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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Why So Many Famous People Are Choosing to Relocate to Brooklyn Heights

L’Appartement 4F is a French bakery that started as an Instagram account during the epidemic and debuted in a shop in Brooklyn Heights in June. On a recent day, the wait to enter the establishment was so long that it ran down the whole block. Since then, there has been a constant crowd there.

A fashionable throng was seen eating breakfast at Felice, a new Italian restaurant on Montague Street. Felice is owned by the same organisation that is responsible for the success of the fashion industry hotspot Sant Ambroeus. Recently, Felice was featured on the website Deux Moi, which is dedicated to celebrities, when the actress Tommy Dorfman was sighted there.

And only a few streets away, the actor Paul Rudd was relaxing with his family on the porch of the brownstone that he had just purchased and refurbished in the area.

The transition is only getting started; senior discount Tuesday at Gristedes is still going strong, and Mattress Firm is the establishment that comes the closest to becoming a business that sells home furnishings. For the first time in a very long time, the lush neighbourhood that runs along New York Harbor just south of the Brooklyn Bridge now has retail and dining hotspots of destination status. Its large ancient townhouses have become highly coveted by the newly ultra-wealthy, who are displacing the simply well-off attorneys and bankers who have traditionally made up the local gentry. These professionals have long made up the local gentry.

And you can find famous people just about everywhere. Amy Schumer made headlines in July when she spent more than $12 million for the “Moonstruck” mansion. The townhouse featured in the 1987 film that won an Academy Award for Best Picture is a five-bedroom, 5,600-square-foot structure that was constructed in 1829 on Cranberry Street.

It is a small wonder that the paparazzi have not staked out the promenade because celebrity sightings have become so commonplace. For example, Jennifer Connelly has been seen walking her children to school, Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys have been seen taking a weekend stroll, and Adam Driver has been seen playing fetch at a dog park.

The comparison to West Village is not entirely inappropriate. Since the time when Carrie Bradshaw was seen exiting a Perry Street brownstone, the area has been regarded as one of the most desired in all of New York City for a specific type of downtown celebrity who sought a West Village townhouse as the ultimate real estate prize. A previous issue of Architectural Digest posed the question of whether or not West 11th Street was the location of the city’s most “star-studded” block.

However, it’s possible that the West Village has been saturated with too much of a good thing. Billionaires like Steve Cohen, who manages hedge funds and owns the Mets, have purchased all of the desirable townhouses in the area. Both the bakery on Magnolia Street and the shops on Bleecker Street were packed with out-of-town visitors.

In a city in which the ultra-wealthy seek not one, but two home offices and plenty of outdoor space — wishes that went into overdrive during the epidemic — Brooklyn Heights has developed as a gorgeous option for those who can afford to live anywhere.

It’s much wonderful than I thought it would be. Many of the homes in Brooklyn Heights were constructed in the 19th century by affluent merchants in what would become the first suburb of Manhattan. As a result, the homes in Brooklyn Heights tend to be bigger than those in the West Village.

The stunning architecture, the close proximity to Manhattan, and the availability of prestigious private schools such as Packer Collegiate Institute and St. Ann’s School have attracted a good number of recent immigrants who have become wealthy as a result of the new economy.

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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