The biggest charmers in Cobble Hill are the brownstones. Here you’ll find some of the most gorgeous and historic examples of this type of building in all of New York City, whether full-frame houses — which are plentiful – or co-op apartment buildings. Many properties have fascinating histories worthy of research and documentation; some were built as livery stables and later converted into residences. The historic character of the neighborhood means that old-time features — railroad floor plans, a lack of elevators — occasionally prevail. But there are a few newer condos and conversions available if you love Cobble Hill but require all the modern conveniences.
While there is only one subway station in Cobble Hill proper — the F and G stop at Bergen and Smith streets — the neighborhood is adjacent to the fantastic transit options of central Brooklyn. The linked stations at Borough Hall and Court Street offer access to the 2, 3, 4, 5, and R trains, and the A, C, and G trains stop at Hoyt-Schermerhorn, making the trip into Manhattan a relatively easy one. Numerous other subway lines are close by, and the Long Island Railroad is accessible at Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center, meaning you can get almost anywhere in the New York region by stepping just outside the neighborhood. Getting a cab or an Uber here is a simple task, and Brooklyn is an excellent place to ride a bike.
Cobble Hill’s neighborhood public elementary, PS 29 John M. Harrigan, earns broad affection from students and parents, as well as a 10 out of 10 rating on GreatSchools. The School for International Studies, a nearby public middle and high school, has struggled historically, though neighborhood parents are trying hard to change that. Also nearby are the Success Academy Cobble Hill, a highly regarded charter elementary and middle school, the Brooklyn Heights Montessori School, and the K-12 Mary McDowell Friends School.
As a small neighborhood, Cobble Hill itself offers only a couple of park options, but they’re both quite nice. Cobble Hill Park is a half-acre green space right in the middle of the neighborhood with plenty of lawns, picnic benches, and a playground — a favorite for kids, parents, and dogs. On the western edge of the neighborhood, Van Voorhees Park nestles up to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and offers tennis courts, playing fields, a fountain, more green space, and waterfront views. Even without leaving the neighborhood, you’ve got options for letting the kids run around and/or grabbing a breath of fresh air.
Restaurants and Bars
Put it this way: There are enough interesting places to eat and drink in Cobble Hill that your friends from Manhattan won’t mind coming over — often. The trophy eatery in the ‘hood is perhaps La Vara, which has been converting Brooklynites to the wonders of Spain’s Sephardic-Moorish cuisine for years now. But there are plenty of other delights to discover, like the innovative Italian cuisine at Battersby and the beloved comfort fare at Buttermilk Channel. As for drinking, there are all the usual options on offer to nightlife-loving Brooklynites. Fancy-cocktail emporiums abound — Congress Bar and The Long Island Bar are two favorites — but what would any good neighborhood be without an aging, comfy, slightly gritty dive? See Boat Bar.
With interesting shops lining Smith Street, Court Street, and Atlantic Avenue, retail enthusiasts in Cobble Hill are never far from an alluring diversion and/or a worthwhile credit card swipe. A Cook’s Companion has all the kitchen supplies you could ever want; Burlap fulfills the high-end boutique niche; and even big department store Barney’s has a location in the neighborhood. If you’re looking for historical accoutrements for your new (to you, that is) brownstone, Yesterday’s Treasures is the place to hunt. And if you just need groceries, you can find them at nearby locations of Union Market, Trader Joe’s, and Key Food.
Landmarks and culture
As a small, mostly residential neighborhood, Cobble Hill offers few of the big-time cultural or historical landmarks of some of the surrounding areas, but it puts residents close to the movie theaters and museums in Downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights, as well as the many worthwhile diversions of Prospect Park. In one sense, the neighborhood itself is a cultural landmark, since much of the western part of it has been formally designated the Cobble Hill Historic District. Just walk down the street — you’ll see plenty of interesting sights in Cobble Hill.