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Brooklyn
  • $1400   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $2339   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $3710   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)
  • (the rest of the  northeast US)

99% live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 4
Most errands can be accomplished on foot. 5
hipsters, incomprehensible trends, unrealistic expectations
public transit, parkland, museums, pubs 6

SO, roomiematch.com's Brooklyn roommate rundown:

After hearing from thousands and thousands of wishful Brooklyn roommates, we're offering our Proceed with Caution Preamble: If your Brooklyn lifestyle is entirely imagined thus far . . .

. . . if you've yet to nail down any serious details . . .
. . . it's likely less realistic than you think.

No, not saying you're stupid, saying this is true of almost everyone not in Brooklyn (or Manhattan or San Francisco). So many roommates imagined they could get along pretty easily here for at least a year, working only part time, freelance, or in the gig economy . . . to explore local life via roommates before making any longer-term geographic commitments, and/or just for the excitement of Brooklyn for a spell before moving on.

And in most of the cities on this list, that actually works! Many succeed.

You could too, provided you can support yourself locally some way you won't hate that's still lucrative enough to pay your roommate share.

There's obviously a range, but you could gig your way into a lot of realistic roommate scenarios and experience huge urbanity for non-huge money . . . again, in most of the cities on this list.

Less so this one.

Overall, definitely including cost, Brooklyn is a LOT.

After Manhattan, Brooklyn is the most densely populated area on the East Coast. After rent, even with roommates, the overall cost of living remains very high.

We're not trying to be down on Brooklyn. Many Brooklynites love their borough! It has so much to recommend it!

But everything Brooklyn is competitive, everything is crowded, and everything is more expensive than you're probably imagining if you don't already truly know.

And while everything Brooklyn is also lively, multicultural, often educational, and frequently cool . . . you might not ultimately enjoy yourself as much as you're currently imagining if you'd have to struggle too much to pay for it.

At the overcrowded corner of Hip & Trendy, your rent will cost more than almost everywhere else in the country, even with roommates. This to live in real estate that will NOT be nicer. Definitely not more spacious.

In addition, be warned that even after paying the "I live in Brooklyn" surcharge . . . no one in their right mind ever moves to Brooklyn just to stay home in a tiny room.

So you have to pay not just your own inflated rent, but all the other unreasonably high charges for everything else all over the rest of your overpriced neighborhood, so you can be out and about too in all that's exciting in Brooklyn that includes . . .

. . . the largest number of "Chinatowns" in NYC, especially along 8th Avenue. That Brooklyn is about 25% Jewish, some say it's the "most Jewish spot on Earth." Greenpoint, also known as "Little Poland." The huge Hispanic community, Bushwick is the hub. Brooklyn is also home to the largest community of West Indians outside the Caribbean, and Brighton Beach, our largest Russian-speaking community.

It also includes Bay Ridge, which includes the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which connects to Staten Island.

And Bay Ridge also includes Fort Hamilton, a United States Army Base. (Also a lot of bars with a lot of food specials, they like soldiers, quite possibly you and your roommates too even if you're non-military.)

Brooklyn speaks a lot of languages. While most Brooklynites speak English, up to half speak something else as well or more often.

Performing arts and restaurants happen everywhere, indoors and out, parks and the sidewalk and whatever. You could just walk around on any warm day, open to new experiences especially involving street performance and food trucks, and be entertained and well-fed.

Brooklyn is extremely well-served by a lot of public transport, including subways, buses, a ferry network, and commuter rail, all the way to the suburbs. There's even a Water Taxi.

But if you don't have a serious reason to be in Brooklyn most of the week that's probably your full-time job or in-person full-time-ish education (and/or you're not independently wealthy and/or in possession of the family-owned and/or rent-controlled place, etc.) . . . you would probably find it more affordable and thus less stressful to live most anywhere else on this list also along the East Coast . . .

. . . then VISIT.

Possibly a lot. Which you'll easily afford, since all your bills will be less. Since Brooklyn is connected to everything else via all that public transport, visiting should be relatively easy and fast!

You can still be special too! Even if you don't live in Brooklyn!

You can be just as special living life on less expensive real estate . . . maybe even more special, if special can ultimately involve actually feeling less stressed out?

(Everyone Else (already in Brooklyn with ongoing full-time reasons): Carry on, and apologies for the interruption! This preamble is the best thing for you too! Even if you didn't need to read it! ;) )

The rest of the Brooklyn roommate lowdown:

  • most populous of the five boroughs of New York City, with about 2.6 million
  • on southwestern end of Long Island, sharing a land boundary with Queens
  • 97 square miles, about 26 is water, which borders most of it
  • high temperatures in summer with frequent freezes in winter, rain year round
  • Like the rest of NYC, most residents don't own cars, and even those that do probably take public transport more often, saving the car for trips outside the city.
  • many colleges and universities, including Brooklyn Law School, Pratt Institute, New York Polytechnic School of Engineering, Brooklyn College, Medgar Evers College, New York City College of Technology, and the SUNY Downstate Medical Center



After you're settled down, you and your roommates should experience Brooklyn's:

  • Brooklyn Academy of Music: Lots of concerts, ongoing and visiting exhibitions of visual art, a cinema, opera, kid stuff
  • Coney Island: Amusement park reliably attracting summer crowds during any heatwave. Also a roller coaster, an aquarium, a ferris wheel, the Brooklyn Cyclones, and the New York Liberty!
  • Brooklyn Museum: NYC's second largest public museum, since 1897.
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park: Manhattan's spectacular skyline. DUMBO (down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass) sits between the two bridges nearby, also offers great views.
  • Brooklyn Bridge: Connecting to lower Manhattan. Other bridges are available, this one's most iconic.
  • Prospect Park: Ice-skating in winter, kites and concerts in the summer, and the Brooklyn Museum, which contains the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art and Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo.
  • Marine Park: Once mostly a salt marsh, now bike paths, also handball and shuffleboard courts.
  • Brighton Beach: Largest Russian-speaking community in the US
  • New York Transit Museum: Letting you know you can start in Brooklyn and connect to anywhere in the world!
  • Brooklyn Public Library: Brooklyn's own independent library system and non-profit, more than 50 branches, with the ongoing goal of keeping at least one branch within half a mile of every Brooklynite! Lots of other programs like classes, readings, and live performances. Also multiple bookmobiles.
  • Brooklyn Nets: Most New Yorkers pull their sports fandom from whatever borough they please, but this basketball team is specifically Brooklyn's most popular professional sports team and fandom.
  • Jewish Children's Museum: The largest Jewish museum for kids in the country. Would you like to learn to bake a 3D dreidel cookie? You and your roommates could visit as a group, you wouldn't even have to pull up in a school bus.


Here's the Comprehensive Plan for Brooklyn, which you and your roommates may want to check out. (It's mostly about housing units and your health.)





Notes

1.   The non-traditional roommate rent average for this city we've experienced over the last 3 years. We can't predict future rental availability, because we're neither in control of any rental market nor psychic, sorry!

But in most cities most of the time, the recent and relatively recent past are the best predictors.


2.   This idea came from smartasset.com's ranking of what a roommate saves you in 50 cities. They ranked where roommates will save you the most money, based on the average cost of a 1BR as opposed to a 2BR ÷ 2. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the city, the more you can save, but the savings are significant in all larger metros. So we got the data for the rest of our cities from Zumper too.

This is really the minimum you could save, as you could live with more than one roommate, split more services, share food or other supplies, etc. More sharing tends to lead to more savings too, as per our roommate roadmap.

As per the rest of the description at the top of this page, we're calling this "traditional" roommate rent.


3.   From zumper.com.


4.   Directly quoted from the Trust for Public Land's parkland rating system.

"The ParkScore index awards each city up to 100 points for acreage based on the average of two equally weighted measures: median park size and parkland as a percentage of city area. Factoring park acreage into each city’s ParkScore rating helps account for the importance of larger “destination parks” that serve many users who live farther than ten minutes’ walking distance."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual ParkScore, nature lovers might like to see all roommate cities ranked for parkland.


5.   Directly quoted from Walk Score's Cities and Neighborhoods Ranking. They've ranked "more than 2,800 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can find a walkable home or apartment."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual Walk Score, dedicated pedestrians might like to see all roommate cities ranked for walkability.


6.   From various lists here on our own best roommate cities.