An attractive and popular living option for Fordham grad students is commuting from the Brooklyn area. The growing borough has a hip reputation, is close to Manhattan, and offers a variety of entertainment options, but be aware that it and its reputation are growing quickly.
While far from Fordham, the benefits may far outweigh the commute for many. Below, Malkah Bressler, GSA Vice President, provides her take on a couple Brooklyn neighborhoods commonly sought out by graduates.
Why Live Here?
These two neighborhoods lie to the East of Park Slope and Prospect Heights and to the South of Williamsburg and Bushwick. The best parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant lie between Franklin and Utica Avenues; the neighborhood’s southernmost border is Atlantic Avenue. Most residents prefer to live close to Atlantic because of accessibility to the A and C trains. Clinton Hill is just West of Bedford-Stuyvesant; it is bordered by Vanderbilt and Franklin Avenues. The A, C, and G trains run through Clinton Hill. Crown Heights rests on the South side of Atlantic Avenue; residents tend to live between Atlantic and Eastern Parkway, but recently, they have been pushing south of Eastern Parkway. Washington and Utica Avenue border the area, and the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, and C trains service the neighborhood.
Over the past seven years, the rising rents of Park Slope, Prospect Heights and Williamsburg have pushed young professionals south and east rendering the Crown Heights, Clinton Hill, and Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhoods the new frontiers of Brooklyn. Traditionally, the neighborhoods are home to people of Caribbean descent; also, the area features a substantial Orthodox Jewish presence. Thanks to the new influx of young professionals, the neighborhoods are witnessing an unprecedented influx of coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and gourmet grocery stores to meet the rising demand for craft beers, organic produce, and mixologists. The location is great; the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, and G train all pass through the neighborhood and most stations are serviced by at least two of these lines (some even are serviced by 3 or 4!). The area is close to the Atlantic terminal and the Barclays Center where one can catch the LIRR as well as concerts, games, and even, a real mall. Moreover, the neighborhoods’ proximity to the well-established Park Slope and Prospect Heights areas means that residents have limitless options when it comes to nightlife, shopping, etc. Moreover, Prospect Park, which rivals Central Park, and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens are within walking distance of the area. Living in Brooklyn is not to be downplayed. Neighborhoods boast a variety of ethnicities and activities; prices range from incredibly expensive to incredibly inexpensive. Most Brooklynites agree that there are few reasons to travel to Manhattan unless one has to work / go to school. Also, unlike Manhattan, Brooklyn offers a slower pace of life; one can bike through the streets, but at the same time, enjoy the same cultural and gustatory delights of Manhattan. The commute to Lincoln Center is under 40 minutes and the commute to Fordham Rose Hill is about 1.5 hours if you rely on the MTA. If you take the MTA and the Metro North, the commute is cut down to exactly one hour door to door.
The commute between any of these neighborhoods to Rose Hill is substantial, and one ought to be prepared. Although the regular MTA commute is bearable, if you’re not one for reading on a train, I wouldn’t recommend it. If you choose to take Metro North, you will set yourself back $6.75; it is doable but you must budget transportation costs. Finally, the area is undergoing rapid gentrification, and although crime is minimal, it happens from time to time.
Note for drivers: Driving and parking is much more pleasant here than in other boroughs; however, while you may not find a spot close to your apartment, you can always find one—you just might have to hike back. The drive to campus can be problematic if your work or class schedule falls into rush hour but otherwise the bridges remain open and clear for most of the day.
Another thing to consider is that, like the Fordham campus itself, Brooklyn is a favorite filming spot of many production crews, and entire streets may be closed off to parking and driving from early in the morning to late at night.