“Sandwiched between Fort Greene and Bedford-Stuyvesant, Clinton Hill in Brooklyn might just be the quintessence of urban living in New York City. It is affluent and not so, seedy and grand, ethnically diverse, a magnet for artists, musicians and filmmakers, and so rich in architectural style that even now, with escalating property prices, a new group of buyers is prowling its landmarked blocks in hopes of finding an overlooked gem,” writes New York Times’ Suzanne Hamlin.
Clinton Hill is often considered in combination with neighboring Fort Greene. Both are defined by their rows of landmark brownstones and old world charm. Landmark preservation associations as well as students and faculty from Pratt Institute continually work to preserve its architectural gems and uplift the overall neighborhood aesthetic. The Fort Greene/Clinton Hill area stretches from Park to Atlantic Avenues, between Flatbush and Franklin Avenues. Vanderbilt Avenue divides Fort Greene to the west and Clinton Hill to the east.
Clinton Hill, by the middle of the nineteenth century, had become extremely popular and stylish for Brooklyn’s elite, who would travel via stagecoach to Brooklyn Heights to take the ferry to Manhattan. Mansions proliferated on Clinton Avenue, by the end of the century, including four owned by Charles Pratt, not to mention the Pratt Institute of Art, also located in the area. The Pratt Institute has inspired the area’s increasingly expanding art community. To this day, it still has one of the world’s largest collections of post-Civil War row houses. Famous people who once lived in the area include Christopher Wallace, aka the rapper, Biggie Smalls, and poets Marianne Moore and Walt Whitman. Celebrities who still live in the area include Rosie Perez, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and Diana Martinez.
Some great places to eat in Clinton Hill are Anima, Castro’s, Choice Market, Desserts by Michael Allen, Formerly Brown Betty Café, Il Porto, Jive Turkey, Kush Café, Le Grand Dakar, Locanda Vini e Olii, Los Pollitos III, Maggie Brown, Mike’s Coffee Shop, Myrtle Thai, Outpost, The Speakeasy, Tamboril, Thai 101, and Zaytoons. The bustling nightlife of Clinton Hill includes Brooklyn Knights, The Chocolate Bar, Five Spot, Jazz 966, LOX, Rope, and Vesper Bar & Lounge.
Over the past twelve years, dramatic improvements in the community have raised prices of homes, but for space and grandeur the prices are a bargain in comparison to neighboring Brooklyn and Manhattan. Both Fort Greene and Clinton Hill are close to the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Fort Greene Park, which is undergoing restoration. Clinton Hill is farther away from the commercial streets of downtown Brooklyn, making it a great place to raise a family, for many of its residents. Clinton Hill has subway lines A, C and G but is far away from other mass transit hubs. For car-owners, street parking is easy. Bus service is also provided via the B38, B48, B54, B52, B57, B61 and B69 lines.
Clinton Hill is also home to the Pratt Institute, Clinton Hill School (PS 20), Benjamin Banneker Academy, Comm Partnership Charter School, and St. Joseph College’s Brooklyn campus.
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