Years ago, realtors began selling Crown Heights as Brooklyn’s next up-and-coming neighborhood -- claiming it was just one cocktail bar away from being the next Fort Greene or Williamsburg. It was a fair assumption; the neighborhood’s proximity to subway stations, Prospect Park, and a weekly green market already gave it the trappings of a Brooklyn paradise. Now, a flurry of new late-night spots (including that promised cocktail bar), restaurants, and upscale housing have finally brought real estate agents’ hopeful prophecies to life.
These newer establishments have started to expel the shadow cast by the infamous riots of 1991 (largely by attracting young crowds who don’t remember them). Yet Crown Heights remains at a cultural crossroads. While luxury apartments and Starbucks materialize on some of the neighborhood’s busiest corners, its charm is still in its history and heritage. Here, Caribbean restaurants and corner bodegas border synagogues and Judaica shops. Sprawling, turn-of-the-21st-century mansions recall a moment in time when Crown Heights was one of the most affluent areas of Brooklyn.
Crown Heights may be an emerging neighborhood, but some of its greatest attractions are ones that have been here for quite a long time (we’re talking centuries). All it took was a beer hall and a few independent coffee shops to recapture New Yorkers’ interest. Take the 2, 3, 4, or 5 train to any stop between Franklin Ave and Utica Ave and discover Crown Heights’ magnetism.