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Sunset Park, Brooklyn: What to do in the waterfront neighborhood

With its beautiful waterfront, culturally diverse residents and up-and-coming vibe, Sunset Park is in the running to be the next go-to place for young people in New York City.

As the millennial crowd search in their uberPOOL and Lyfts for the next Williamsburg or Bushwick — a place where the rents are more affordable than in other parts of Brooklyn, the L train shutdown isn’t looming, and gentrification hasn’t quite cemented itself — they may find it here.

Located south of Gowanus and Park Slope, Sunset Park isn’t quite “deep Brooklyn” — it’s a 20-minute drive or 30-minute subway ride on the N, R or D to downtown Manhattan — and with its tree-lined streets and traditional brownstones, it looks similar to Park Slope.

Coralys Otero, 27, an artist, moved to Sunset Park three years ago from the Bronx. She was attracted to the area for its namesake park, which spans 24.5 acres from 41st Street to 44th between Fifth and Seventh Avenues.

The park offers a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty, and it bustles with activity during the summer months: Families picnic, children ride bikes and scooters, and local residents gather for informal community meetings on the park benches.

“This is the first time I really go out to parks,” Otero said. “I come to the park sometimes to just sit down and draw. I mean, the view is beautiful, you don’t get that in other parks. It’s something that really inspires me.”

Earlier this year, a report by the commercial real estate firm Cush & Wakefield named Sunset Park one of the top 15 coolest neighborhoods in the U.S., calling it “edgy cool but in its infancy.”

“It’s not far from the city, it’s more affordable than the other communities around us, it has a lot of restaurants that cater to the tastes of a younger crowd,” said Jeremy Laufer, district manager of Brooklyn Community Board 7, of Sunset Park.

Trendiness is slowly edging in on Sunset Park, exemplified in part by its growing party scene in occasional warehouse parties and concerts.

The South Brooklyn Marine Terminal’s 39th Street Pier hosted the Time Warp festival last November; and genre-bending FKA Twigs performed at the Brooklyn Hangar, a warehouse space at 140 53rd St., three times in May 2015.

Meanwhile, the new Citywide Ferry is planned to link Sunset Park’s Brooklyn Army Terminal to Pier 11/Wall Street on Manhattan. The ferry service is scheduled to open in mid-2017 and is expected to transport Brooklynites to Manhattan in 35 minutes.

Industry City, a 6.5-million-square-foot business hub on 36th Street, hosts the Winter Flea and Smorgasburg market from November through March. It also houses an eclectic assortment of permanent businesses, from Aerobo, a start-up drone manufacturer, to Danielle Trofe Design, which makes lamps out of mushroom mycelium.

Some Sunset Park businesses set up shop in a gamble that the nabe will be the next big thing — as was the case for Angel Miranda, 25, who three years ago opened The Mug Cafe at 5811 Fourth Ave., an Italian and breakfast eatery.

“My friend told me that I was kind of jumping the gun, and that all the action right now was in the 20th the 30th [Streets in Greenwood and north Sunset Park],” he said, “But I was like,‘I’ll take a risk.’“

If business follows in the footsteps of local home prices, Miranda and other newcomers could see serious growth.

According to the real estate listings site StreetEasy, the median sales price in Sunset Park grew from $550,000 in 2012 to $800,000 in 2015. It surpassed overall Brooklyn, which had a borough-wide median sales price of $649,950 last year.

Sunset Park’s rental market is a little more attainable. While its median rent rose from $1,595 in 2012 to $1,900 in 2015, it was still down from Brooklyn overall, which saw $2,500 last year, the site found.

Jesus Elias Benitez, an associate sales broker with RE/MAX at The Slope, at 261 Fourth Ave. in Park Slope, has lived in Sunset Park for 15 years.

Benitez said he loves the neighborhood for its brownstones, which have remained unchanged since they were built around the turn of the 20th century, and vary in type from classical brownstones, to limestone and brick.

“Each block is different and unique,” he said.

Inside them is a diverse array of cultures, which are also reflected in the bustling Chinatown on Eighth Avenue and the Mexican community along Fifth.

Visitors can grab an authentic, all-natural fresh tamarind juice, served from a large jug on the sidewalk in front of Nieves Tia Mimi at 4711 Fifth Ave., and in just a few minutes’ walk grab jumbo shrimp at Lucky Eight, a Cantonese seafood restaurant at 5204 Eighth Ave.

Jairam Ganpat, 22, a student at Brooklyn College, has spent his life in Sunset Park and said it hasn’t lost its authenticity despite its growing population of newcomers.

“There’s a lot of older families just barbequing right outside of their apartment and just playing their music as loud as they want,” he said. “There’s just a festive vibe on any normal day.”


Sunset Park’s northeast boundary is 36th Street, and its boundaries extend southwest to the Belt Parkway and the Gowanus Expressway to 65th street. To the northwest, it is bordered by the Bay Ridge Channel, and on the southeast by Ninth Avenue, according to StreetEasy.

Sunset Park restaurants

Jalapeños5714 Fifth Ave.This Mexican restaurant is a favorite
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier


5714 Fifth Ave.

This Mexican restaurant is a favorite among locals. Pop in for a breakfast of huevos rancheros with runny eggs, and be sure to try one of the freshly-made juices.


Mister Hotpot

5306 Eighth Ave.

Indulge the traditional Chinese hotpot cuisine while pop music blares in this dimly-lit, trendy eatery.

El Tesoro Ecuadorian

4015 Fifth Ave.

A no-frills eatery with a large selection of Ecuadorian seafood dishes from shrimp casserole to octopus salad. Be sure to try a morocho, a sweet corn pudding drink, for dessert.


Bars and nightlife

Irish Haven Bar5721 Fourth Ave.A jukebox, a no-frills
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Irish Haven Bar

5721 Fourth Ave.

A jukebox, a no-frills bartender and cheap pints and cocktails ... what more could you want? A mainstay since it opened in 1964, Irish Haven was also the setting for the "cranberry juice" scene in Martin Scorsese's 2006 film "The Departed."


The Brooklyn Hangar

140 53rd St.

This warehouse space and music venue will host Flosstradamus on Fri. Oct. 21 and Sat. Oct. 22.

Industry City Distillery

33 35th St. #6A

Visit this super-hip location to sample its vodka, made in-house, with flavors including smoked fish and cured salumi. Its top-floor tasting room is open on weekends, while the space also hosts private events and runs tours of the distillery on Saturday afternoons.

Where to shop

WantedDesign220 36th St.The Industry City location of this
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier


220 36th St.

The Industry City location of this NYC store sells apothecary goods, jewelry and home decor from independent designers around the world.

Xin Fa Bakery

5617 Eighth St.

Head here for delicious and creamy Portuguese tarts.


Mr. C's Cycles

4622 Seventh Ave.

A bicycle-enthusiast can find everything they need at this two-story retail and repair shop.

Things to do in Sunset Park

Sunset Park41st to 44th streets between Fifth and
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Sunset Park

41st to 44th streets between Fifth and Seventh avenues

The area's 24.5-acre namesake. The park's public pool is open during the summer, and it also features basketball and handball courts, playgrounds and Wi-Fi.

Bush Terminal Park

Marginal Street between 44th and 50th streets

The neighborhood's hidden gem this waterfront park, which opened in 2014. It has a bike path, soccer and baseball fields, and sweeping views of Manhattan.


220 36th St.

Sign up for a free class this free art school in Industry City. Courses cover fine arts, writing and performance.

Transit basics

TrainsR to 36th Street, 45th Street, 53rd Street
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Spencer Platt


R to 36th Street, 45th Street, 53rd Street and 59th Street

N to 36th Street, 59th Street and Eighth Avenue

D to 36th Street and Ninth Avenue


B11, B35, B37, B63, B70

Sunset Park real estate data

Median sales price: $800,000 Number of units on
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Median sales price: $800,000

Number of units on market: 156

Median rental price: $1,900

Number of rentals on market: 522

(Source: StreetEasy)

Fun fact about Sunset Park

The 1996 film
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

The 1996 film "Sunset Park" stars Rhea Perlman, was directed by Steve Gomer and produced by Perlman's husband, Danny DeVito. The movie focuses on the female coach (played by Perlman) of the local high school's all-male basketball team. It features Terrence Howard in one of his earliest roles, and the soundtrack includes some of rapper Ghostface Killah's early work.

The buzz about Sunset Park

Eyes have been turning to Sunset Park after
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Eyes have been turning to Sunset Park after Mayor Bill De Blasio last year proposed a 10-point plan to grow the NYC manufacturing industry.

Part of the proposal includes a $100 million of $100 million from the New York City Economic Development Corporation to transform unused space in Sunset Park's Brooklyn Army Terminal into affordable locations for businesses.

More recently, a food manufacturing hub at the terminal -- an industrial complex between Second Avenue and the water -- opened last month, along with a Workforce1 Center, which opened in May and connects southwest Brooklyn residents with jobs in the area.

"We want to make sure that there are connections between our residents and the economic activities that are particularly going on along our waterfront," Community Board 7 district manager Jeremy Laufer said.

The terminal, built during World War I, was used by the U.S. military until the Vietnam War. It currently houses more than 100 tenants with 3,600 employees, from eco-furniture companies, to BioBAT, an HIV/AIDS research lab.

Maria Torres-Springer, president and CEO of the NYCEDC said the projects will bring jobs to the neighborhood, along with vitality to its economy.

"From precision manufacturers to furniture designers to world-famous chocolatiers, Brooklyn Army Terminal represents the best of New York City's revitalized manufacturing sector," Torres Springer said in a statement. "Our $100 million investment in the Brooklyn Army Terminal is growing jobs, strengthening local economies, and fostering cutting-edge innovations that make New York City so exceptional."

Q&A with Teddy Saucedo, Sunset Park resident

Teddy Saucedo, 30, recently moved to Sunset Park
Photo Credit: Rosa O'Hara

Teddy Saucedo, 30, recently moved to Sunset Park after living in Crown Heights for six years. He manages Naidres, a coffee shop on Seventh Avenue in Park Slope. Saucedo walks to work from his home on 46th Street in Sunset Park, which takes about 30 minutes. We chatted with him in front of Irish Haven, a bar at 5721 Fourth Ave.

What made you move to Sunset Park?

A place opened up in Sunset Park and I found it, loved the neighborhood, walked around a lot, I thought it was very unique. I personally am Mexican and the vibe between the heavy Mexican influence and the Chinese influence that lives here was just something that you don't really see in Brooklyn. I really fell in love with the neighborhood, as well as the living situation, so that just kind of drew me in and solidified it. I pay $900 \[a month\] in a very nice location, the bedroom is very large.

How would you describe the people here?

Coming to a neighborhood like this where you can see families walking around, you go to Sunset Park itself and you see all these families playing soccer together, they're there until 10 o'clock at night with their little kids. Growing up as a Mexican-American I can see myself in those same families. Staying up super late, because you had your siestas and you had all this time together.

Where do you like to go in the area?

My favorite things about Sunset Park is the food \[and\] I have always been someone who likes the dive bars. I'm having a beer at Irish Haven right now. It's a great place. It was voted one of the top dives of New York City \[by New York Magazine\]. It's this local place where if they don't know you they really don't trust you and they kind of see you in a weird way. You really have to make an effort with all the regular patrons.

What's the downside to the nabe?

There's no nightlife here, other than Irish Haven. It's a family area. \[But\] maybe now that I'm going into my 30s I just want something more grounded, more to settle down to. I definitely go back to Manhattan to party, if I'm ever in the mood to party.


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