hey indyfan – i had a great response all typed up for you and then my cmoputer did something and I lost it. So, I will try to re-type everything but will probably forget some details. I’ve lived in Brookland for almost a year now and I love it. Not sure if it matters, but I am a single, young female and I used to live in Adams Morgan/Kalorama on Columbia Road.
To answer your questions, I think this is a great neighborhood that a lot of people overlook because it’s not in NW, DC. It is definitely quiet – and it took me a long time to get used to that aspect. It feels like a well established, family oriented neighborhood that has a good mix of classes and races. I love the greenery in the area and I live very close to the Turkey Thicket Rec center where I can use the outdoor track, pool or tennis courts for free.
I have never felt unsafe or been concerned for my safety – even when coming home late. If anything, sometimes it has felt a little too quiet – and I do wonder if people would hear me or help if something were to happen. If I come home after midnight, I try to take the bus even though I’m only on it for 3 minutes because the quietness can be a little spooky. But I’ve also walked many times and I have felt perfectly fine.
In terms of grocery stores – there’s a YES Organic on 12 street (that is in easy walking distance depending on where you live) and there’s a CVS as well. Otherwise, you would need a car or to take the bus elsewhere. The YES store has everything but it’s expensive. If you’re willing to do it, you can stop at the NY Ave metro on the redline and go to the Harris Teeter to pick up stuff and then hop back on the train. Or you could bike there. There’s also a (very small but nice) Farmer’s Market every Tuesday from 5 -7pm I think.
Restaurants – sorry but this is one drawback for the area. There’s very few options and they are mainly on 12 street. There’s Brookland Cafe (tiny place but good food), San Antonio’s Mexican Bar and Grill (never been but I hear it’s decent), Silvestre Cafe (best rotiserrie chicken I’ve ever had) and your usual chinese/pizza/sub fast food places.
In terms of having a car – it would certainly make your life easier in terms of going grocery shopping, going out and the like but I dont think it’s a must. Taking the bus is a great option – several lines run through the neighborhood and by the metro station. There’s a bike share station on 12th street too if you’re willing to do that. I will say that relying on public transportation during the weekend can be hugely frustrating with all of the Metro single tracking/delay/station closed shenanigans. I tend to rely on the bus more for the weekends – getting a smartphone and downlaoding an app that gives best estimates of bus arrival times has been a life saver.
I love the neighborhood but it does have it’s negatives. For me all the positives – including paying less for a 2 bedroom apt now than what I paid when I lived in Adams Morgan make it well worth it. I would advise that you visit the area during the day time and during the night to get a good sense of the area.