Anyone thinking of studying English in New York might be forgiven for thinking that Manhattan is the place to go. For sure it’s the iconic, pulsating heart of the city that never sleeps, and an absolute must on any Big Apple itinerary. As a place to study, however, there may well be somewhere that eclipses Manhattan, and that place is Brooklyn.
Sitting across the water from Manhattan, the magnificent Brooklyn Bridge connecting the two, Brooklyn is one of five boroughs of New York City. Vast in area and population, it is a city in itself and a very fashionable one at that. Those choosing to learn English in Brooklyn will find that it’s a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities and brimming with creative talent; it is the place to meet people, enjoy world-class music, pass the hours in a trendy bar or restaurant, wander down leafy, brownstone-lined streets or enjoy a lazy afternoon in a verdant park.
In fact you need never venture further afield as everything is here in Brooklyn; should you want to, however, you can be in central New York in minutes. Brooklyn is perfectly located just over the bridge from Manhattan and there are no less than nine subway lines on the steps of the school or within a few minutes’ walk – Manhattan being just one subway stop away. In this sense you get the best of both worlds – Manhattan just minutes away, whilst enjoying the friendly, neighbourhood feel of Brooklyn. It’s an authentic New York experience minus the stress of big city living and, uniquely, the chance to be part of a real New York community.
The diversity of Brooklyn’s neighborhoods
Even within the Brooklyn community you can enjoy the diversity of many different neighborhoods. The language school is located in Brooklyn Heights, New York City’s very first suburb and one that is characterised by charming townhouses, brownstones and authentic mansions. Just steps from the school is the famous Brooklyn promenade, a wonderful place to sit and watch the world go by, enjoying magnificent views of the Manhattan skyline across the East River and the Statue of Liberty over in New York Harbor. Bordering Brooklyn Heights just to the south is the historic, tree-lined Cobble Hill neighbourhood, home to the peaceful setting of Cobble Hill Park.
Other neighborhoods within the borough re-affirm Brooklyn’s emergence as a cutting-edge centre for arts, music and culture. Over 50 different arts organisations are located in Brooklyn alone. The famous Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) is located in Fort Greene, a prominent cultural destination that also boasts the Brooklyn Music School and various theater, dance and performing arts centers, among them Spike Lee’s very own film works company. Those wanting to join the hip young crowd of the city should head for Williamsburg, hugely popular for its many bars, restaurants, shops and cafés, as well as its open air summer concert venues. Williamsburg is a very ‘cool’ place to be right now, not just within Brooklyn but within New York as a whole; a steady stream of Manhattanites will cross the river to spend evenings and weekends enjoying the infectious buzz and social life of this hip neighborhood.
Finally, no mention can be made of Brooklyn without highlighting its beautiful centerpiece, Prospect Park, designed by the same people who built Manhattan’s Central Park. Home to a small zoo, Brooklyn’s only lake and excellent sports and leisure facilities, this is a great place to relax after class and meet friends. Flanking Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s highly desirable Park Slope neighborhood, awash with historic buildings boasting magnificent views of the park as well as first-class restaurants, world-class museums, cultural institutions, bars and shops.
Life as a student in Brooklyn
Despite Brooklyn’s size and variety of neighborhoods, a real sense of community prevails and, as a student in Brooklyn, you will still be accommodated close to the school – 30 minutes at most, meaning that you will spend less time travelling and more time meeting up with new friends and going out in the evenings. Those who choose to study in central Manhattan – or in the centre of any big city – may be faced with daily commutes of up to an hour, so staying just outside the centre can make a huge difference.
Whatever you want to do in Brooklyn, you will not be short of choice nor people with whom to practise your English – and you can do it all in the great city of New York without so much as having to step foot in Manhattan. Though of course you will – and should. You’ll just have the best of both worlds.
Why learn English in Brooklyn? At a glance…
- It is very close to Manhattan, with stunning views
- It boasts excellent transport links, including 9 subway stops right by the school
- It is the place to be for great culture, music, bars & restaurants, its many diverse neighborhoods reflecting this
- It exudes a friendly neighborhood feel, giving you the chance to be part of a real New York community
- Most accommodation is within 30 minutes of the school
- You can enjoy beautiful green, open spaces such as Prospect Park