Great NYC Buildings: Brooklyn's Gold Coast Living

APRIL 15, 2014

The real estate market shows no sign of slowing down on Brooklyn’s three “gold coasts,” from the old guard to the newly-minted.

Brooklyn Heights is the borough’s original gold coast; wealthy residents have been calling the picturesque neighborhood filled with historic brownstones and gracious apartment buildings home for decades. The neighborhood is convenient to Downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Bridge Park as well as Manhattan. But its best assets are its beautiful East River and Manhattan views and the broad promenade that runs along the river. Nearby shopping, restaurants, quaint cafes and farmers’ markets all make the neighborhood one of the city’s most coveted.

Love Lane Mews at 9 College Place is a newer condominium conversion–formerly garages, its buildings were converted in 2010–but it epitomizes the neighborhood’s historic village lifestyle, tucked away on a quiet, leafy street just a few blocks from the river. Apartments have the high ceilings that are so often found in pre-war buildings, but also central air, high-end kitchens and many other modern conveniences. There are also roof decks, a doorman and a fitness center.

Just to the north, the neighborhood known as DUMBO (for Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass) was a quiet industrial zone before becoming one of the city’s most sought-after residential areas. Just over the East River, with stunning bridge, river and city views in just about every direction, the neighborhood’s modern towers and converted lofts ushered in a bustling collection of neighborhood amenities from furniture ateliers and fashionable boutiques to restaurants, gourmet groceries and sprawling office spaces. Now one of the city’s more expensive enclaves, the neighborhood boasts the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg food court in the summertime as well as proximity to Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Built in 1916 and converted in 1998, the Clocktower Building at One Main Street (pictured) was one of the neighborhood’s first luxury residences, and it continues to be one of the most desirable. The massive, iconic 12-story building on the Brooklyn waterfront overlooks the East River and is instantly recognizable by the clock faces on either side of its central tower. Its 126 converted lofts feature cinematic Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan skyline and river views through oversized windows, 11-foot concrete beamed ceilings, top-of-the-line appliances and finishes and central air and heat. Building amenities include a 24-hour concierge, a roof deck, a garage and a fitness center.

Williamsburg is the young upstart among the city’s “gold coasts.” The residential and industrial waterfront neighborhood became a magnet for young, creative New Yorkers, who crossed the river from downtown Manhattan to escape rising rents in the 1990s . The neighborhood has remained a colorful, young cultural center, but the development of its prime waterfront property has brought luxury buyers from all over the world seeking modern living spaces with stunning waterfront vistas and cultural amenities (a year-round flea market and a waterfront park as well as endless restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, hip hotels, lounges and nightclubs) galore.

North 8 at 49 North 8th Street is a sleek loft-like building that offers the perfect Northside (of Williamsburg) living experience. With the East River State Park (and beyond it, the river) as its front yard, this stylish condominium, built in 2006, offers fabulous views of the Manhattan skyline from its 40 apartments. Interiors have chef’s kitchens, central air and spa-inspired baths, and building amenities–the area is known for its amenity-packed residences–include a doorman, concierge, fitness center, residents’ garage and roof deck.