19. Dumbo & Downtown Brooklyn
Dumbo: Sands St. to East River, Brooklyn Bridge (through to the Brooklyn Navy Yard) to Manhattan Bridge
Downtown Brooklyn: Wyckoff St./Warren St. to Sands St., Flatbush Ave. to Court St./Cadman Plaza
Two half-neighborhoods with glaring weaknesses that look better when combined. Dumbo supplies the art galleries and waterfront access but is expensive; Downtown Brooklyn provides the stadium-seating multiplex and public-transit hub, but is high in crime and bereft of nightlife. This area received the highest score of any (95 points) in our creative-capital category: People in the arts constitute about 20 percent of its workforce.
Flushing Ave. to North 14th St./Nassau Ave./McGuinness Blvd./Meeker Ave., Newtown Creek to Kent Ave.
Few other enclaves inspire the kind of love-it-or-loathe-it partisanship that this one does. But the thing to remember is that Williamsburg is actually a rather large neighborhood, both in population (it’s home to about 125,000 people, about the same as Harlem) and geography. Near the L-train stops, it offers a fantastically hip (or annoying, depending on your disposition) array of bars, restaurants, and shopping, and some sparkling new developments. The eastern and southern borders are more affordable but less safe, and lag in retail density and access to green space.