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City Living: Crown Heights
The north-central Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights, once associated with high crime and racial tension, has recently been transforming into a hot spot for investors, developers, young artists and entrepreneurs.
Known for its large Caribbean community, which thrives alongside another large population of Hasidic Jews, Crown Heights is mainly a melting pot of the two cultures with a few others sprinkled in.
On the main streets restaurants, bakeries and coffee shops reflect its diversity and changing demographics as younger people move in, many of whom, according to real estate broker Joanne Newbold of Heights Realty Advisors on Union Street, are either professionals, students, or newly married couples looking to start a family.
“It’s changed a lot but the new families moving in now are not leaving within one or two years,” she said. “They want to remain; they’re stable.”
Long-time features of the neighborhood such as its proximity to subways, parks and cultural institutions like the Brooklyn Museum, also play a vital role in attracting new residents to Crown Heights.
Nick Jurazich who runs the community blog, “I Love Franklin Ave.,” calls it a vibrant place.
“It’s not surprising that it’s now a hot commodity; it has a lot to offer,” he said of the area. “The folks who lived here a long time have done a great job preserving its look. And the range of perspectives and cuisines makes it an interesting place to live.”
--By LISA FRASER
Need To Know
Crown Heights is bordered to the north by Atlantic Avenue and to the south by Empire Boulevard and East New York Avenue. Howard Avenue is its eastern Border, with Washington Avenue to the west. More »
Buses: B12, B14, B17, B43, B44, B45 B46, B47, B48, B49, B65 More »
Crown Heights, 560 New York Ave. More »
315 Empire Blvd. More »
Crown Heights is covered by the 77th Precinct at 127 Utica Ave. and the 71st Precinct at 421 Empire Blvd. The neighborhood is still working on lowering its crime numbers, though robberies at the 71st Precinct decreased from 1,708 in 1990 to 322 in 2012. More »
Basil Pizza and Wine Bar
This Italian bistro serves up pizza from a wood burning oven alongside a selection of wine and beer. It also offers kosher-certified dishes.
Gloria’s Caribbean Cuisine
Gloria’s is well-known for its authentic Caribbean dishes ranging from curry chicken with roti to stew oxtails and traditional drinks like ginger beer and sorrel.
The Breukelen Coffee House
Part of the growing café scene in Crown Heights, Breukelen boasts a laid-back atmosphere perfect for sipping on java and participating in some good people-watching.
This spacious Cajun/Creole bar serves up authentic Cajun food, 16 craft brews on tap and a good selection of whiskey, bourbon and scotch.
This neighborhood spot is a prime place to visit with friends and participate in Karaoke Wednesdays.
The Crown Inn
An array of affordable drinks and a friendly atmosphere makes this another neighborhood hot spot to mingle on the weekend.
Opened just last year, this bike shop caters to expert cyclists and newbies alike. They sell bikes, parts and accessories and also do repairs.
Bob & Betty's Food Market
This family-run business that has survived the neighborhood's transition carries many specialty items, fresh pasta sauces and a variety of gourmet ice creams, beer and cheese.
Cool Pony Boutique
This boutique offers vintage clothing and records. It also doubles as a performance space for folk music and open mic sessions.
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Reportedly the first museum in the world created for children in 1899, it features interactive exhibits and events such as Try It Tuesdays! when kids can explore science, art and language.
This exhibition and performance space features many emerging artists from the Caribbean to East Africa.
Franklin Park Reading Series
This monthly reading series brings the Crown Heights community together at the Franklin Park Bar every month to indulge in the stories and poems of emerging and established writers.