And…We’re Moving!

Last fall, we moved from the West Village to an apartment farther downtown in Battery Park City. We planned to stay for a year or two until we could find a place in Brooklyn, but then…
It’s starting to feel like we’re living alone in a huge building—Alex jokes that it’s like The Shining. (Especially when Toby rides his scooter up and down the empty hallways. Spooky.)

So! We knew we had to move asap, but where? California? Brooklyn? A small town? The Brooklyn real-estate market is nuts, and buying a place was proving impossible, so we didn’t really know what to do next.

But last week, we were thrilled to find a lovely rental apartment in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn! Our new place is a sweet walk-up with a little balcony. The neighborhood is known for leafy streets and old brownstones, and we’re excited about moving there. We LOVED the community feel of the West Village, so we’re hoping we can establish that in Brooklyn.

Crazy side note: Alex actually hasn’t seen the apartment. I went to the showing by myself, and apartments rent so quickly in New York that we had to make an immediate decision. So I took some snapshots with my phone and described all the details…and we ended up applying and getting it. I hope he likes it!

Anyway, thanks so much for reading. Do you guys know Carroll Gardens (or the surrounding neighborhoods) at all? I would SO appreciate any recommendations of things to do with kids, good restaurants, etc.! We’re looking forward to exploring. And if you live there….want to be friends? ;)
P.S. The Cup of Jo Guide to NYC.

(Top photo by Julia Robbs for this post)

  1. I’m totally in love with Carroll Gardens! A friend of mine lives there and I often visit her for calm brunches in the weekends. My children love to go to Carroll Park, so we often visit the neighborhood. We moved to Queens a year ago and now we are planning to move to Carroll Gardens or Cobble Hill. Greets!

  2. Hi. I know a little late, but welcome to Brooklyn. I am out in Park Slope and also moved from the City once we started a family. I think that’s the story of many parents in BK. Come out to Park Slope, which I call “stroller city.” *wink – Lots to do with kids and many free activities.

    Visit – She’s my Goddess! Saves me especially now that Winter is coming and cabin fever kicks in. You will find wonderful things to do all over BK, and all kid-friendly. In case you had not heard of her.

    There are plenty of sing-a-longs too! I can send you the info. And if you ever need a play date, let me know. My son is 11 months. :)


  3. Welcome to the neighborhood! I’ve lived in Carroll Gardens for more than a decade and have watched it transform, sometimes in horror, sometimes with delight. We (meaning me, husband, and our 20-month-old son) would be happy to show you our favorite spots or meet for a playdate in Carroll Park (or some lesser-known parks in the area).

  4. Court street pastry for ices in the dinner and the best cannoli in the world. Esposito’s for awesome sandwiches to eat at the park and the best ravioli. Ferdinando’s for old school Sicilian! Caputo’s the bakery for amazing bread and caputo’s the mozzarella shop for cheese and ricotta, italian groceries, and pasta!

  5. Hi! Looks like you have a million comments about spots already but just wanted to say welcome to the hood. :) My husband and I live in the CG, as we like to call it, and it’s my favorite place in BK. I work freelance as a stylist and part time blogger. Anywhoo if you get to read my comment I would love to grab coffee sometime when you guys get settled or show you around. My husband happens to be the head barista at a local cafe { I KNOW.. how Brooklyn of us.. don’t judge} ;} Happy packing!

  6. Congrats Joanna! Y’all will love LOVE Brooklyn. It’s been a year and a half for me and I don’t miss Manhattan AT ALL. When I was deciding where in Brooklyn to move I hosted a bunch of guest bloggers to talk about their neighborhood. Here’s the post about Carroll Gardens!


  7. Caroll Gardens is amazing! You will absolutely love it there! We live next door in Park Slope, but walk to Carroll Gardens (and Brooklyn Bridge Park) all the time. The amount of kids and families are insane and so are the things to do with them in the area :) Congrats on the new place!

  8. I know this is a week late, but Welcome to Carroll Gardens! Like one of the other commenters, I moved here as a single gal and am now married with a dog and a 6 month old. The neighborhood has changed so much in the 4 years I’ve lived here.
    Best advice is to get on Bococa Parents– it is the best and there are tons of great kid-friendly tips there (and on Park Slope Parents to a lesser extent).
    Would be glad to be friends and maybe even you could host a meetup of your readers in the ‘hood since it sounds like there are many of us around.
    Hope to see you around the ‘hood!

  9. Don’t forgot the Boerum Hill area, there are great shops there like Acorn Toy Shop, Layla, GRDN, Eva Gentry and the Primary Essentials!

  10. You will love this neighb! i’ve lived here for 5 years and have not been able to leave CG for any reason, no matter how hard I tried! I basically call anything from the Brooklyn Bridge down to Red Hook “Carroll Gardens” because they all run into each other nicely and in a weekend you are bound to cross over into all the neighborhoods. Good luck with the move and if I see you guys around I’ll say hello! Welcome to the best neighborhood in this amazing city :)

  11. Carroll Gardens is great! In addition to all the recs here for restaurants and stuff – DEFINITELY sign up for the BoCoCa Parents listserv (it’s a Yahoo group). It’s very active, and a great place to find out what’s going on, buy/sell baby gear, etc.
    There are also at least 2 groups of June/July moms from last summer who are still actively getting together (often on Friday afternoons). Feel free to email if you’d like to join.

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  13. I’m a brand new reader to your site…just found it today as I googled “families living in Brooklyn” as my husband and I are thinking of moving with our 4 kids BACK to Brooklyn from Atlanta!:) We miss it! Anyways, Carrol Gardens is so beautiful…you’ll love it! We were in Park Slope and hope to move back to that area again!

  14. Alma is an amazing little spot for great Mexican food in that area– it’s on Columbia St.!! Enjoy your new home :)

  15. Ahh! I just stayed a week in a Carroll Gardens apartment from airbnb. The neighborhood was incredibly charming and it kind of broke my heart to leave it. There were adorable families everywhere and everything felt safe. Also, there was a Momofuku Milk Bar right beside the Subway which called for many Blueberry and Cream cookie treats. You’ll love it! Congratulations and good luck!

  16. Welcome to the neighborhood! I’m in Cobble Hill, right next door, and it is a fabulous place to have a family. You have to go to the little water playground at the end of Atlantic. Just about everything is baby-friendly in the area. You’ll love it.

  17. Congratulations on the move! Carroll Gardens is a lovely neighborhood.

  18. Oh! And take your kids to Adam Yauch park… what a trip to see a public landmark being named after a Beasty Boy LOL

  19. Oh! And take your kids to Adam Yauch park… what a trip to see a public landmark being named after a Beasty Boy LOL

  20. You are going to love it! Target is near by as is Trader Joe’s. The PathMark at Atlantic Terminal isn’t the funnest place, but you can stock up on lots of things there. The buses run on time, you have access to the Ikea shuttle by Borough hall or even Park Slope, which is not too far of a walk AT ALL! You have DUMBO and Brooklyn Bridge Park, not to mention Prospect Park and the Splash Pad. You are also VERY close to Manhattan, trust me, the Subway ride (albeit crowded at rush hour) is not long at all! Oh and you have Sahadi’s near by and Damascus Bakery where you can get fresh pitas and halloumi cheese for super cheap and just after Sahadi’s walking towards the Key Foods you’ll see a little Korean Vegetable/Fruit Market that is a steal!

  21. Carroll Gardens is great for kids! (Arguably one of the best in Brooklyn, second only to ParkSlope) I have a 3 and a half year old son and he loves Carroll Park, Momofuku, Smith Canteen, one girl cookies, area kids, and stinky’s cheese. And there are some great stores like soula. And you’re not too far from IKEA, and Brooklyn Bridge Park, and Prospect Park. You’ll love it!

  22. Yay! You’re moving to our neighborhood! You’ll love Smith Canteen and Carroll Park, Frankie’s and Prime Meats. The Aardvarks classes are great for the boys, and ditto to Farmacy. Lucali’s Pizza is the best of all boroughs. We live on Second Place and can’t wait to see you in the hood!

  23. you’re going to love it! i live in williamsburg but i work almost every weekend at the green building. come down for some of our events, like the performances gowanus arts and production put on, etc. some really amazing people down there. my husband and i have promised that if we ever move from williamsburg we’ll move down that way. i second the person who recommended arecibo as the most reliable car service.

  24. i live there. and yes, let’s do be friends! hope to see you for early breakfasts and late dinners at prime meats!

  25. Hey there! I’d love to be your friend. Lucy and I went to residency together and I now live here in NYC!

  26. I live further south in Brooklyn (Ditmas Park, which is totally worth a visit – beautiful Victorian houses that make it feel sort of suburban, and lots of kids) but am in the CG area a lot to visit friends, shop, eat, etc. CG and all the surrounding hoods are super bike-friendly – all of central BK really has a community feel, especially on bikes

    In your hood, Camp is a great outdoors-themed bar where you can make s’mores – I bet it would be totally fine to take the boys in the afternoon, when it’s really low-key.

    You’ll probably swoon over the Brooklyn-themed, locally produced products at Brooklyn Made (and spend way too much money, if you’re anything like me).

  27. Oh wow. That sucks about your building- I’m surprised they can serve you eviction notices like that! Well, good look with your move- I half expected you to say you were moving to California :) I don’t know the area you are talking about at- living in England and all, but I’m sure it will be great with for the boys :) Good luck with your move :) X

  28. ok, so i know im a little late and i didnt have time to read all of these comments! however, i couldnt leave without mentioning this place! i moved out of nyc a few years ago for work and one of the things i miss is one girl cookies on dean street (between smith st & boerum pl) in cobble hill. their cookies are perfectly bite sized (kid friendly!) and thoroughly delicious! i used to meet friends for lovely dinners on smith street around there too! enjoy brooklyn!

  29. Welcome to the neighborhood! If you’re looking for great kid-friendly restaurants, my blog has lots of options (I’m a local!). is the site.

  30. Hope you will share again interior design solutions of your new place. Sounds exciting even if it is hard work moving! Good luck!

  31. Carroll Gardens is awesome. Venture into Cobble Hill and check out Union Market on Court Street (amazing, fresh produce and a million other goodies) and Char No. 4 on Smith Street for an excellent date night dinner & whiskey tasting.

  32. Oh wow.. another move. Glad that you found a place fast. It’s kinda funny – people make fun of me because at the ripe old age of 29 I have lived in ONE apartment in my adult life. Like, the same one as when I first moved out. It just kinda ended up that way… but honestly I couldn’t imagine moving as often as some people I know. Hoping to buy in the near future!

  33. Oh man! That sucks that you guys have to move again so soon! Hope it all goes well – good luck with the move!

  34. Welcome to BROOKLYN! You will never understand why you lived in Manhattan ever again. My family and I live in Park Slope but we used to live in CG. Its awesome, the restaurants the bars the friendly Kids scene. As everyone else in these comments have said you will love it. The playground in CG is great, but if you want an adventure try in Park Slope the playground JJB, its on 3rd ave and 3rd st. The new WHOLE FOODS just went up they have a great roof top bar and also great for kids. Enjoy the new adventure.

  35. Congrats on moving, and finding a place you love (and actually being able to get it! I only have experience in Manhattan, but I’ve only heard amazing things about Brooklyn.

    PS I’m very jealous of your past experience in the West Village. I absolutely love it there.

    xo Julianne

  36. So exciting, congrats! We lived in Carroll Gardens for 3 years before relocating to southern California. This post and all the great recommendations you’re getting are making me nostalgic!! Good luck with the move and have a great time!

  37. Welcome to the neighborhood! I ended up here about two years ago by chance, and I don’t ever want to leave. There are a ton of journalists in this neighborhood (especially food writers, like me), which is one of the things I love about it.

    Some of my favorite restaurants/cafes/markets:

    Prime Meats
    Buttermilk Channel
    The Grocery
    Caputo’s Fine Foods
    Court Street Grocers
    Bien Cuit
    Van Horn
    Henry Public
    Momofuku Milk Bar
    Brooklyn Social
    Lavender Lake

    I could keep going! Feel free to drop me a line at plightofthepumpernickel (at) gmail (dot) com if you’d like more info on go-to dishes, totally-not-worth-it spots, etc.

  38. I lived in Cobble Hill for 10 years but now we live in… HIPSTURBIA! I still can’t believe your husband wrote that article. I hold him responsible for my house going up in value, so thank him for me. :)

  39. That is just like my apartment in Carroll Gardens. I hope you will love the neighborhood as much as I do. First stop once you move in Caputos for their handmade, melt-in-your-mouth mozzarella!

  40. oh yes we’re totally still dreaming about california for the future…just not quite ready yet! :)

  41. CARROLL GARDENS IS THE BEST! especially for a young family like you four :)

    i’m sure a lot of these have been covered already but make sure you get the breakfast sandwich at Court Street Grocers (its mildly life changing). frankie’s is the absolute best, they even have a pop-up for mission chinese in the back!! best!!

    other gems include dover (do not miss a meal here, sit at the bar with your man on date night), buttermilk channel, prime meats, the list goes on and on.

    you will be so happy there – its the best neighborhood. i live in greenpoint now and while that has its own special charm – nothing better than CG.

    also – if you aren’t familiar already – check out Poppy’s Catering who are in the neighborhood as well for any catering/events needs that you may have (they have an adorable shop you can bring the boys by as well, I’m sure they will find it so fun to see the chefs working away – the owner Jamie and myself have been HUGE cup of jo fans for years… i know she would be thrilled to meet you)

    good luck! x Libi

  42. amapola, good question! we looked in cobble hill and carroll gardens, but we have so many friends who love park slope and brooklyn heights and fort greene as well. hope that helps!!

  43. tovah, we LOVE jersey city!! we actually take the ferry over to a little playground there a few evenings a week. it’s the friendliest playground, and toby and anton love the ferry ride, too. i’d love to meet you there sometime!

  44. arielle, that is so good to hear! yes, we work in a shared office space in dumbo (studiomates)—hope to see you around one of these days!! i go to foragers pretty much every day for lunch, i’m addicted to the salad bar :)

  45. maggie, yes, totally. the makeover of our current place was more about upgrading to adult furniture, versus all our really old beat-up stuff from our early twenties/college years. we’ll just have to rearrange it in the new apt! i would love to ask you guys for thoughts on paint colors because the real-estate listing showed the apartment with white walls, but the current tenants painted them dark grey—which actually looks good! i’ll do a post on it, i think; i’d love to get advice about what colors we should pick (white, grey, something totally different:) thank you for your note!

  46. thank you SO much for these amazing comments!!!! they make me even more excited to move. thank you thank you thank you!!!

  47. thank you SO much for these amazing comments!!!! they make me even more excited to move. thank you thank you thank you!!!

  48. thank you SO much for these amazing comments!!!! they make me even more excited to move. thank you thank you thank you!!!

  49. Wow, way to roll with the unexpected. Welcome to the ‘hood! We live in Cobble Hill and look forward to seeing you around. I second everyone’s recommendations and would add:

    Borough Hall has a great Farmer’s Market (Tues, Thurs and Sat during the summer) The small doughnuts from Wicklow Farms are a fun treat and balance all the healthy greens you’ll buy there.

    Fish Tales on Court – fresh fish!

    Area Yoga on Court St to the list. Classes are $10 if you buy online in advance.

    Good luck with the move!

  50. Welcome to BK!! A few key restaurant recs – for your first date night: Colonie on Atlantic, you will love it, promise! And when parents come to visit – Jack the Horse in Brooklyn Heights.

  51. No longer living in New York but lived in Boerum Hill just next to Carroll Gardens. I miss it so much, best neighbourhood in NYC. So many good places to eat I can’t list them all. Moo burger and Blue Marble ice cream, both on Court St., would be big hits with kids! You have to go to Mile End deli-their cinnamon rolls are an amazing breakfast treat for the weekends. Oh and lard bread from Caputo’s bake shop is a must.

  52. I’ve always thought Brooklyn would suit you! Congrats, welcome to the hood (I guess technically i’m in a different hood, Williamsburg, but still… BK rocks.)

  53. Wow, good luck at your new place!

  54. Welcome! I live in Carroll Gardens! It’s a great neighborhood. You will absolutely love it.

    -Frankies 457 (*it’s plural Frankies, not possessive, because it was started by 2 Italian guys named Frankie!)
    -Buttermilk Channel
    -Smith Canteen
    -BookCourt bookstore
    -Court Street Grocers (!!)
    -I second Four and Twenty Blackbirds, which has the most poetic pies (with rosewater, etc.)
    -Ted & Honey (Cobble Hill Park is adorable)


  55. We live in nearby Park Slope with our 8 month old and we couldn’t be happier. I think it’s heaven – especially for parents of young kids. SO many playgrounds and farmer’s markets and so many great restaurants (Al Di La! Frankie’s!). Most of all, it’s very neighborhood-y – everyone we meet is so lovely. I think you’ll adore it!

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  57. Carroll Gardens is awesome! I don’t live there but whenever we go to Brooklyn, we stay there. Just the food alone will make the move worthwhile :)

  58. wow Jo I really love your blog I’ve been reading it for a year or two and it makes me miss NY so much! I’ve only been there for 1.5 month but I looove it there! Anyway hope to meet you someday and walk around NYC :) keep up the good work and good luck on the new place!!! kisses from Greece!