Clinton Hill has been called a neighborhood in transition. Once thought of as “west Bed-Stuy,” this eclectic, pedestrian-friendly ‘nabe has lately been giving off “east Fort Greene” vibes. Comprised of apartment buildings, stately mansions, historic brownstones and brick rowhouses—with Pratt Institute set as the centerpiece—Clinton Hill offers a laid-back atmosphere that appeals to both students and business professionals.
With roots back to the 1840s, Clinton Hill has long been a fashionable waypoint for Brooklyn’s social elite, traveling to Manhattan Island by stagecoach. Common belief held that areas of higher elevation were healthier because they positioned people above the squalor and illness at lower elevations. Not surprisingly, many millionaires of the time (Including Pratt Institute namesake Charles Pratt) established large mansions in Clinton Hill, many of which still stand today, preserved by the Clinton Hill Historic District. Not far away, huge brick relics of the industrial age have been reformatted into trendy lofts and apartments that offer affordable options for the student population.
One thing you’re sure to find in Clinton Hill is an affable sense of personality. Sidewalk cafes prefer handwritten chalk signs to blazing neon bulletins, bicyclists leisurely pedal down beautiful streetscapes (more than 20 Citi bike stations can be found in the area), and affordability meets accessibility in a place that feels artsy and cool, without being overwrought.
Pick up the A and C trains at the Washington-Clinton station and anticipate a 35-minute trip on the C to reach Midtown Manhattan. The G train, which does not go to Manhattan, runs along Lafayette Avenue. Local buses include the B38 along DeKalb and the B54 along Myrtle. Motorists have ready access to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
Looking for the best neighborhood bar in Brooklyn? You’ll find it at The Emerson, the 2015 Brooklyn bracket winner. Located on Myrtle Avenue, The Emerson is a little like a community center that offers pool, games, barbecues and booze. This mix has made it a favorite for the past five years with everybody from artists and students to working pros.
Though primarily a residential neighborhood, Clinton Hill offers fun, quality shopping if your tastes tend toward unique small businesses. Similarly, while no single large park dominates the area, several smaller green spots stipple the area offering shade and playgrounds. For the full park experience, make tracks to Fort Green Park, a Brooklyn favorite during warm months and the site of the Great PUPkin Festival, a huge dog costume contest in October.
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