City Living: Fort Greene has a cool vibe and a laissez faire attitude
Nestled between a park and the waterfront, the centuries-old Fort Greene neighborhood offers cultural diversity and accessibility.
Ask Cecilia Clarke how she likes living in Fort Greene and she’ll tell you that “Fort Greene is the best place I have ever lived in my life. Ever.”
“I moved to Fort Greene ten years ago from Brooklyn Heights and within two weeks I had good friends on my block, the 51-year-old CEO of the Brooklyn Community Foundation said. “I have never, ever experienced anything like that--the clusters of friendships up and down my street are amazing. And I love the sense of devotion to community that you find here.”
JoAnn Ebanks, an agent with Citi Habitats, bought a home in Fort Greene 15 years ago.
“When I graduated from Howard it seemed that all my friends were going straight to Fort Greene. There are lots of Brooklyn neighborhoods with great architecture but there’s so much more to Fort Greene,” she said. “It’s the people who add such a wonderful dimension. People come wanting community and they want a diverse community -- diverse racially and economically. And that’s exactly what they get.”
Rodney Ripps, 59, who is an agent with Halstead, agrees.
“Fort Greene, where I’ve lived for seven years, is the best reflection of all ethnicities and cultures, of rich and poor,” he explained. “I love the cool vibe, the laissez faire attitude among residents. And there’s the supreme architecture: from what was once Brooklyn’s tallest building, the former Williamsburg Savings Bank, to the rows and rows of 19th century townhouses and wood frame gems.”
And if that’s not enough, he said, there’s also the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) cultural district: arts galore at BAM itself, the BAM Cinema, the Mark Morris Dance Center, the Theater for the New Audience, the new BRIC House Art Center and Urban Glass workshop and just a few blocks away from BAM, the Irondale Theater.
Need To Know
The boundaries of the neighborhood are “a bit of a moving goal post” according to Phillip Kellogg, director of the three-year-old Fulton Area Business Alliance but he states with confidence that they are Vanderbilt Avenue to the East, Flatbush Avenue to the West, Atlantic Avenue to the South and the Navy Yard to the North. More »
Transportation More »
Walt Whitman Branch Library, 93 St. Edwards St., 718-935-0244 More »
The closest post office is the Pratt Station branch at 524 Myrtle Ave. It will lose its lease soon however, and its relocation address is not yet posted. More »
Fort Greene is served by the 88th Precinct at 298 Classon Ave. Its Commanding Officer, Deputy Inspector Scott Henderson, graduated Fort Greene's Brooklyn Tech High School in 1988 so he knows the area well. In his Precinct, crime is down 76% since 1990, almost 25% since 2001. More »
Provence-born Catherine May Saillard’s French farm-to-table restaurant is a big favorite with locals for weekend brunch or dinner every night but Monday. The menu changes monthly, depending on what local farms have to offer.
They say this is the first South African restaurant of its kind in the U.S. The owners, Mark and Jenny Henegan have recreated the feel of a “shebeen”, an informal dining hall found in South African townships. Be adventurous: try amagwinya/retkoek, fried bread with mince and mango chutney filling or amadumbe, a sweet potato quiche
This cozy and friendly Mediterranean taverna is perfect for a pre-BAM dinner. If you're there for lunch, try their green eggs and lamb--delicious merguez lamb sausage and eggs scrambled with cilantro, tomato and red onion.
This is BAM’s cavernous public living room where just about every Friday and Saturday night, starting at 9, there’s live music and drinks
Brooklyn Public House
This irish pub, Brooklyn style has an impressive choice of beers that go perfectly with the bangers and mash and hamburgers. Outdoor seating when the weather warms up.
This is Fort Greene's first beer garde, and DSK fans love the place's bratwurst, great selection of beers, communal tables, weekly movie night and "mommy and me" afternoon play groups.
This much beloved independent bookstore was founded in 2009 and amazingly, partially funded by contributions from neighborhood residents. More than a bookstore Greenlight is a central meeting place for the community, a town square with sing a longs, story hours, book talks by local writers and discounts on books recommended by staff.
The Greene Grape
A one-stop food market for the neighborhood with wine and cheeses, prepared foods, fresh produce and Brooklyn made products. A perfect place to pick up goodies for a picnic in the park. One regular says that the "cheeses are phenomenal, the sandwiches are great--the Moo-seum is my favorite and it goes perfectly with their amazing kale salad."
In Fort Greene since 1999, this shop is the perfect place to buy a gift or treat for yourself--bath products, candles, ceramics, pillows mid-century furniture, buddha heads and books of Russian criminal tattoos — something for everyone, really.
In just five years, this crowded, frenetic marketplace has become world famous and is now open every Saturday from June to November in the playground at 176 Lafayette Avenue . (For the winter version, you have to go to Williamsburg) What will you find there besides hipsters? Antiques, vintage clothing, repurposed furniture, antiques and lots of good food.
Fort Greene Park
The sloping hills of this historical and geographical heart of the neighborhood is a perfect place for a stroll, preferably followed by a picnic. Along the periphery of the Park, you’ll see some of the fabulous brownstones that date from the 1850’s and epitomize brownstone Brooklyn at its best.
The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts
Part of the BAM cultural district, this is both a museum and a cultural and arts center. Its community space hosts workshops and performances and until January 19 its main gallery features "Six Draughtsman" an exhibit that highlights the drawing practices of six diasporan artists.