Kensington offers more for less when it comes to buying or renting.
The largely residential Brooklyn neighborhood, snuggled between Borough Park and Ditmas Park and intersected by Ocean Parkway, is attracting young families and singles priced out of northern Brooklyn and Manhattan.
“Ten years ago when people were moving to northern Brooklyn, closer to Prospect Park, they didn’t want to come too far down Ocean Parkway,” said Jeff Surowka, a real estate broker with Abacus Properties who has lived in Kensington for 10 years. “Now a lot of people don’t have a problem coming down.”
Now most of Surowka’s clients are either growing families that need more space for less money or first-time buyers who can’t afford to buy in the areas they’ve been renting in for years, even if it’s a bordering neighborhood.
“It’s cheaper than Ditmas Park and just by crossing Coney Island Avenue, people are getting a lot more for their money,” Surowka said.
Kensington residences vary from detached and semi-detached Victorian homes and brick row houses on quiet, shaded streets to large pre-war brick apartment buildings lining Ocean Parkway.
The neighborhood was historically full of working-class residents, but is gradually attracting more cafes and bars that appeal to single millennials and young families.
“It’s been a long, gradual change rather than overnight like other parts of Brooklyn,” Surowka said.
Despite the slow influx of businesses, families still like it here. A study released by real estate consumer site BrickUnderground.com in July ranked Kensington as the sixth safest neighborhood in Brooklyn, using NYPD statistics of non-violent crimes.
However, limited access to transportation makes commuting to Manhattan more difficult, especially for new residents who are used to more transportation options. The F and G trains run down the western edge of the neighborhood and the Q is to the east in Ditmas Park.
“If you’re not buying a private home, the large buildings on Ocean Parkway are not as close to the Q,” Surowka said. “You aren’t right on top of public transportation.”
For singles moving to the area, cheaper rent is the main draw. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Kensington is $1,700, compared to $2,350 in Park Slope and $2,950 in Brooklyn Heights, according to Zumper, a real estate listing site.
Gary Cobin, 69, moved to Kensington five months ago after being priced out of Park Slope and is enjoying the change of pace. He sits on a bench outside a McDonald Avenue bodega playing the harmonica several times a week and enjoys that passersby often stop to listen or dance along, emulating the sense of community in the neighborhood.
“I like the stimulation of the different cultures,” he said. “Mainly I like the friendliness.”
Kensington has a reputation for being one of the most culturally diverse areas in the city. According to census data, 46% of Kensington residents were born outside the United States, with the largest populations from Bangladesh, Russia, Mexico, Ukraine and China.
The cultural diversity can easily be seen in the variety of restaurants running down Church Avenue or Coney Island Avenue.
“That’s what New York is about,” Cobin said. “Why not take part in it?”
Kensington is bordered by Caton and Fort Hamilton avenues to the north; 36th Street, down Dahill Road and McDonald Avenue to the west; Coney Island Avenue to the east; and Foster Avenue to the south. More »
Trains: G to Church Avenue, F to Church Avenue, Ditmas Avenue and 18th Avenue Buses: B8, B16, B35, B67, B68, B69, B103, BM1, BM2, BM3, BM4 More »
BPL Kensington Library, 4207 18th Ave. More »
USPS, 419 McDonald Ave. More »
Kensington is covered by the 66th Precinct at 5822 16th Ave. In the year to date as of Dec. 7, 2014 there was one murder reported in the precinct’s CompStat report and eight rapes. In the week of Dec. 1-7 the precinct reported one robbery and six burglaries. More »
In Kensington, 47% of homes lack internet access
Thirty percent of Brooklyn households lack high-speed Internet, compared to 21% in Manhattan, according to a report from City Comptroller Scott Stringer released on December 7. More »
This classic pizza joint offers every traditional slice, along with calzones and hot wings.
Tacos El Catrin
Authentic Mexican tacos and other traditional dishes are served at this new eatery with indoor and outdoor seating.
Dine-in or take out sushi, Japanese entrees, bento boxes and Thai noodles at this local eatery.
Church Cafe Wine Bar
The appetizers at this neighborhood wine bar are as popular as the alcohol they pair with.
This popular spot offers a rotating selection of eight craft beers on tap. Open until 2 a.m. every night, hang out in the large backyard that’s heating during the winter.
With trivia Wednesday nights, karaoke Saturday nights and plenty of beer, times at this pub are never dull.
Professional and amateur photographers’ needs are fully covered here. Pop in to buy a new camera, home entertainment equipment or laptop.
This huge discount model train store has a huge selection of model trains and accessories.
An eclectic mix of old furniture and knickknacks grab your attention as you enter this nostalgic antiques shop.
Namaste Yoga of Kensington
This diverse yoga studio also offers belly dancing, Zumba, Pilates and Tai chi. Classes are held every evening and throughout the weekend.
Russian saunas and steam rooms, exfoliation treatments and massages make this Russian-Turkish bath house the ultimate spa day destination. The in-house restaurant offers authentic Russian cuisine, including blintzes and pickle plates.
Perhaps the last slot-car racing tracks in the city, Buzz-A-Rama has been at the same location since 1965. The retro interior, race tracks and arcade games make it the perfect family outing.
Q&A: Kevin Ryan, owner of Denny’s Steak Pub
Kevin Ryan owns and runs Denny’s Steak Pub, a family-owned bar at 106 Beverley Road on the corner of McDonald Avenue in Kensington. Ryan’s dad, Dennis, opened the bar in 1975 and it’s been a neighborhood staple ever since. More »
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