I lived in Hackney from september 1996 for ten months, right on the main street. I shared a two bedroom flat (well, maisonette) with a work colleague.
The coolest part was its location: above a 24-hour bagel shop, and slap-bang next to the Hackney Empire theatre, a leading comedy venue. There I saw such notables as Douglas Adams, Will Self, and Mark Lamarr and met Frank Skinner
However, it wasn't that close to useful things like things like supermarkets and tube stations.
The flat itself was basic, but well maintained, and acceptably furnished. This may have been due in no small part to the previous tenants being the landlord's daughter and her fiance.