NORK, NORK! The Curiousness of Ditmas Park

“There’s really nothing else like this in the city,” said broker Marie-Ange Augustin, pulling the curtain back to reveal white

“There’s really nothing else like this in the city,” said broker Marie-Ange Augustin, pulling the curtain back to reveal white picket fences, sprawling Victorian mansions and a tattooed hipster pushing a baby stroller.

Indeed, Ditmas Park, just across the park from Park Slope, feels more like an upstate suburb than a neighborhood off the Q-train. Particularly looking out from a spacious and airy one-bedroom apartment on the market for $259,000, it can seem ripped from a broker’s fantasy.

But Ms. Augustin said it can be difficult luring clients to the neighborhood with a reputation that ranges from rough to obscure. She’s sold to some French clients as well as to new arrivals from California, but “more people should come,” she said.

On Sunday, there were few buyers exploring the neighborhood, which in addition to the famed Victorian mansions features bright one- and two-bedroom apartments in sensible co-op buildings that are luring young families with sub-$300,000 prices.

Well, most of the time. A young couple with a stroller sped by on their way to the train. They’d just been to an open house, where the Victorian mansion was “burned out,” said the husband.

“Stuff was strewn everywhere,” his wife added. “We just turned around and left.”

At one time, Ditmas was “’sketchy,’ as they say,” says broker Jan Rosenberg, who moved to the neighborhood 25 years ago when crime was bad.  Then, she said, it turned into a NORK. A what? A “naturally occurring retirement community,” she explained.

But, today, Ditmas has become the place where 30-something hipsters go to dye their hair back to a normal color and have a couple of kids along the way.

The one-bedroom apartment for $265,000 that Ms. Rosenberg was showing, also at 415 Argyle Road, had a young couple and a single woman come by to look.

Ms. Rosenberg’s friend, Kristina “Stina” Hamlin, a young woman with loose curls, a flowing sundress, tattoos and a young toddler, who lives in the area, also came by. “It’s a pocket of bliss,” said Ms. Hamilton, who moved from Los Angeles and works as a real estate agent. She heard about the neighborhood through friends and is currently renting in the area. “There are lots of families,” she said.

At 2022 Beverly Road, there’s even a sleek, newly renovated pre-war building, brightly anticipating the changing neighborhood. But during Sunday’s open house, the broker was not around.

At an L-shaped studio at 1616 East 18th Street, painted in a pale shade of eggplant, Minta John said it had been quiet for a few months. “People are waiting longer to buy,” she said.

But Ms. John insisted they don’t know what they’re missing. “It doesn’t even feel like you’re in Brooklyn,” she said. 

NORK, NORK! The Curiousness of Ditmas Park