By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Many of the London Planes trees lining the quiet streets in Sheepshead Bay are now wrapped in big yellow ribbons, some reading, "Support our troops!" The neighborhoods conservatism is borne out by its atmosphere: it is sprawling, sleepy, and suburban. "Its very Russian," says Jeff Edelman of Express Realty (1805 Gravesend Neck Road, 718-743-8300), himself from Minsk. Down the boulevards past Avenues X,Y and Z, one arrives at Emmons Avenue which lines the bay itself. Though the area has shades of nearby Coney Island, the feeling here is decidedly different. During the day, bathers cross a wooden footbridge that spans the canal and make their way to the wealthier Manhattan Beach. According to Marcus, who says he has been fishing off a boat in Sheepshead Bay for 28 years, in the early hours of the morning, when he returns to port, the area is "full of people coming out of clubs" and eager couples seeking privacy in the dark by the piers.
Boundaries: Avenue U to the north, Knapp Street to the east, Emmons Avenue to the south, and Ocean Parkway in the west.
Transportation: Take the Q train to Avenue U, Gravesend Neck Road, or Sheepshead Bay. Forty minutes to midtown on the local at rush hour. From within Brooklyn, you can also take the B4 (Bay Ridge Parklway/Neptune Avenue) or B44 (Nostrand Avenue) buses.
Main Drags: Emmons Avenue runs the length of the bay and has many yacht clubs, seafood restaurants, and retirement homes. Carnival barkers along the sidewalk will solicit you to go fishing on their boats. Jerome Avenue and Sheepshead Bay Road are dotted with shops.
Average Price to Rent: One-bedrooms: $850 to $1000; two-bedrooms: $1100 to $1300; three-bedrooms: $1500 to $2000.
Average Price to Buy: There is a lot of new construction, says Edelman. One-bedroom condos range in price from $125,000 to $235,000; two-bedrooms: $175,000 to $300,000; three-bedrooms: $185,000 to $420,000. Co-ops range in price, from $300 to $325 per square foot. One-bedrooms go for between $100,000 and $170,000; two-bedrooms: $140,000 to $200,000; three-bedrooms: $200,000 and higher.
Green Space: The Bill Brown Memorial Playground (East 24th Street between Avenues X and Y) has swings, a blacktop baseball diamond, and basketball and handball courts. A bike path runs along Emmons Avenue and leads to the grassy park areas around Floyd Bennett Field, an airport, long out of use, where you can bike down now-bucolic runways.
Local Landmarks: The Holocaust Memorial Park (Emmons Avenue and Shore Boulevard) runs between Sheepshead Bay and the wealthier Manhattan Beach. At the center of a colonnade of trees there is a monument topped with a bronze torch. The structure bears the names of the countries invaded by the Nazis and describes the genocide. To either side, there are stones with names, places, and events engraved in them.
Best Restaurants: A landmark itself, Lundy Brothers (1901 Emmons Avenue, 718-743-0022) seats about 1,000 and is always crowded. They offer one-, two-, and three-tiered oyster platters ($25, $40, and $90), and specialties include "brick oven baked, stuffed sole" ($20) and Brooklyn-cut porterhouse steak for two ($53). The staff and clientele at XO Crêperie (2027 Emmons Avenue, 718-368-4477) are decidedly more Russian. They serve veal stew, roast beef with mushrooms, and other meats in crêpes as well as sturgeon ($18), branzini sea bass ($25), and smoked halibut ($25).
Best Bars/Clubs: The interior of the recently opened Café Tabu Lounge (2205 Avenue X, 718-934-5475) is colored with copper and zinc and looks drawing by Alphonse Mucha. "Its Russian and Eastern," says owner André. The Anyway Café (1602 Gravesend Neck Road, 718-934-5988, anywaycafe.com) has live music every evening at nine.
Politicians: Councilman Michael Nelson, Assemblymembers Helene Weinstein and Steven Cymbrowitz, all Democrats. State Senators Carl Kruger (Democrat) and Martin Golden (Republican). Congressman Anthony Weiner (Democrat).
Crime Stats: The 61st Precinct serves Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend, Kings Highway, Homecrest, Madison, Manhattan Beach, and Gerritsen Beach. As of June, it reported one murder, up one from last year; no rapes, same; four robberies, down three; seven felonious assaults, up two; and seven burglaries, down one.