Crown Heights has incredible proximity to the rest of Brooklyn, but it’s not just a neighborhood of convenience. It has a rich history, incredibly beautiful houses, and cultural institutions.
Crown Heights is in the middle of everything. This central Brooklyn enclave is next to Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. In the west, it’s a short walk to the Barclays Center (home of the Brooklyn Nets). In the east, it borders Brownsville and is a short trip to both Flatbush’s Kings Theatre and nightlife across Bushwick.
Who lives in Crown Heights?
Crown Heights is split into two Census tracts, Crown Heights North and Crown Heights South. According to the 2010 Census, there are over 142,000 residents between the two segments. Interestingly, both neighborhoods had a population drop from 2000 to 2010, but that isn’t because of a lack of desirability, in fact it might be because of it.
With both gentrification taking hold in both sections of Crown Heights, the drop in residents may be because new residents, who are wealthier than previous residents, are less likely to live in crowded living situations.
Historically three communities have called Crown Heights home: African-Americans, immigrants from the West Indies and Hasidic Jews. These communities add to the cultural fabric of New York City on the whole, and Crown Heights specifically.
How Affordable is Crown Heights?
Crown Heights real estate is beautiful. Historically it was wealthier and posher than the neighborhoods next to it in the east. There was a point when Crown Heights was a very cheap place to live but those days are over. In general living in Crown Heights, Brooklyn is still affordable, but not as cheap as it was a decade ago. But really nowhere in NYC is.
As of February 2020, there are 325 homes in Crown Heights for sale on Localize.City. The average one-bedroom for sale in Crown Heights is $656,000. Which is a shade below the Brooklyn median of $675,000. Localize.City has over 400 apartments to rent in Crown Heights. The median one-bedroom for rent is listed at $2,300, which also comes in below the borough-wide median of $2,570.
Home buying in Crown Heights is not prohibitively expensive, and if you’ve already started the home search, the costs of living in Crown Heights, Brooklyn shouldn’t give you too much sticker shock.
Transportation in Crown Heights
How far is Crown Heights from Manhattan? Not far at all. It’s incredibly convenient to get from many parts of Crown Heights to offices or other workplaces in Manhattan. For example, this three bedroom apartment on Pacific Street is just 25 minutes by transit from the Financial District, and 38 minutes by public transit from Midtown.
One of the best parts about Crown Heights is how many subway lines traverse the neighborhood. The 2, 3, 4, and 5 trains all run through Crown Heights, in addition to the Franklin Avenue shuttle. That shuttle links Crown Heights residents to other lines very nearby, including the B train and Q train at Prospect Park, and the A train and C train at their Franklin Avenue stop.
Several buses criss-cross the neighborhood, and nearby in Bed-Stuy is a Long Island Rail Road stop on Nostrand Ave. The LIRR line here doesn’t go all the way to Manhattan (it terminates at Atlantic Terminal), but if you have friends or family on Long Island, or just want to escape the city for the day, it’s incredibly easy to travel.
Culture and Museums Galore
Living Crown Heights, Brooklyn lets you live near some of New York’s best cultural institutions. In addition to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, there is the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Jewish Children’s Music, and the Weeksville Heritage Center.
The Brooklyn Museum’s permanent collection can go toe-to-toe with any major art museum in America, and permanently features The Dinner Party, an installation by Judy Chicago that is one of the most iconic displays of 20th Century Feminist art on display in the world.
Crown Heights Northern Historic District
Within Crown Heights is a protected historic district, featuring over 1,000 buildings in this residential part of Brooklyn. If you are interested in buying a home in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, definitely check on Localize.city if that building is part of this district. These buildings highlight various beautiful types of architecture, but there are downsides, like you can’t fully renovate or update your home unless it’s up to district standards.
The southeastern corner of Crown Heights was once a neighborhood known as Weeksville, a community of freed Black slaves who found refuge from southern bondage and northern persecution in Brooklyn. It was named after James Weeks, an African-American stevedore born in Virginia. During the infamous draft riots of 1863, many Black New Yorkers found safe haven in Weeksville.
After the Brooklyn Bridge was completed and the population of Brooklyn ballooned, Weeksville became a less known neighborhood and was rolled into Crown Heights, where it is today. But starting in 1968 there was an increased interest in the history of this enclave, and soon after the Weeksville Heritage Center was established, where New Yorkers today can visit and learn about how these residents lived over a century ago.
West Indian Day Parade and Carnival
One of the highlights of living in Crown Heights is the annual parade on Labor Day. Every year the parade attracts as many as three million revelers, watching the dances, performances and costumes of the marchers.
Many attendees are Crown Heights residents who are from, or their parents are from, Carribean nations including Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Barbados, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Jamaica, Saint Vincent and Granada. There also is a large Afro-Panamanian contingent at the parade, and people from mainland nations like Guyana, Suriname and Belize.
While the parade initially started in Harlem, it has been in Crown Heights along Eastern Parkway since 1964. Additionally it is name-checked in Brooklyn-native JAY Z’s ‘Empire State of Mind,’ a song that has dislodged Liza Minelli and Frank Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York’ as the unofficial anthem of the world’s greatest city.
770 Eastern Parkway
To the Chabad-Lubavitch movement of Hasidic Judaism, this is the most famous address in the world. This iconic site is the World Headquarters of the Chabad-Lubavitch group. The Chabadniks are some of the best-known Hasidic Jews around the world, primarily for their outreach activities.
While Jews do not prosthelytize to worshippers of other religions, the Chabad movement is very active in encouraging other Jews to embrace their religion. Many American colleges have Chabad Houses which help students away from home engage in Judaism. Because of that national and international focus, there are many Chabadniks worldwide, and they often come to 770 Eastern Parkway to worship and connect with their community.
In the fall, during the Jewish High Holidays (and really during any major Jewish holidays), the streets of Eastern Parkway are full of religious revelers. Additionally this area has a plethora of high-quality kosher restaurants, making all parts of Crown Heights an ideal neighborhood for those who keep kosher.