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Old 03-17-2007, 08:32 PM
 
2 posts, read 26,194 times
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Two of my friends and I are moving off-campus next year, and we need a place to live. We have a few questions about the process and about what we've seen so far, and I'm hoping that some of you might be able to answer them for us.

1) What's the deal with the Flatbush and Kensington neighborhoods on the south side of Prospect Park? We checked out a very nice apartment near Church Avenue today, but the Church Avenue B/Q station is a little odd, and the surrounding streets seem kind of low in activity, with not a lot of shops or restaurants. I wonder what the place is like at night. Anyone have any experience with the area?

2) We're looking in Manhattan, but focusing on Brooklyn and Queens. We want to live in a safe neighborhood with a decent commute (around half an hour, give or take) and reasonably priced apartments. Brooklyn Heights, Williamsburg, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Long Island City, and Astoria are on our list of places to explore. I personally like Bay Ridge, but I have reservations about the length of the commute. Other recommendations? What about Woodside and Sunnyside in Queens?

3) We're trying to avoid paying for a broker at this point. Rent Direct listings look amazing. Is their service worth the subscription fee, or are there unpleasant surprises attached? And what other resources besides Rent Direct and Craigslist are worth looking into?

4) We need a place on May 1, and we hope we're correct in assuming that we should start looking around April 1. May 1 would be our ideal move-in date, because we could go straight from NYU housing to the new apartment. However, we're all going to be graduating next year, and we don't want to have our lease end on May 1 and be stuck without a place to stay for graduation and finals (in the event that not all of us stay in the city, which would mean not renewing our lease). Is it generally possible to extend a one-year lease by half a month to a month, or is that difficult to pull off?

Sorry for the long post, but we're hoping to clear up as much of this as we can before we get busy searching. Thanks for any help you can give us!
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Old 03-20-2007, 09:03 PM
 
Location: Pawleys Island, SC
1,696 posts, read 8,020,181 times
Reputation: 700
Default Kensington

[i]1) What's the deal with the Flatbush and Kensington neighborhoods on the south side of Prospect Park? I]

The area has come back quite a bit in the last decade but like anywhere else you have to watch your back, especially after dark. The Church Ave subway station has always drawn some undesirables but if you stay in view of the token booth until the train arrives and move with the other people you should be OK. The shopping area is for immediate need items, you can find better areas to shop.

Other recommendations? What about Woodside and Sunnyside in Queens?

Bay Ridge isn't a too bad of a commute and is still a nice neighborhood, it is becoming more ethnically diverse and is not the bastion of Irish Catholic dominance it was a few years back. Sunnyside/Woodside are aslo decent areas. All of these nieghborhoods have a variety of restaurants & shopping plus decent transportation.... the Queens locations will offer better subway options. I would try these locations before Kensington.

Rent Direct listings look amazing. Is their service worth the subscription fee, or are there unpleasant surprises attached? And what other resources besides Rent Direct and Craigslist are worth looking into?

Can't help you a whole lot on this except that I have used CraigsList with decent results.

Is it generally possible to extend a one-year lease by half a month to a month, or is that difficult to pull off?

I don't see why not.... when you have the lease drawn up, tell them you need a 13 month lease. The landlord should be happy since it is an extra month that he will not have to worry about getting filled.

Good luck.
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Old 03-22-2007, 08:56 PM
 
122 posts, read 738,200 times
Reputation: 77
I'm from Kensington, but not the part you described. I'm closer to the F train than the Q/B. I would say the part of Kensington you described, if it's even part of Kensington (I think it is), is a little shady, but not too much to worry about because there are generally a lot of people walking around at almost all hours. Some residents might be a little (A LITTLE!) bit hostile if you're white, esp. young b/c...well...I don't think that part of Kensington (Caton & Church Aves. btw. Coney Island Ave. and Flatbush) has seen too much gentrification. Anyway, long story short, I wouldn't discount it. Around my way, which is still within walking distance (10 or so blocks) from the Q/B, it gets a little quieter, brighter, and there's more gentrification. I love my area and think it's one of the safest and diverse parts of the whole city!

Umm...btw, not sure what you mean by the Q/B station being "a little odd"...the trains are pretty reliable, etc.

If you have a little more dough and want a more upscale area with bars/lounges and stuff, look closer to Park Slope, maybe the border between Park Slope and Sunset Park if you can't spend that much. However, Bay Ridge, which I think you mentioned in your post, would prob. be cheaper. I like Bay Ridge--very ethnically diverse and I don't mean it in the passive "this neighborhood is riddled with minorities" PC kind of way--there're people from everywhere (it has one of the largest Arab populations in the country). You want safe and diverse, you got it here.

Don't be cliche by going to Williamsburg -- you'll never meet anyone who's actually from NY plus it's crazy expensive. And if you're a student paying your own rent and therefore can't spend too much, aiming for W-burg will probably land you not in W-burg proper, but the surrounding areas like Bed-Stuy or Bushwick (sometimes labeled by landlords and realtors as East or whatever W-burg) which aren't the safest (sorry, theanswer, if you're reading--it's the truth and it's backed up by many a statistic).

Final piece of advice: I don't know about RentDirect, but of course there's always Craigslist and believe it or not, I know lots of people who've found decent apartments in the -- gasp -- newspaper. Daily News, the Post, the Voice, and the smaller FREE neighborhood newspapers that they leave in the foyers of large stores like Barnes & Noble on 7th Ave. in Park Slope.
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Old 03-23-2007, 01:35 AM
 
Location: Bronx, NY
2,806 posts, read 15,000,539 times
Reputation: 1071
I keep on hearing that Bay Ridge is changing. But who exactly is moving in there? I've been thru there a decent ammount of times. Of course there are the Arabs and some Chinese people moving in. I guess it doesn't seem like such a big deal to me though because I'm originally from NJ and we have a lot of Arabs, especially in Passaic county. I think most of the Arabs in NJ are from Syria/Lebanon and are Christian though, so maybe that's different? And the Chinese don't seem as prevelent in Bay Ridge as in other parts of Southern Brooklyn like Bensonhurst of Sheepshead Bay.

Is anyone else moving into Bay Ridge? I didn't see many Hispanics there, and I'm guessing that the average black person would rather die than move to Bay Ridge.

So what am I missing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by baylovers View Post
[i]1) What's the deal with the Flatbush and Kensington neighborhoods on the south side of Prospect Park? I]

The area has come back quite a bit in the last decade but like anywhere else you have to watch your back, especially after dark. The Church Ave subway station has always drawn some undesirables but if you stay in view of the token booth until the train arrives and move with the other people you should be OK. The shopping area is for immediate need items, you can find better areas to shop.

Other recommendations? What about Woodside and Sunnyside in Queens?

Bay Ridge isn't a too bad of a commute and is still a nice neighborhood, it is becoming more ethnically diverse and is not the bastion of Irish Catholic dominance it was a few years back. Sunnyside/Woodside are aslo decent areas. All of these nieghborhoods have a variety of restaurants & shopping plus decent transportation.... the Queens locations will offer better subway options. I would try these locations before Kensington.

Rent Direct listings look amazing. Is their service worth the subscription fee, or are there unpleasant surprises attached? And what other resources besides Rent Direct and Craigslist are worth looking into?

Can't help you a whole lot on this except that I have used CraigsList with decent results.

Is it generally possible to extend a one-year lease by half a month to a month, or is that difficult to pull off?

I don't see why not.... when you have the lease drawn up, tell them you need a 13 month lease. The landlord should be happy since it is an extra month that he will not have to worry about getting filled.

Good luck.
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