By Alison Fox
September 17, 2019
Aquarius/Alamy Stock Photo

New York is a city made up of neighborhoods, each with its own individual character that blend together to create a dynamic city unlike any other. But not all neighborhoods are created equal, and some stand out a little more than the rest.

Ditmas Park, which sits in the middle of Brooklyn and feels more like a quaint suburb that just happens to be in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city, is one of those neighborhoods. So it’s no surprise that it was named the best neighborhood in New York City in MONEY’s Best Places to Live in America list, published Monday.

Ditmas Park was originally settled as farmland and was only developed into a residential area in the early 20th century, according to The New York Times. It was connected to the city’s subway system in the 1920s — the Q train now runs through it — and designated a historic district in 1981, according to the Times.

Today, multicolored, grand Victorian homes line the quiet blocks, charming front lawns and greenery spilling out onto the street inviting you to take a stroll. And while the average commute time for residents of Ditmas Park is a whopping 51 minutes, according to the report, the lower home prices and innovative food options more than make up for it.

The average rent for an apartment in the neighborhood was $2,250 per month in June 2019, according to the report, which used data from the rental website StreetEasy. That is significantly less than the average rent in Manhattan — or $1,250 less to be exact. And it’s about $400 less than the average rent in Brooklyn as a whole.

Beyond the value for your money, Ditmas Park is full of cool places to hang out. Treat yourself to a plate of crispy pickled chanterelles with fried garlic mayo, basil lovage relish, peanut, and coriander or try a farm burger on an English muffin at longtime neighborhood staple The Farm on Adderley. Later, dig in to a warm bowl of Shakshuka — there are three kinds to choose from — during brunch at Mimi's Hummus.

To create the list, MONEY looked at nearly 160,000 different data points like economic health, cost of living, ethnic and economic diversity, and amenities. Cities with a population of 300,000 people or more — like New York City — were broken down into neighborhoods, according to MONEY.

While Ditmas Park came in at No. 11 on the list — nabbing the top spot for New York City — the best place to live in the country actually went to Clarksville, Tennessee. While the housing market is blowing up there, according to the report, it still remains very affordable with the average sale price for a home just under $156,000 in 2018.

You may not find prices that cheap in New York City, but as a lifelong New Yorker who happened to grow up running up and down the narrow staircases of the Ditmas Park mansions and watching the world go by from their expansive front porches, I think you would be hard pressed to find a more charming spot that also happens to be attached to one of the best cities in the world.

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