This sleepy little neighborhood has retained a sense of 19th century charm despite the modernization that has encroached upon it from all sides. The area was named for a 1798 battle of the Irish Rebellion; “Vinegar Hill” was an English translation of a Gaelic term meaning “hill of the wood of the berries.” Nestled in a quiet corner on the East River waterfront close to the Manhattan Bridge Anchorage, the entire neighborhood takes up roughly eight or nine blocks. The neighborhood’s technical boundaries are the Brooklyn Navy Yard to the east, the East River on the north, Nassau Street to the south and on the west, Bridge Street (where it shares a border with the adjacent community of Dumbo).
With its cobblestone streets and mix of Italianate townhouses, pre-Civil War row houses, and Federal Style and Greek Revival homes, Vinegar Hill is all that is left of an extensive Brownstone area that existed in these parts prior to the construction of the nearby Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. A smattering of warehouse spaces and factories dot the area, and though the community was once a bastion for industrial workers, artists and craftsman mainly inhabit it today; many occupy rented apartments above studio or workshop spaces. In recent years, towering condos and housing developments have popped up in the nearby Dumbo neighborhood, and several warehouses in Vinegar Hill proper have been converted into condos and loft spaces themselves. Despite this, Vinegar Hill still has a quaint unpretentiousness about it, making it feel practically untouched by time.Find Vinegar Hill apartments
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The neighborhood’s focal point is Hudson Avenue, where Vinegar Hill House attracts a serious foodie crowd from near and far with its creative, seasonal offerings. Beyond that, residents of the area generally venture to Dumbo for shopping and recreation, as the main drag in Vinegar Hill remains primarily residential. On the corner of Evans and Little streets lies Commandant’s House, an 1806 estate originally occupied by Commodore Matthew C. Perry. The Federal Style structure was declared a city and state landmark in the 1960s and remains occupied today (though not by a commandant).
Most residences in the neighborhood are no more than a ten-minute walk from the York Street subway station, the first stop into Brooklyn on the F line. The trip to Midtown takes 15 to 20 minutes.