Greenpoint and Bay Ridge suck transportation wise. Astoria, in my opinion, is overrated. Jackson Heights? Only if you're of certain ethnic groups and want to feel like you're back in the mother country at certain times. Prospect Heights. BING. I am amazed at how much Brooklyn has changed over the years. You get off the train in Prospect Heights and it is all young people, tons of bars and shops and restaurants there or in prospect park. And it's dirt cheap...or it is when I compare it to how much I spend on housing. Plus it's safe and actually feels like a "neighborhood". I would tell the OP to look at prospect heights, prospect park, brooklyn heights, fort green, carrol gardens (yes I know the heights and the gardens are more expensive). +1. Also check out Crown Heights. A bit cheaper than Prospect Heights, IME, but a bit less of a scene, if you're looking for that.