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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Department of Pathology

Life in Brooklyn

SUNY Downstate Medical Center, the only academic medical center in Brooklyn, is in the heart of the borough. The large variety of cultural, recreational and educational opportunities available in New York City are well known. Perhaps less well known are the extraordinary entertainment, recreational and cultural opportunities in Brooklyn.

Scroll through our Q&As to gain an understanding of why we love it so much here!


Where do the residents live?  

Many of our residents with families live in the neighborhoods of Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst.   Some of our single residents live near downtown Brooklyn in neighborhoods such as Boerum Hill and Cobble Hill; other single residents live in student housing on campus. Other residents live in Manhattan, Queens and New Jersey, as well as Long Island.


What do the residents do for fun?  

What don't we do? We are a diverse group of singles, married couples and young families, with a wide range of interests. Brooklyn has a lot to offer and we like to take advantage of the great food, bar scene and cultural opportunities.


What cultural activities are available in Brooklyn?  

The world renowned Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn Philharmonic and the second largest public art collection in the United States, housed in the Brooklyn Museum, which is next door to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Barge music and St. Ann's Warehouse are in the DUMBO arts district. For those who want Broadway musicals, cultural activities at Lincoln Center or the famous collection of museums on 5th avenue, Manhattan is just a short subway trip away

How do I get to work and navigate Brooklyn?


Most residents use public transportation. For more information about MTA trains (subway and commuter rail) and busses, visit the MTA website. A regional rail station (Long Island Railroad) is located at Atlantic Ave and Nostrand Ave for those commuting from Long Island. For those who drive in, residents must purchase parking passes from the parking office.

Do I need a car?

You do not necessarily need a car if you plan to live in the city. As another perk, SUNY Downstate residents can get a discount on ZipCars, which are available on campus.

How expensive is Brooklyn?

Surprisingly not too bad. The cost of living in Brooklyn is comparable to, or lower than, most major metropolitan areas, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Manhattan, Washington, DC, and Boston.

I like to eat. What about food?

If that's the case, you have picked an excellent city! Brooklyn has a diverse selection of dining options, ranging from Michelin starred restaurants to food trucks. Every neighborhood offers unique local flavors - ask your fellow residents about their favorites. For the chefs among you, high quality ingredients are available in every neighborhood. Check out weekend green markets around the borough.

I like to eat, but I also want to maintain my pre-residency fit body. What about gyms?

Our on-campus student center has athletic/exercise facilities, a large gym and a pool (for more information about the student center, click here). SUNY Downstate residents receive a discounted membership fee to the student recreational facilities. As an alternative, many of our residents belong to gyms in the city; in addition, fitness rooms are provided in some apartment buildings. If you want to be outside, Prospect Park, which is in the heart of Brooklyn has excellent walking, running, and biking trails. Also, there is an amazing boardwalk in Coney Island with carnival food and rides, if you want the ocean breeze.

What sports does Brooklyn offer?

Fans in Brooklyn love their sports, and we have it all – the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, the New York Yankees, NY Mets, NY Giants and the Islanders and Rangers. In addition, New York City hosts a marathon race for runners and a bike tour around all five boroughs each September.

I have a family. Is Brooklyn a good place to have kids?


Many of our residents  have families. Some live in the city, while others live in the surrounding suburbs. The SUNY Downstate Medical Center has child care services onsite; however, since the waitlist can be quite long, many families use alternate child care. A variety of public and private schools are available in the area. For more detailed information about the experiences of our young families, please contact some of our residents.

Beyond Brooklyn?

Let's not forget events like canoeing down the East River, and the city's excellent Fourth of July celebration. For activities outside of the city, the Poconos, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlantic City and the Jersey Shore are all incredibly close.

I have heard that Brooklyn is unsafe, especially the area surrounding SUNY Downstate. Is that true?

Statistics consistently report that New York is the safest large city in America. Although Brooklyn has a population of 2.5 million people (the largest borough in NYC) with associated crime, many of us feel quite comfortable walking around the neighborhood. East Flatbush has a vibrant Caribbean community and we invite you to take a look for yourself. We do provide regular shuttle service from the hospital to the local transportation hubs and parking lots for your convenience.