The south-central Brooklyn community of Gravesend, which can claim bragging rights as the only colonial town in America founded by a woman, is a densely populated, diverse neighborhood that’s nonetheless not as well known as some of its neighbors.
These days not many people remember Lady Deborah Moody, but Gravesend has done her proud: The original town square is named in her honor and features a gravestone-like memorial.
I’ve heard that Gravesend is a nice place to raise a family and that it’s a little less expensive than some of the surrounding areas. What can you tell me about it?
“It’s absolutely lovely for families,” Grandis says. “The streets are tree lined, and it’s very quiet—you can walk along Ocean Parkway in the morning, and you’ll see cars, of course, but there will be no other people around.”
Duong adds that prices are indeed more affordable than those in Bensonhurst, Bay Ridge, Borough Park, and Dyker Heights.
Where is it?
Gravesend is bounded by Coney Island on the south, Bensonhurst on the north, Bath Beach on the west, and Homecrest and Ocean Parkway on the east.
Why would NYers want to move to Gravesend?
The community, which Duong says is “fast growing and well populated,” is attracting people from neighboring areas who are enticed by its lower prices. “I also have people coming from other countries who tell me that they like it because it’s convenient and close to public transportation,” he says.
The decently ranked public schools and choice of private schools are another draw.
The fact that “Gravesend has a high degree of walkability, which is one of the true markers of any neighborhood, especially in Brooklyn,” is another prime selling point, Grandis says.
Where in Gravesend should you live?
There are no named subsections of Gravesend.
What are housing and pricing like?
Noting that it’s a seller’s market, Grandis says that single-family and multi-family houses “are hot commodities that sell quickly or get bid up. There’s low inventory of every property type.”
Right now, there are only 109 single-family houses, condos, and co-ops on the market, according to StreetEasy.
Single-family houses generally sell for $700,000 to $1.5 million, and multi-family properties typically hover between $1 million to $2 million, depending on location and amount of renovation required, Grandis says.
Condos, which are in boutique buildings, start at about $595,000 for a one-bedroom, one-bath unit that’s 750 to 800 square feet. Two-bedroom, two-bath units of 1,700 square feet typically run $750,000 to over $1 million.
Co-ops, which are in low-rise buildings, are “very affordable,” Grandis says. One-bedroom, one-bathroom units generally start in the low $300,000s, while two-bedroom units typically sell for about $400,000 to $450,000.
According to Duong, rents for apartments in two-, three-, and four-family houses are $1,300 to $1,500 for a one-bedroom unit, $1,600 to $1,800 for a two bedroom, and $1,800 to $2,200 for a three bedroom.
“There also are pockets of apartment buildings, but because some of them have rent-controlled and rent-stabilized units, their prices may vary from the ones quoted,” he adds.
Is there a lot of new development?
There are “quite a few” new boutique condo developments that are three to seven stories high as well as small, mixed-use buildings that have condos on the top and commercial and office spaces on the street level, Duong says.
They are small projects, he adds, because there’s not much buildable land.
What’s the transportation situation?
The D, F, M, and N trains run through the neighborhood; so do the B1, B3, B4, B64, B82, and B82 SBS bus lines.
What is there to do?
Ocean Parkway, which Grandis calls “one of the crown jewels of Gravesend and Brooklyn,” is where everyone goes to stroll, bike, and jog.
Coney Island Boardwalk is not far from the neighborhood. “People go there all year round to stroll and get fresh air and walk on the beach,” Grandis says.
Other parks include McDonald Playground, which is currently under renovation and has tennis courts and handball courts. Seth Low Playground, in nearby Bensonhurst, “is very busy,” Duong says. “It’s always packed with people, from children playing to seniors doing tai chi.”
What’s the restaurant/nightlife situation?
There’s an eclectic selection of restaurants that includes everything from Chinese and Italian to Georgian and Russian.
L&B Spumoni Gardens, established in 1939, “is famous,” Grandis says. “People flock there for the square Sicilian pizza and the round pizza. It has a full menu—everything is good.”
Cuccio’s Bakery, another neighborhood icon, sells Italian pastries and cakes, and Ortobello’s and La Palina serve old-school Italian dishes.
Grandis says Mirage Diner “has been here forever” and offers a classic American menu ranging from sandwiches to cocktails.
Emerald Fortune, which sells traditional Chinese food, “is fast and economical—it’s a great place to go for a quick lunch for seven bucks,” Duong says.
How about grocery stores?
NetCost Market, which specializes in Eastern European items, and Key Food are the main grocery stores. Bay Parkway Food, a Chinese-owned market, is another option.
Check out these listings in Gravesend.
This three-family 3,519-square-foot attached brick house is listed for $1.699 million. Built in 2008, the three-story building has a terrace, laundry area, private drive, an attached garage, hardwood floors, and stainless steel kitchen appliances.
Listed for $999,000, this 1,554-square-foot, triplex penthouse condo has two bedrooms, two baths, a 250-square-foot private terrace off the living room, private roof deck, walk-in closet in the primary suite, decorative fireplace, washer and dryer, central air, and Viking kitchen appliances. Amenities in the 24-unit elevator building, which dates to 2009, include two parking spots in the garage and access to a private gym.
Built in 1920, this two-story, two-family brick semi-detached house has six bedrooms and three baths. The 2,242-square-foot residence, listed for $1,499,999, has a finished basement, private driveway, and garage.
Listed for $2.09 million, this detached two-family brick house has six bedrooms and four baths. The house, which was built in 1960, has a fenced yard and private drive for five to six cars.
This circa-1920, two-story, three-family, semi-detached brick house has six bedrooms, three full baths and one half bath. Other features include a porch, finished basement, hardwood and tile floors, and one kitchen equipped with stainless steel appliances. It is listed for $1.699 million.
Nancy A. Ruhling is a freelance writer based in New York City.