New York rental guide - Brooklyn
Brooklyn, just across the East River from the southern end Manhattan, is probably the best-known of the 'other' four boroughs and has the highest population (2.5 million to Manhattan's 1.5). In fact, if Brooklyn was a city in its own right (as it was over a century ago) it would be the 4th largest in the US.
At over 70 square miles, there's a little more room to breathe in Brooklyn than there is in Manhattan. The borough has plenty of diverse (and increasingly desirable) residential neighborhoods and its own sizeable downtown. It's also home to Coney Island, New York City's last remaining amusement park, as well as Prospect Park, which was designed by the same team who created Central Park.
Over the past decade, Manhattan-style rents have begun to invade Brooklyn, especially in neighborhoods like Park Slope or Williamsburg. That said, there are still a number of places in the borough where young people or families can find affordable housing. Many consider Brooklyn to be the 'coolest' of the five boroughs and, while the hipsters have begun to flee rising rents in Williamsburg, they can still be found to the east in Bushwick, where they're slowly giving rise to new art galleries, coffee houses, and live-music bars (until rents inevitably increase and drive them somewhere else).
A closer look
Brooklyn is definitely more 'up and come' than 'up and coming' these days and you might be surprised at how expensive rents are. Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and the area just west of Prospect Park have some of the most elegant properties in Brooklyn and rents reflect this. Park Slope (which includes the area near Prospect Park), DUMBO, Carroll Gardens, Fort Greene and Williamsburg are slightly cheaper but by no means cheap. The neighborhoods closest to the Atlantic-Pacific subway station, which is served by more lines than any station apart from Times Square, generally see a bump in rental prices.
Williamsburg could almost get its own section, due to its astonishing rise in popularity among the young and hip. For most of the 21st century it's been the hub of New York's hipster culture and has great restaurants, funky fashion, clubs and bars galore. Of course, as with everything, a rise in popularity leads to a rise in demand, which leads to a rise in price. Williamsburg is becoming unaffordable for the hard up artists who made it popular in the first place (a common story in most cities). The steady march of artist-driven gentrification has the dual effect of revitalizing neighborhoods but also, unfortunately, pushing out lifelong residents who can't afford the new rents.