I am a former New Yorker and I have to agree with you 100% Carroll Gardens would be my first choice as it has many many great restaurants and taverns galore as well. It has the best Italian Bread to at Mazzolla's on Henry and Union Streets with a Great Restaurant right across the street that makes a good pizza too Carroll Gardens is about the safest and most convenient of all places to Manhattan then just about any place in the area at a fraction of the City's price. As a matter of fact many people from Manhattan now frequent Carroll Gardens when dining out or looking for a good place to have a drink and watch the game !! You can't go wrong in Carrol Gardens Great People Great Food Great Area to live in too !!