Caught in the middle for Sunset Park transit options - Brooklynian

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Caught in the middle for Sunset Park transit options

Hi! I am thinking very seriously of buying into one of the Finnish coops near 7th ave and 41st. I live in very far west Carroll Gardens right now, having rented for 11 years. I love my neighborhood but I feel like I'm paying rent for yuppy amenities that I never use.

My fantasy in buying was to move to an area where transit options were more plentiful but that dream has been dashed by high prices for small spaces. I have loved Sunset Park for a long time but psychologically it feels really far away from Manhattan, where I work (in soho/tribeca) so I discounted it as a place to live until this weekend when I visited with a buyers mind and was blown away by the housing options and reminded of the mellow vibe.

Can some SP dwellers weigh in on their commutes to Manhattan? D train vs N/R. I have read 20 minutes, an hour to union square or Canal. Does the D crawl despite the few stops made to town? Is a walk to 36th express worth it? I would be pretty much between the D at 9th-39th, the R at 45th and D/N/R at 36th. What would the best option be for Union Sq or Canal? How many minutes on average does it take? Anyone shop at the Park Slope Food Co-op? How do you get to and fro? Sadly the commute time to the City is really factoring into a decision I have to make soon! Thanks in advance!

Comments

  • At 41st & &th you have transit options, unlike those of us farther south who have only the R/N. I would say approximately 30 min to Canal or Union Sq. Less if it's rush hour, more if off-peak or something breaks down.

    My tenents shop at the Co-op via the R train or bike it. Is a 30-minute commute really so awful? Just take in the view of NY harbor from the top of the hill in Sunset Park. If that doesn't convince you, fugeddaboudit!

  • I live right near where you are thinking about buying, and I work at the Coop (as in, I go there every day). Once every week I have to take the D train from 36th to W4th during rush hour. Here's what I have to say:

    - I love living there

    - D train during am rush hour: 20 min from 36th street (on the platform) to W4th. Almost never fails. Once in awhile there's some crawling on the bridge or before the bridge - train congestion, but it honestly hasn't happened much.

    - B63 aka 5th ave bus comes all the time, has that texting/GPS tracking trial going so you can text and find out where the bus is. That bus can get zany - esp in the mornings with school, but it's fairly reliable. Bus transit time from Union St to 39th st is anywhere from 20-35 min depending on the many variables.

    - During that crazy blizzard 2 winters ago, the R train was one of the only trains running and it was pretty great - it's how I got to/from work.

    - 36th Street subway has D/N/R, and express from 36th to Atlantic Ave is usually about 5 min, so that is pretty excellent.

    - 5th ave just got repaved, so it's MUCH easier to ride your bike on it, without it feeling like such a deathtrap.

    - If you ride a bike, that's a good way to get around and not a bad ride to the Coop.

    My experience has been that it's really not that far away, the neighborhood is pretty excellent, and I find it easy to get around.

    Good Luck!

  • I ditto all the other posters. I have lived on 4th avenue and 41 st for 4/5 years. I now live further north in your neck of the woods. You are near enough to 36 street to make that 7 minute walk and 30 minute train commute feel like nothing. Its NEVER longer than 30 minutes, except on a RARE weekend with traffic work.

    The D, N and R stop at 36 street. The D has a 9th avenue and 39th street stop. You are a little walk from both, but one thing I love about this area is that there are ALWAYS cabs driving through (the town-cars NOT the yellow ones), that you can hail, and jump in if you don't feel like walking. Also at 36 street, there are always cabs (not all are TLC), but they are always there and will give you great prices approximately 11$ to get to the DeKalb avenue q train stop if you need to get into Manhattan quickly.

    Our end of Sunset Park, is very residential so you WILL have to walk to stores, places of interest etc, but BE GLAD. Because Sunset Park is by no means a "gentrified" area, and the closer you live to the stores on 5th and 4th avenue, the more you will run into the following: loiterers, drunks who take deck chairs and sit on the side walk with loud parked cars blaring music, uncivilized neighbors who have no idea how to take care of their property or yours; block parties that last forever. These things are especially prevalent below 5th avenue and above 45th street. Don't cross into that "Matrix of Ghetto doom" area via avenue or street, you will regret it. Especially if you work a day job, and sleep at night, or like to have a nice window garden. I speak from experience and as a person of color, who believes that "ghetto" is not a race or an economic class, but a character type and state of mind.

    Otherwise: Amenities:

    You are in SUNSET PARK, not the slope, so amenities are scarce here are the good ones:

    The Green Fig, on 36th between 4th and 5th is a great coffee shop Upscale, quality baked goods, low key, but very classy feel and patrons.

    Pizza by the Park, the only decent pizza 7th and 42nd

    39th street Diner and Donuts delivers 24/7 I am NOT kidding. I have ordered from there at 2 am. Its on 39th and 5th

    There is a decent C town on 46 and 5th. (I make the rare exception to enter the matrix to go shopping for can goods, otherwise I just hit Trader Joes in Manhattan and lug).

    Clean and Brite is a 24 hour laundromat on 39th and 5th.

    Eclipse, a good Mexican right on the border of "The Matrix Area of Ghetto doom" 45th and 4th but, its good enough to eat in and order from.

    Maria's Ditto good Mexican, 39th and 5th

    Kofte Piyaz, 38th and 5th. I'm mentioning them, because they are NOT a greasy spoon ghetto joint, like so many places here.

    Sunset Perk, 39th between 4th and 5th I am also mentioning them because they are not like the rest of the nasty little hole in the wall places around here.

  • Thanks everyone! I tried the commute a few times last week. What a world of difference taking the N/D vs the R. Thanks to you Psycho-Ologist for chiming in. Having done a lot of research on this forum I have seen your writings a lot in regards to Sunset Park. I was so happy to see you answer my query so completely. Have you guys ever looked at the city data forums safety maps?

    They list most of Sunset Park as yellow (be street smart) or orange (watch your back) but there is an area along 5th near 39th-43rd, which is red (dangerous and weird at all times).Do you agree? Is it because of the fast food restaurants and the gang activity they attract? (This was a city data forum persons suggestion).

  • LaddHalsey said:

    Thanks everyone! I tried the commute a few times last week. What a world of difference taking the N/D vs the R. Thanks to you Psycho-Ologist for chiming in. Having done a lot of research on this forum I have seen your writings a lot in regards to Sunset Park. I was so happy to see you answer my query so completely. Have you guys ever looked at the city data forums safety maps?

    They list most of Sunset Park as yellow (be street smart) or orange (watch your back) but there is an area along 5th near 39th-43rd, which is red (dangerous and weird at all times).Do you agree? Is it because of the fast food restaurants and the gang activity they attract? (This was a city data forum persons suggestion).

    Hi Again LaddHalsey,

    That particular area is a drug haven. It is right in front of the park which you will notice is not particularly well lit at night, and due to its incline, (its hilly) you can't always see clear across the park, from every angle. Its a great place to sprint away from on-rushing cop cars.

    The sellers come from the section 8/project style apartments on 4th in the 50's to deal right there in front of the park.

    Some of the Mexican patrons of that park also bring people in there to have sex, or they go there to masturbate. I am not saying this in any racially disparaging way. I think in their case, they may live in such crowded housing, the park is their only option.

    With all that in mind,

    I will adamantly say NEVER EVER go in that park at night, if you are a woman, even to walk your dog, unless it is a big terrifying looking pit bull or mastiff.

    To the east of the park (towards 7th and 8th ave)there are some condo's with residents much like you and myself, who are too busy sleeping, or to wary to venture into the park at night, so that end is also desolate at night. The best end of the park to walk around at night is the north end, right in front of the barber shop, because of the heavy foot traffic around that area will ensure someone is within ear shot.

    Overall, ignore the safety data, map. Sunset park/Greenwood Heights is REALLY huge, and hard to define.

    Pro tips:

    North east, ala Greenwood Heights or

    Straight East, ala Chinatown Sunset Park/Boro Park are much safer than the south west areas of Sunset Park (ie 5th avenue and below, and 40th street and above)

    At night:

    Anything south of the prospect avenue stop and below 4th avenue is EXTREMELY desolate and scary. By the time you hit the 30's its nothing but industrial stores that have closed for the night and strip clubs, with one lone Dunkin Donuts. 4th avenue is great for having so many stores open at night to deter problems. You can walk 4th avenue clear up to 44th street before you will feel uncomfortable, although after 39th you will notice large storefronts with people standing outside them, which I will be honest and say are probably drug havens.

    On 42 there is some barber shop, a bodega and a cellular shop on the west end of that avenue that are particularly scary. By 49th it is obviously scary, and there have been knifings in that area up in the 50's on 4th.

    Sunset Park Proper:

    in General, 5th and 6th avenue (which begins again on 45th, it is bisected by the park) doesn't feel safe until you pass Our lady of perpetual help, literally a huge church on 60th and 5th. 6th avenue is more residential, so you will feel a bit safer there, however at 45th when it is cut by the park, you will notice a lot of loiterers of dubious character. I will also say 6th avenue in the 30's on the other side of the park is WORSE) you will notice some suspicious bodegas and loiterers around there come summer months.

    7th 8th and 9th avenue where I live there have really been no problems. There is nothing up here. Just Chinese places and by 10th avenue you are in Boro park, which is very Hasidim/orthodox Jew. By 8th and 9th avenue in the 40's in Sunset Park you will actually see Hasidim walking around. This is as safe as Sunset Park proper gets, otherwise think of moving to Greenwood Heights especially 5th and 6th avenues below 20th street.

    Greenwood heights is pretty safe to walk around at night, but it is very residential, dark and quiet, as it surrounds the cemetery from which it takes its namesake. Most of the blocks there are private houses, with one of two brand new condos. 5th avenue in the 20's is very dark and lonely because of the cemetery.

    Geenwood in the teens, relaxed and not terrifying at all. Hit up Lot 2 on 6th avenue and Korzo on 5th avenue in the teens for great food.

    The area by Lot 2 (Greenwood/Windsor Terrace border) is beautiful and full of young professional families who bought those lovely woodframe houses and painted them in gorgeous colors.

    From 39th and 5th avenue going all the way up to 11th (ie fort Hamilton Parkway)the cemetery divides Windsor Terrace and the beginnings of Kensington from Sunset/Boro-Park.

  • Everyone's perspectiver is different. I've lived here 7 1/2 years, in the mid-40s b/w 4th and 5th. I would disagree with the Psychologist on a number of things:

    LaddHalsey said:

    They list most of Sunset Park as yellow (be street smart) or orange (watch your back) but there is an area along 5th near 39th-43rd, which is red (dangerous and weird at all times).Do you agree? Is it because of the fast food restaurants and the gang activity they attract? (This was a city data forum persons suggestion).

    I'm not familiar with that categorization, but don't think it's nearly that scary on 5th by the park (39th-43rd). Yes, there are homeless people and druggies in and around the park, but I wouldn't characterize it as a "dangerous and weird at all times" situation. At all. Sunset Park is mostly families, yes, many are poor, but they are families and hard-working people. Sunset Park itself is full of kids and families during daylight hours and yes, while I wouldn't find it smart to take shortcuts across the park at night, I do run around the park, and the cemetery at dawn, year round, and there are always a lot of people around -- not scary people either. And I would also not categorize "west of 5th" as "ghetto" -- whatever the qualification attached to the definition of "ghetto". There are some gorgeous blocks, with beautiful brownstones and row houses, and yes, some are in poor shape others better, but that's what you get in an ungentrified neighborhood. The creepiest part of the nabe for me has always been the stretch in the lowlands between 39th and along the cemetery, although again, once you get used to who people are, you see that a lot of what seems creepy is that it's quiet, and that there are lots of good, working people out at all hours.

    Other amenities Psycho-Ologist left out of the other quite comperehensive account is:

    - Key Food, which has been better and better, has a responsive management willing to try out "yuppie" foods

    - a great CSA (June-November)

    - a growing community group active in improving the park (SPRIG)

    - the pool! the pool! (ok, just in the "while school's out" time, but still -- lap swimming morning and evening is awesome!)

    My two cents on the commute is that the way into Manhattan is easier than coming home -- I go to W 14th street. It's almost always worth it during rush hour times to wait for the R train and switch at 36th and take the first express train that comes along; but coming home I have to choose either N or D. So going into the city it is never longer than 30 minutes, but coming home can range from 35-50, depending on train luck.

  • this post reminds me of my youth and getting rob near the park. I got robbed 4 times around that park. but this was many years ago. Could be much safer now days.

    I agree with mostly what miss piggy icon says :p. I remember icons better than names lol.

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