Friday, November 6, 2009

Focus on Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

I remembered when I started looking at apartments to buy in Bay Ridge in 2004, driving down Ridge Boulevard and thinking "Where am I?" I was looking for a large space in a dog friendly building, that would allow to live a comfortable life-style, meaning being able to travel a lot, which is one of my passions in life. I had been to Century 21 a number of times over the years and maybe a party of two, but the neighborhood remained somewhat foreign. I was also looking for a place with good servives-shopping and restaurants. After living in Park Slope and Prospect Heights for so many years, those attributes were essential. In November I found the aparment I was looking for and have enjoyed living here ever since.

Sometimes getting home from Manhattan in the evening can take quite a while, but short of that, I feel so lucky to live in Bay Ridge. I take my dog to Owl's Head Park every day, weather permitting and we get to look across the river to some historic parts of Staten Island, a beautiful view. I lived in San Francisco after college, and it is in many ways, my second home. When I walk near the water in Bay Ridge, looking at the Verrazano Bridge, I get a feeling of being back in the Bay Area. My neighbors are friendly. It has become a more ethnically diverse neighborhood and continues to do so. When I go to the gym in the morning and walk past the elementary school up my street (P.S. 102), which is an excellent school I might add, I see an amazing diversity of people dropping their children off. It heartens me to see that New York still offers opportunity for so many different people and it is why the City remain such a vibrant, vital place.

It is neighborhood of excellent schools, of great neighborhood shopping and equally great restaurants. After getting my new listing last night (look for it on-line and on-blog later today), I had the signature cheddar burger at Pipin's Pub on 97th Street and Third Avenue and though I don't eat red meat that often, it was truly heavenly. Tanoreen, soon moving to new bigger digs on Third Avenue, is considered the best middle-eastern restaurant in New York City by Zagat's and best moderately priced restaurant by New York magazine. Sofia, The Pearl Room, Agnanti Mesa, Areo, Tuscany Grill,Elia, Embers are other outstanding choices-the list goes on and on. My neighborhood Italian place, Vesuvio, has wondeful food in a pleasant atmosphere. Click here for more information.

As for shopping, both 3rd and 5th Avenues as well as 86th Street offer great choices without ever leaving the neighborhood. Century 21 is the anchor store, with new indoor parking and expanded retail space. It remains the value shopper's paradise. It has an excellent home store with the some of the deals on sheets and towels known to humankind, as well as outstanding clothing and shoes choices. There are other chains nearby, a decent Gap, a giant Duane Reade, A Children's Place and many other excellent choices. On Third Avenue, there are some wonderful local boutiques such as Hom and Lavender Blue and the Bookmark Shoppe, not to mention a plethora of other choices. It's a great mix. Click here for more information.

The schools remain excellent and that provides the neighborhood with a lot of stability and as well as insuring it remains a desirable place to live for families. Some of the elementary schools are P.S. 102, P.S. 104, P.S. 170 and P.S. 185. There are number of intermediate schools: 30, 167, 201, and 259. Fort Hamilton and Telecommunication High Schools are also in the neighborhood. Click here for more information.

So what can your money buy you? By New York and Brooklyn standards, a lot. A roomy one bedroom coop can be purchased for $240,000-$300,000 and two bedrooms more in the $350,000 to $400,000 and up,depending on the location. Shore Road which hugs the water, is still considered the prime location with beautiful homes and elegant coop buildings, though some locations are far from the subway. Beautiful limestone houses on the tree-lined blocks tend to go in the $800,000's and up, a fraction of what you would pay in Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights. All and all, lots of value.

The area is served by the X27 and X37 express buses and the R train, which transfer easily for the express trains at 59th Street, 36th Street and Pacific Street. I for one, have had much better experience transfering back from Manhattan, at night, of late.

What can I say but that I love living in Bay Ridge-when I come home, it feels like home.

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