Celebrities are turning Brooklyn Heights into the ‘next’ West Village

One afternoon, the line stretched down the block from Apartment 4F, a French bakery that started as an Instagram account during the pandemic and opened in a storefront in Brooklyn Heights in June. it has been since then.

On Down Montague Street, an elegant crowd was having brunch at Phyllis, a new Italian restaurant run by the group behind the restaurant. Fashion world of Saint Ambrose. Phyllis recently made a celebrity-obsessed site Dukes MoiWhen Actress Tommy Dorfman It was spotted there.

A few blocks away, actor Paul Rudd was hanging out with his family, having recently purchased and renovated a brownstone in the neighborhood.

In the past year or so, the affluent and affluent Brooklyn Heights, New York’s old Volvo neighborhood, has undergone a subtle but significant transformation.

The change is in the early stages: Big discount Tuesday at Gristedes is still showing up, and the closest thing to a home furnishing store is Mattress Firm. But the leafy neighborhood, just south of the Brooklyn Bridge along New York Harbor, has its first food and shopping destination in ages. Its historic grand homes became highly valued by the nouveau riche who expelled the wealthy lawyers and bankers who had long formed the local nobility.

And celebrities are now everywhere. Amy Schumer made the news in July when she paid over $12 million house “Monstruck”The five-bedroom, 5,600-square-foot townhouse built in 1829 where the 1987 Academy Award-winning film was filmed.

Matt Damon paid $16.7 million In 2018 for a 6,000-square-foot penthouse in Standish Brooklyn, the Beaux-Arts-style hotel turned into a celebrity-filled apartment in Columbia Heights. Among his neighbors are John Krasinski and Emily Blunt. three streets away, Michelle Williams paid $10.8 million In 2020 to build a house on an area of ​​3000 square feet.

Celebrity sightings have become very popular – Jennifer Connelly takes her children to school; Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys for a weekend outing; Adam is a driver playing fetch At the Dog Park – No wonder the paparazzi never made it out of the park.

In another sign of the neighborhood’s increasing cultural character, Knopf Vice President and Executive Editor Jenny Jackson has written a novel about Brooklyn Heights morality that follows an old family. “pineapple street“It is not due until next year but it has been selected Developed as a TV series.

“It’s about the simple extraordinary wealth that you can find in the pockets of this neighborhood,” said Ms. Jackson, who moved to Brooklyn Heights from West Village 11 years ago. “It’s a funny neighborhood. It is not flashy. However, there are pockets of profound wealth that you insinuate.”

She’s also had her share of celebrity tours. “The West Village is where you go if you want to see celebrities in their natural environment,” said Ms. Jackson. Now she meets Keri Russell at the SoulCycle and Adam Driver at the ice cream van. “I saw Matt Damon outside the pharmacy. He’s so prominent he pulls his hat down to try not to get noticed.”

The West Village analogy is not far off. since then Carrie Bradshaw Seen coming out of the brown Berry Street, the neighborhood has been considered one of the most sought-after areas in New York City for a particular breed of downtown celebrities who coveted a West Village country house. Final Real Estate Award. Architectural Digest He was once asked if West 11th Street was the home of the city’s most “starry” building.

But perhaps the West Village has become a good thing too much. Billionaires have acquired the best townhouses like Steve Cohen, a hedge fund manager and owner of the Mets. Tourists flock to Magnolia Street bakery and shops Bleecker Street.

In a city where purists want not one home office, but two home offices and plenty of outdoor space—desires that have multiplied during the pandemic—Brooklyn Heights has emerged as a great alternative for those who can live anywhere.

Ravi Kanta, Partner at Leslie GarfieldA real estate agency specializing in townhouses. “I tell people, ‘It’s like the West Village, without interruption,'” he added, pointing to the well-preserved blocks of apartment houses on the tree-lined streets.

In some ways, it’s prettier. Homes in Brooklyn Heights tend to be larger than those in the West Village, and many were built during the 19th century by wealthy merchants in what would become Manhattan’s first suburb.

The charming streets are also smoother, providing a secluded tranquility that other brownstone neighborhoods lack.

Elizabeth Roberts, the engineer best known for blowing it up from Brooklyn brownstone and glass wall installation. “Brooklyn Heights is block after block of tranquility. Why do celebrities and others go there? It’s the most beautiful brownstone residential neighborhood in Brooklyn.”

It has stunning views of the Manhattan skyline, giving it a visual link to downtown, which is reassuring for anyone venturing across the river for the first time. This may explain why the private roof deck has emerged as a commemorative feature of Brooklyn Heights.

Just ask Robert Tavera and his brother Eric from Taffera Company, “It” contractors in Brooklyn Heights – Yes, there is such a thing. New brownstone owners have a timeless approach to gut renovation, with budgets sometimes exceeding $4 million, based on quotes of $1,000 per square foot for renovations.

“On some projects, we have excavated almost the entire underground and brought the park back to the top” to make room for offices, gyms, and wine cellars, said Robert Tavira.

Housing prices have also reached the surface. In 2020, a penthouse unit in Quay Tower, a waterfront condominium, Sold for $20 million, breaking the record for town sales held by Mr. Damon. This record did not last long: in 2021, a sprawling home on Montage Terrace owned by Vincent Viola Sold for $25.5 million An undisclosed buyer.

Many newcomers have made their fortunes in the new economy, and are drawn to the impressive architecture, proximity to Manhattan and elite private schools such as Baker Collegiate Institute and St. Ann’s School.

Among them is Joseph Laloz, a cryptocurrency executive He paid $18.3 million Last month ($3 million more than previous list price) for a five-story brownstone with mobile home, private garden, and waterfront deck. Other notable residents include Dan Houser, founder of Rockstar Games; Michael Linton, President of Snap Inc; and Julie Greenwald, chief operating officer of Atlantic Records.

“People who walk around the neighborhood, often the first comment is, ‘Wow, it’s so beautiful. “It’s very quiet, it’s very peaceful,” said Mr. Kanta, the estate agent. “For anyone looking for an escape from the stress and noise and anything about the city that can be overwhelming, this is a very cool thing to discover.”

But there are still many amenities that Brooklyn Heights lacks. Until recently, there were no bars or restaurants worth posting on Instagram. There are no gourmet stores to buy grass-fed beef or cheese from Hudson Valley purveyors. No boutique hotel has a parking lot for meetings.

The closest thing to a social club is Heights Casinoa squash and tennis club that appears to have been imported from the 1950s in Greenwich, Conn.

Montague Street, the neighborhood’s main commercial strip, is famous for its always gloomya street of chain stores like Starbucks and Key Food dotted with small hardware stores, bodegas and diners, along with many empty storefronts.

Ashley Coiffard, who opened L’Appartement 4F with her husband, Gautier Coiffard, visited Montague Street three years ago and remembered there was nowhere to eat except for Subway.

“After we signed the lease, a lot of people were, like Brooklyn Heights — there’s not much going on. Are you sure that was a good decision?”

But the bakery seems to have led to a revival in retail. Across the street, at No. 122 Montage, novelist Emma Straub is opening a new branch of her bookstore, magic books, a shop so cute that it has over 200,000 followers on Instagram. (The library’s original website is in Cobble Hill.)

Both works have been brought to the neighborhood before Brooklyn Heights Association, a more than a century old civic group working with landlords, residents and business owners to revive local commerce. “The older generation may not like it, but I think a really cool bar on Montague Street is the next thing we need to follow,” said Erica Belsey Worth, president of the association until recently.

Maybe she got her wish. In June, Shawn Rimbold, former chef at Williamsburg Marlow & Sons and Diner, and his wife, fashion designer Caron Callahanopened impure bar, Stylish neighborhood restaurant at 66 Hicks Street, a space formerly occupied by Jack the Horse Tavern.

Ingas is often packed with a crowd that looks like they came out of the cooler parts of Brooklyn. One recent evening, Amy Schumer was hanging out at the bar.

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