Wow! The secret is out!
Poster from Manhattan - I dare you to walk down East 4th street between Caton and Beverly Road. I doubt you'll think it's ugly. It's also just a 5-10 minute walk to Prospect Park.
Kensington has many advantages:
NO RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE RENOVATIONS! Most of Ditmas Park is landmarked. Not Kensington. It means that you don't have to deal with the expense and hassle doing landmark-quality upgrades and renovations. That said, people still have taste and don't turn their homes into Fedders extravaganzas.
HELP WITH THE MORTGAGE
There are also many 2 and 3 family homes available. That means that if you're a modest person looking for an investment, you can find a nice house with a yard and a basement, AND have people help you pay your mortgage. Ditmas Park has few multi-family homes. Also, homes are cheap enough that the rental income will actually make a dent in your mortgage.
Most homes are detached. I had no idea how much natural light the 5 feet between me and my neighbor's house would allow. It's made me realize that living in a brownstone is like living in a dungeon.
Check out www.insideschools.org and you'll find great reviews for PS 130 and 230.
13 minutes to Wall Street if you take the express bus from Church and Ocean Parkway. 30 or so minutes to midtown. Take that Park Slope, Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill!
So what if we don't have any yuppified restaurants. Besides, I've learned to cook many authentic international dishes since moving here - Bangladeshi biryani, tacos with cecina (salted Mexican beef), russian stuffed cabbage, etc.
Kensington is what America should be all about - taking advantage of the unique ability to live side-by-side with people from all over the world. Have you ever been to freaking Europe? It's the most xenophobic, homogenous place...reminds me of Manhattan.
And regardless of what the haters say - THERE IS STUFF TO DO!
Try going to Prospect Park, riding horses, using the bike path to travel to Coney Island, playing tennis at the Prospect Park Tennis Center, hanging out on Cortelyou Road just over the border in Ditmas Park, bargain hunting at the various $2 stores where you can pick up samples and overstock from Banana Republic, Sigrid Olsen, Levi's, etc.,
Oh - and NYC Icy, formerly of the East Village, just opened up just off of Coney Island Avenue. Try their mexican chocolate! Yummy!
Unlike Ditmas Park, this is a neighborhood in which people don't hire gardeners, so you'll probably end up spending a lot of free time chatting with your neighbors as you weed your lawn or plant flowers. There's a real sense of community. And, unlike Ditmas Park, people actually use their porches!
The only thing lacking is a coffee shop. And it would be great if the coffee shop catered to ALL of the residents by serving various teas - masala chai, russian teas, polish teas, cafe con leche, mexican hot chocolate, whatever the Israelis drink, and good-old-fashioned yuppie-caliber coffee.
To people considering moving here - please don't...unless you value the diversity of our community and are willing to work to preserve it. Please don't come here begging for a Blue Ribbon outlet or a Starbucks. I'll have to kick your ass.