Clinton Hill/ Fort Greene

An insider’s guide to moving in Brooklyn: Fort Greene

This block could be your life. Photo by Charlie Russell
This block could be your life. Photo by Charlie Russell

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Moving, be it from out of state or while you’re already living here, can be a real pain. What makes Brooklyn’s neighborhoods different from each other, aside from different levels of being expensive? Well, we’ve got people who’ve lived all over this borough and are more than happy to share their insider neighborhood knowledge with you. First up: the bucolic brownstone streets of Fort Greene!

Photo by Charlie Russell
Photo by Charlie Russell

Subway Stop(s)
G to Fulton / Clinton Washington or C to Lafayette

Describe the neighborhood to someone new
If you wanted to live in the prettiest place possible near a park but still be semi-affordable – like you have a job but you can save some too. Once you live there you’re spending your weekends eating lobstor rolls at the Flea market and otherwise trying to find places to eat that are open past 10pm. So it’s kind of like a neighborhood that is figuring itself out, like you are, in your early 30s. Probably good for kids but not annoying if you don’t have any yet.

Photo by Charlie Russell
Photo by Charlie Russell

Main attractions
A lovely smattering of specialty food stores, cafes and cozy nook like restaurants. It’s not the cheapest, but Greene Grape Provisions on the corner of Fulton and the sister wine store up the street are two out three stops for your dinner party. Last up, stop at Stem for a tiny bunch of flowering blossoms for your table. On the weekend, the sidewalk on end of the Fort Greene park comes alive with the Farmer’s market and in the fall  a bluegrass band will jam out at the entrance to the park. Like the most picturesque of Brooklyn neighborhoods, the brownstone lined streets are quaint and nice to walk along – especially in  Spring when there are cherry trees in bloom.

Photo by Charlie Russell
Photo by Charlie Russell

Best cheap thing(s) to do
Get a sammy and an americano from Bittersweet and chill in the park. Sit outside at Olea for happy hour drinks and tapas between 4pm and 7pm on weekdays. Go to free readings at Greenlight bookstore on Fulton. Habana Outpost’s summer movie series stretches into the fall and always has great picks. And of course, there’s always Target at Atlantic Center if you need a reasonably priced pot or pan for your home.

The Rub
There aren’t good trains to get to places like Union Square or the Upper East Side, so if you work there then you are committing to two trains or a long walk home.

7/10. Occasionally people get their phones stolen when they use it right when they exit the subway.

What do people say when you tell them you live there?

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  1. Woody

    The Rub
    There aren’t good trains to get to places like Union Square or the Upper East Side, so if you work there then you are committing to two trains or a long walk home.

    Ummm, Atlantic Ave Station? I don’t know what part of Fort Greene you’re writing from, but it’s like a mad quick walk to Atlantic Ave for the Q train to Union Square or the 4/5 to the Upper East.

    • Emily

      Defensive writer here:

      YES Woody, that it true. It DOES depend on what part of Fort Greene you are writing from.

      In my case consider this the heart of the place, next to the Masonic Temple and the Catholic church that nestle together on the very same block on Lafayette. Truth be told this is closer to the Clinton Washington stop on the G because GEZUS, who can afford a place closer in to Atlantic Avenue? Plus then now you have that star trek looking swooping thing that JZ made sitting out your window.

      BTW – did anyone see that ridiculous video of Jay and Marina Abramovic doing a dance together at a Chelsea Gallery? It’s like they are doing some kind of ceremony of arts but they speak totally different languages. Manhattan, you can’t just put two famous people together and call it a day!

      But folks, if you can swing it like this guy, and live super close to the Q then you are moments from Whole Foods which is like the best place to shoplift from according to novelist Toa Lin. His odds are 200/1.

  2. dededos

    As a fort greener who works in union square, I am a bit perplexed about the travel comment. We live within blocks of Atlantic Center which in addition to the 2,3,4,5,N,R,B,D and the LIRR also has the miracle Q train, which is three stops from Union Square. It’s a 30 minute commute. And if you happen to live further from the train, there are Citibike racks all over the neighborhood that you can use to wheel yourself to the racks at Atlantic Center.

    • Emily

      Oh man, don’t even get me started about those hideous ads on wheels. They look like a cardboard version of a bike I had when I was in elementary school! With that big logo lopping around with every push?

      Wait wait don’t mall me! I’m glad they are there, really I am. I’m just not going to ride that thing to the subway every morning and pay for that service in addition to my $2.50 fare.

      BTW – I’m curious. What is the breakdown between what the city gets for the bike rentals and what the bank gets? I’m sure the internet can tell me. But from what I hear from people talking there are divergent ideas about who profits.

      (this has been live commenting, with emily k)

  3. smulligan

    While a generally accurate—albeit basic—representation of the neighborhood, I can’t read this and not comment on your opinion that Fort Greene doesn’t have “good trains”. The heart of Fort Greene is Fulton & S.Portland, which is a 4-minute walk to the 2 3 4 5 B Q D N R. If you’re a bit further out in Fort Greene, near the park, that is no more than a 12-minute walk. Other parts of Brooklyn rely on a bus to get to a train; so, a 12-minute walk is nothing, especially considering nearly every single line is at your disposable.

    And, one more qualm: I don’t know anyone that can afford to buy even a few dried-up fallen petals from Stem. DIY bouquet from Fresh Garden > Stem.

    • Emily

      Really? I feel like you coulda. Just like I coulda taken twelve minutes to walk to the subway every day, but you got to complain about something right?

      Good point about the flower shop though. Maybe that’s why they call it Stem instead of Stems. Because you can only afford to buy one.

      But, if you want more insider tips, just ask! The chocolate ice cream at the stand in front of General Greene. The BBQs behind the masonic temple. The Halloween spooky show on Clinton Ave. Dino’s backyard.

      P.S. if you want DIY read my last post about making lip balm. Or move to the ‘burg.

      • danomak

        Of the things I’d say that negatively impact Fort Greene, the proximity and efficiency of the trains (or bus stops, if you’re into that) if definitely not one of them.

        Plus, if you’re taking the A or C, you get out of work AT Habana Outpost. That place is worth at least a twenty minute walk.

        • Emily

          “good trains to get to places like Union Square or the Upper East Side” I say! A and C are excellent for Tribeca area or the west side. But if you live on the Clinton Hill Side of Fort Greene like moi, then the 6 is a fine walk on the weekend but would be a trek for the every day commute.

          Ok but really, maybe it’s just that there’s NOTHING bad about living in FG at all. I mean who even needs the trains if you live there. It’s got everything you need as a neighborhood already.

  4. Brian Rosenthal

    I know I’m late to the game and I see people have posted like crazy about this already BUT… Fort Greene has by far the best train access in Brooklyn. If you live next to the Masonic temple, then you’re just about in Clinton Hill which is a different story. CH is still a wonderful neighborhood, just shittier train access.

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