If you're planning on moving to Brooklyn, you have a lot to look forward to. Once you move to the most populous borough in New York City, you'll be surrounded by rooftop brunch, tight-knit communities, and gorgeous parks. However, don't be surprised if it takes you a while to learn your way around Brooklyn. After all, it's huge. If Brooklyn were its own city, it would be the fourth most populous city in the US, after NYC, Los Angeles, and Chicago. To help ease your transition to your new home, here are some things you should know.
1. Brooklyn isn't only for hipsters.
While some people think Brooklyn is synonymous with hipsters, the borough breathes diversity and culture. Sure there are fancy donut shops, whispers-only boutiques, and lots of craft breweries, but you can also find mom-and-pop diners, bodegas, and fast-food chains.
So while your friends may think you'll be surrounded by latte-sipping, flea-market shopping, hipsters, know that your neighbors will come from all walks of life.
2. While plenty of people commute to Manhattan, you can find a job in Brooklyn too.
Some people say that you only live in Brooklyn because you can't afford to live in Manhattan. And while a lot of people do commute into the Financial District, there are also a lot of job opportunities in Brooklyn.
Since 2012, more than 1,300 smaller tech companies have moved to Brooklyn with the formation of the Brooklyn Tech Triangle. This area, which includes Downtown Brooklyn, Dumbo, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, was intentionally developed to help reverse the rising commercial vacancy rate. It seems to have paid off, and companies including Python, Tor Project, and Amplify have opened offices in this area.
3. Prospect Park is Brooklyn's version of Central Park.
While New York City's most famous green space is Manhattan's Central Park, Prospect Park provides New Yorkers with another option to picnic, relax, and just enjoy the outdoors. Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux co-designed both parks, and it just takes one walk through either park to see they knew what they were doing.
Prospect Park features over 500 acres filled with winding paths, meadows, a lake, and a bandshell. Every Sunday from April-November a group of drummers gathers in what's known as "drummers grove" to enjoy each other's company and create rhythms and beats.
4. Dumbo isn't a flying elephant.
If you move to Brooklyn, get ready to hear a lot about Dumbo. And no, I'm not talking about the flying elephant.
Dumbo — an acronym for "down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass" — sits just across the East River from Manhattan and is one of the most visited neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The area sports a low-key vibe, but don't think that means it's boring. Wander along the waterfront, snap a photo of the cobblestone streets and Manhattan Bridge, and stop in to grab a bite to eat at Time Out Market (just make sure you save room for ice cream at Ample Hills Creamery).
If you think this area sounds charming, you're not alone. Dumbo has one of the highest rents of all the Brooklyn neighborhoods. So if you really want to live here, you better get ready to live with a roommate.
5. Public transit makes it easy to access the other NYC boroughs.
New York City has a vast public transportation network that links Brooklyn to the rest of the city. The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) operates subways and buses that connect the various networks and boroughs. If you're planning on living in Brooklyn and working in Manhattan or Queens, chances are you'll be commuting via train. Therefore, it's a good idea to see where the closest train station is before you sign a lease on an apartment.
If you're hopping between different neighborhoods in Brooklyn, you can walk or bike. No bike? No problem. Citi Bike allows you to rent a bike for a day or year from 800+ stations.
While you don't need a car in Brooklyn, sometimes it comes in handy to have access to one — like if you need to haul back some furniture from the Red Hook Ikea. When this is the case, you can call a cab or order a ride via Uber or Lyft.
6. Young professionals flock to some Brooklyn neighborhoods.
Brooklyn is a popular place to settle for young professionals looking to move to New York City. The whole borough has a population of over 2.5 million people, and over 18% of these people are between the ages of 25 and 34.
While you can find millennials in every Brooklyn neighborhood, some neighborhoods attract this generation more than others. The boutiques, rooftop bars, and coffee shops in Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Greenpoint appeal to many young professionals.
7. Families can find a place in Brooklyn too.
Brooklyn is full of all kinds of people and family units. Families with children flock to the tree-lined streets in Park Slope and the strong sense of community in Bay Ridge. These neighborhoods don't have much of that "hustle" NYC is famous for, but rather a relaxed vibe that both parents and children enjoy.
8. The cost of living is high, but rent varies between neighborhoods.
Living in Brooklyn isn't cheap compared to the rest of the United States. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the borough is around $3,000, but the actual price you'll pay depends on the neighborhood.
Some of the most expensive neighborhoods include Dumbo, Greenpoint, and Brooklyn Heights. If you're on a budget, check out Flatbush, Kensington, and Midwood.
9. Art is in museums and on the streets.
If you're into visual art, you're in luck. The Brooklyn Museum houses sculptures, paintings, photographs, calligraphy, and other works of art from around the world. The museum also offers educational presentations and instructional classes.
Brooklyn is also home to street art, much of which is centered around the Bushwick Collective. Artists use spray cans and brushes to convert available walls into jaw-dropping works of art. The people at the collective often reassign the walls to bring in new works, so visit more than once. To learn more about graffiti and street art, visit Beyond the Streets.
The borough is also filled with small galleries featuring the works of solo artists or collections of artists.
10. You can find some great nightlife.
No matter what your ideal night consists of, you make it happen in Brooklyn. You'll find quiet bars selling inventive cocktails, lively music shows at bowling alleys, cinemas screening old movies and serving up tasty drinks, romantic rooftop dining, and clubs where patrons dance all night long.
11. It's easy to be a kid again at Coney Island.
Located at the south edge of Brooklyn, Coney Island is a neighborhood that's best known for its summertime entertainment. The area is home to Brighton Beach and Boardwalk as well as numerous amusement parks filled with roller coasters, thrill rides, and carnival games.
If you're looking for something to eat, you can grab a Coney Island hot dog topped with beef chili, onions, and mustard.
12. Hungry? Brooklyn has you covered.
Brooklyn has just about every cuisine, and restaurants range from Michelin Star hot spots to tiny hole in the wall establishments. For cheap eats check out the doubles (a beloved Trinidadian street food) at A&A Bake & Doubles, the pierogi (a stuffed dumpling) at Pyza, and the jerk chicken at Peppa's Jerk Chicken.
Whether or not you're a self-proclaimed foodie, make sure to check out Smorgasburg, the largest weekly open-air food market in the US. Each week hundreds of food vendors set up at Williamsburg on Saturday and at Prospect Park on Sunday. Many vendors start out at Smorgasburg and then go on to open brick and mortar locations, so it's a great place to find up and coming eats.
Brooklyn is ready for you.
Now that you know a little more about this borough, it's time to pick out a neighborhood and move to Brooklyn. Remember it's a big borough in an even bigger city, so it will take you a while to find your way around. But don't be shy, get out there and explore!