From Bed-Stuy to NYU Law Building if you're close to any train it should not take you more than half hour... Bed-Stuy is one of those neighborhoods that is becoming a little nicer than it was a few years ago(it use to be and still kinda is a war zone out there)
This is what intimidates me about looking in Brooklyn--the obviously good neighborhoods are $, and I feel like you have to have a good feel of the neighborhood down to level of several blocks if you're looking in Bed-Stuy/E. Williamsburg. Thoughts from Brooklynites? I live in NJ (hour commute to NYU), but I obviously want to be closer for school, and Brooklyn is a top option.
I would recommend the Kensington neighborhood extremely highly. I believe it is the Brooklyn neighborhood with the best combination of affordability and safety. It is a little
farther out than most of the cool neighborhoods - from the Church Avenue station to 4th St (NYU) would take about 30-35 minutes on the F line or 25-30 if you transfer to the A/C at Jay St. However, the prices are worth it. It's definitely not a hip and exciting neighborhood, but there is a 24-hour grocery store with a lot of options, and lots of random fun 99 cent stores. Moreover, it is like a diversity mecca, with tons of nationalities living in the area, and everything from a polish butcher to a great taquieria right nearby. I have never felt unsafe (more than to stay aware of my surroundings), even walking home alone after 2 in the morning. It's a stone's throw from Prospect Park, where you can go running or walking or just chill at the lake. And my boyfriend and I pay $1175 for a 1.5 bedroom apartment with lots of space, in good shape and with a responsive management company. (Most of these characteristics would also be true of the abutting Windsor Terrace neighborhood.)
There's also Ditmas Park, which is right next to Kensington, a little farther out from the city. Most of the old mansions over there are still full houses, but a few are converted to apts and would be great places to rent - not crazy expensive. Cortelyou Road has a lot of nice restaurants - everything from Tibetan to a hummus place to a really nice "foodie" place with reasonable prices and awesome little dishes. There's something of a community vibe to the neighborhood - the businesses go out of their way to build one, I think. From there you'd be taking the Q or B, and I think you might have to transfer to get to NYU, not sure how long it would take. You also might want to be careful around that neighborhood at night if you're closer to Flatbush than Coney Island - I'm not sure because I'm not there super late a lot.
I looove to write about my South Brooklyn neighborhoods! Wish I were going to get into NYU so I could stay out there... sigh.
Edit: Whoops, sorry, I didn't read about your wanting to be on the L. Well, these are still worth considering