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City Living: East New York is Brooklyn's next up-and-coming neighborhood

East New York is not a neighborhood of yoga studios, trendy coffee shops and pet grooming spas -- yet.

However, real estate developers who have been eyeing the area, which offers affordable real estate prices and easy access to mass transit and major highways, may soon change that.

Though the area's crime rates have historically been high compared to other nabes in the city, residents say its good sides are often overlooked.


Photo Credit: Jeremy Bales

"There's diversity here," said Chris Banks, a life-long resident and executive director of the East New York United Concerned Citizens, Inc. He said that along with African and Caribbean Americans, East New York is also home to a population of Russian Jews and Bangladeshis.

There are also plenty of activities to keep community members engaged.

"On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in the summer you'll see block parties and street festivals taking place or farmers markets around the neighborhood," Banks said.


Along with the new Cypress Hills Pitkin Verde
Photo Credit: Jeremy Bales

Along with the new Cypress Hills Pitkin Verde Farmers Market running through November on Pitkin Avenue, the nabe is also home to reNew Lots, an artist incubator and marketplace with food and goods from 10 local entrepreneurs.

Locals congregate at spots like Grant Caffe on Liberty Avenue, where they have breakfast and coffee before jumping on the A train. In the evenings, they grab Chinese food or pop in for a bite at Tavares restaurant on Cleveland Street, Carro Café on Fulton Street or Lindenwood Diner on Linden Boulevard.


Those looking to live in the area will
Photo Credit: Jeremy Bales

Those looking to live in the area will find single-family and multi-family homes as the bulk of their options.

Two-families usually sell for between $670,000 and $750,000 and bigger buildings like four-family homes fetch around $825,000, according to Joe Azar, a real estate agent with Citi Habitats. One-family houses with private backyards go for around $525,000, he said.

On the rental side, the monthly cost of a one-bedroom in East New York is generally between $1,250 and $1,500, Azar said, and three-beds rent for around $1,700.


But the housing market is slated to change,
Photo Credit: Jeremy Bales

But the housing market is slated to change, as real estate developers have been snatching up properties in the area. Recent big deals include Eli Tabak of Bluestone Group and some fellow investors buying Arlington Village, a two-building, 210-unit apartment complex on Atlantic Avenue, in March.

In May, Pinnacle Group, another prominent developer, bought 318 rental units in MeadowWood at Gateway, a 19-building complex that was formerly Mitchell-Lama.


Commercial spaces on Atlantic and East New York
Photo Credit: Jeremy Bales

Commercial spaces on Atlantic and East New York avenues are also being eyed by developers, Azar said.

While it's unclear what will be done with the housing units that were bought this year, Azar said it means the once-neglected neighborhood will see gentrification.

However, redeveloping the nabe will only help if it's done tactfully, Banks stressed. He said the gentrification that's happened in other parts of Brooklyn isn't necessarily what's best for East New York.

"I think one of the things and fears we do have is that East New York is going to be gentrified," Banks said. "You shouldn?t have to develop a community to bring folks in. Fix it for residents who live here and if [newcomers] want to move into the community that would be OK."

"We don't want folks to get pushed out. We need to keep the area affordable for people who live here," he added. "I hope in 10 to 20 years it is developed, because development is not bad but responsible development is what we want."

Find it

East New York's boundaries are jagged, but it
Photo Credit: Google Maps

East New York's boundaries are jagged, but it falls between Jamaica Avenue to the north and Jamaica Bay to the south. It's bordered to the west by Van Sinderen and Williams avenues and to the east by Eldert Lane and down 78th Street.


The basics

Transportation Trains: Long Island Railroad to East New
Photo Credit: Jeremy Bales


Trains: Long Island Railroad to East New York Station

L to New Lots Avenue, Livonia Avenue, Sutter Avenue, Atlantic Avenue, Broadway Junction

A to Grant Avenue, Euclid Avenue, Broadway Junction

C to Liberty Avenue, Van Siclen Avenue, Shepherd Avenue, Euclid Avenue, Broadway Junction

J, Z to Broadway Junction, Alabama Avenue, Van Siclen Avenue, Cleveland St (J only), Norwood Avenue, Crescent Street, Cypress Hills (J only), 75 Street-Eldert Lane

2, 3, 4, 5 to Pennsylvania Avenue, Van Siclen Avenue, New Lots Avenue

Buses: B6, B12, B13, B14, B15, B20, B25, B60, B82, B83, B84, B103; Q8, Q24, Q56; BM2, BM5

Post office:

USPS, 2645 Atlantic Ave.

USPS, 1223 Sutter Ave.


BPL, 655 New Lots Ave.

BPL Cypress Hills, 1197 Sutter Ave.

BPL Spring Creek, 12143 Flatlands Ave.


East New York is covered by the 75th Precinct at 1000 Sutter Ave. In the week of Aug. 10-16 there was one rape, nine robberies and five burglaries reported in its CompStat report. So far this year, the precinct reported 14 murders and 35 rapes as of Aug. 16. Overall crime is down 7.8% compared to the same time last year.

Real estate

To rent 2771 Atlantic Ave. #3 Two beds,
Photo Credit: Jeremy Bales

To rent

2771 Atlantic Ave. #3 Two beds, one bath; $1,650/month

577 New Lots Ave. #4 Two beds, one bath; $1,495/month

4 Arlington Ave. #2 Three beds, two baths; $2,199/month

To buy

255 Arlington Ave. Five beds, three baths; $649,000

131 New Jersey Ave. Three beds, three baths; $475,000

2015 East New York Market data as of Sept. 1

Median sales price: $400,000

Number of units on market: 321

Median rental price: $1,650

Number of rentals on market: 176


To Eat

-- Lindenwood Diner, 2870 Linden Blvd. A popular
Photo Credit: Jeremy Bales

-- Lindenwood Diner, 2870 Linden Blvd.

A popular mainstay in the neighborhood, this vibrant diner cooks up Latin, Caribbean and Cajun cuisine among others. Locals flock here on weekends, opting to dine inside or outside on the patio.

-- City Line Pizza & Pasta, 1224 Liberty Ave.

Whether it's delivery or dine-in, chow down on specialty pizzas like baked ziti, BBQ chicken and penne a la Vodka.

-- Festac Grill & Lounge, 263 Hendrix St.

Nigerian dishes are on deck, including pepper soup, red stew and suya, the spicy skewered meat that is popular Nigerian street food. 347-627-5151

To party

-- El Faro Sports Bar & Grill,
Photo Credit: Jeremy Bales

-- El Faro Sports Bar & Grill, 3247 Fulton St.

Pop into El Faro to watch soccer or catch up over beer, horchata, or snacks like tamales and pupusas. 718-827-0014

-- El Gran Mar de Plata, 3175 Fulton St.

Go for the large portions of food, stay for the drinks and the late-night dancing. 718-827-1717

-- Carro Cafe, 3472 Fulton St.

The paella and camarofongo are a hit. There's live music on weekends and a DJ spins tunes every Tuesday.

To shop

-- Gateway Center, 501 Gateway Drive A mall
Photo Credit: Jeremy Bales

-- Gateway Center, 501 Gateway Drive

A mall containing big chains including ShopRite, JC Penney, TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack, DSW, The Home Depot and Bed Bath & Beyond. Grab a bite at Outback Steakhouse, Smashburger or Applebee?s to unwind. 718-235-0467

-- City Line retail district, Liberty Avenue between Autumn Avenue and Forbell Street

This stretch of small businesses offers clothing and shoe shops, a hardware store and a florist. Ethnic Bengali restaurants also dot the strip.

-- Aquaduck Flea Market, 700 Fountain Ave.

Vendors selll clothing, vintage collectables and food on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

To do

-- ARTs East New York, 851 Hegeman Ave.
Photo Credit: Jeremy Bales

-- ARTs East New York, 851 Hegeman Ave.

This arts organization provides a space for artists and vendors to create and showcase work while allowing visitors to participate. It also participates in community development programs.

-- reNew Lots, 170 New Lots Ave.

A new artisanal marketplace where visitors can find food and crafts from 10 local entrepreneurs and information on community programs.

-- Cypress Hills Youthmarket, 3208 Fulton Street between Richmond and Logan Streets

Neighborhood youth sell veggies and other goods on Fridays between July and the end of November.

Buzz: Residents call for housing for people with middle incomes

The real estate talk of the town lately
Photo Credit: Jeremy Bales

The real estate talk of the town lately has been largely about Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to create 200,000 affordable housing units throughout the city by 2024.

Included in his proposal is an East New York Community Plan which proposes community improvements such as creating a new school, bike lanes and pedestrian spaces. The plan would also preserve existing and build new affordable housing, starting with developing 1,200 units in the next two years.

But some East New York residents want to make sure there's housing for middle incomes too.

"We need to keep the area affordable for people who live here," said Chris Banks, a life-long resident and executive director of the East New York United Concerned Citizens. "What I'm fighting for and hope to see is a large percentage of affordable units mixed in with the middle income units."

He wants new developments in the area to be 60% affordable and 40% middle income, Banks said. He added that the median income in East New York is around $33,000 a year.

The area is already getting more affordable housing. The Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation has affordable housing plans for the building it purchased at 2501 Pitkin Ave. The redevelopment of Arlington Village by a group of investors led by Eli Tabak of the Bluestone Group is also reportedly slated to include affordable housing units.

Q&A: Eleanor Pinckney, president of the East New york Nehemiah Homeowners Association

In 1989 Eleanor Pinckney moved into the Nehemiah
Photo Credit: Jeremy Bales

In 1989 Eleanor Pinckney moved into the Nehemiah Spring Creek affordable housing complex in East New York because housing prices were rising where she was living in Clinton Hill. Today she still lives in the complex and champions its homeowners association.

What might people not know about East New York?

Most people who live here are happy to be here. They enjoy living out here and want to stay. You hear a lot of bad things about East New York but it has to do with the reputation it had, not the way it currently is. When you come out here you'll see that what you hear about is a myth. This is not a danger zone.

What are residents' thoughts on redevelopment in the area?

We're concerned that people will come in and build really tall buildings. We're not opposed to the community getting better -- the thing is to maintain the character of the many one- and- two-family homes that are here. We're also afraid of being priced out. If people can't hold on to their homes what's the likelihood that we'll still have the type of community we have now?

What's a benefit in living here?

The community and people, my neighbors all moved in at the same time and it's close-knit. East New York is fairly well-situated. It takes 15 minutes to get to JFK Airport, 25 to get to LaGuardia Airport and it's a direct ride if you're going to the city by any of the multiple train lines.


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