoods that have become enclaves of culture and residents display enormous pride for their beloved borough.
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Moving to Brooklyn
The search for city apartments in Brooklyn can be grueling and super-competitive. The good news, however, is that once you find a place, you will be settled in one of the most desirable, elite areas in the world! If you're lucky enough to find a one- or two-bedroom apartment here, you might want to hang onto it because rents have skyrocketed in the past few years. But, with so many transients coming in and out of the city, you're bound to find an apartment you love if you just devote a little time and energy to your hunt. Here are a few things to consider when you're planning your hunt for a house rental.
Brownstone or High Rise?
When you're looking for Brooklyn apartments, you should consider what type of housing you're interested in. You're not going to find any country homes here, so you should give up your dreams of that giant estate you keep envisioning. However, you can find spacious apartments and beautiful brownstones that can make wonderful homes. The more you can afford and the further away from Manhattan you get, the more space you will have! Consider what type of place you want - is it important to you to live in your own stand-alone brownstone or townhouse? Or do you really love the sleek modernity of high-rises and large apartment complexes? Thinking about these things before you start your hunt will help you stay ahead of the game on finding awesome property rentals.
What You'll Need
When you begin your hunt, you should make sure to plan a number of different appointments to get a feel for what is available in Brooklyn. This will give you the upper hand in deciding on a place. Regardless of where or what you're looking at, make sure to bring a folder with all the documents you'll need to rent. This includes an ID, credit report, bank statements, letter of employment, pay stubs, bank statements and any other documents you think your landlord might be interested in. Remember that renting in Brooklyn is basically like winning a lottery - you have to be in the right place at the right time and have a whole lot of luck. Don't be discouraged if you miss out on a place because someone else decided to sign on it first. The old adage in Brooklyn is that you have to lose your dream home to find your dream home, so be persistent and your efforts will pay off!
Neighborhoods in Brooklyn
If you were going by population, Brooklyn would actually be the fourth largest city in the United States! It's filled with its fair share of unique, eclectic neighborhoods that each bring something different to the borough. Here are a few of the more well-known neighborhoods.
Brooklyn Heights: One of the oldest settled areas in Brooklyn, this is where the millionaires like the Rockefeller and Pierrepont families used to live. Its ideal location right on the Hudson River looks out onto the skyline of lower Manhattan. Suffice it to say this is PRIME real estate. Which isn't to say that you can't still find bargains in the area. Some of the older buildings have been divided into small studio apartments that rent for pretty cheap - in some cases, even less than other less "trendy" areas of Brooklyn. The flip side is that many are in old walk-up buildings that haven't been super well maintained.
Williamsburg: Widely known as the hipster capital of America, Williamsburg was formerly home to many bohemians and artists in the New York area. It has recently seen many changes, however, and now houses many of the city's bankers and financial wizards. It's known for having a gritty feel with lots of huge, industrial warehouse-like apartments and many older studios and one bedrooms in graffiti-covered brick buildings.
Bay Ridge: Located further south in Brooklyn, Bay Ridge is rapidly becoming a popular place to rent apartments. Rents are cheaper, and it still provides easy access into downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan on NYC mass transit. This is the place to look for larger homes and even single-family houses with yards -- a rarity in New York City.
Park Slope: Park Slope is a charming neighborhood whose biggest asset is the beautiful Prospect Park, located on the southern edge of the area. It was designed by the same people responsible for Central Park and is a massive enclave of peaceful pastures, ponds and bike paths that provide a very welcome escape from the big-city chaos. You can find all kinds of people sunning, relaxing and exercising in the park and many dogs running wild during off-leash hours. The neighborhood is otherwise known for its small-town feel and having lots of cafes, restaurants, shops and bars lining its tiny side streets and avenues.
Greenpoint: Greenpoint is a diverse neighborhood that was fairly quiet and unnoticed until the hipster spillover from Williamsburg turned it into a trendy hotspot for young and old alike. It's the place to go if you love pirogues, cheap beer and great concerts, but beware -- property values here are rapidly rising and it's getting increasingly difficult to find rental units here!
Living in Brooklyn
Life in Brooklyn is never dull, that's for sure. Whether you choose to live on the outskirts in Coney Island or right in the thick of things in Williamsburg or downtown Brooklyn, you'll have no shortage of excitement. Even the neighborhood convenience store, known here as a "Bodega," is usually a hub of interaction and excitement, unlike what you find in smaller cities. It has as much to offer in the way of culture and entertainment as Manhattan does, if not more. The new giant concert and sports complex, Barclay's Center, brings in some of the biggest names in entertainment as you'll find anywhere else in the world. PS1 and the Brooklyn Museum bring in amazing art exhibits and parties, and the restaurants and bars you can find from Greenpoint to Gowanus are arguably the best in the city. In short, you get to enjoy the high life that Manhattan offers with a little more space to keep to yourself. Renting here is difficult to say the least, but if you give yourself some time and bring an optimistic attitude and plenty of patience to the endeavor, then you'll be in good shape to find your dream apartment in the city's friendliest borough!