Brooklyn

Brooklyn seems to me the closest thing in America to Europe. The neighbors and locals are beautiful people... it’s like a village.” -Heath Ledger, Actor

Overview

The Manhattan Bridge & Dumbo Neighborhood

Brooklyn is the largest of the 5 boroughs of New York City, covering over 71 square miles (81.8 square miles including outlying parkland). It is also the most populous, with the latest census numbering over 2 million 475 thousand residents. If Brooklyn were an independent city, it would be the 4th largest in the United States. Brooklyn has over 3,800 acres of parkland in major parks (over 10 acres each), and over 65 miles of coastline, including 7 miles of sandy beaches. Getting around Brooklyn is easy, thanks to 67 bus lines, 15 subway lines, several ferry routes, and over 1600 miles of roadways.

Countless notable residents and natives exist, many of whom attribute Brooklyn’s unique environment to their success in some way, shape, or form. Some notable natives include Woody Allen, Michael Jordan, Neil Diamond, Jimmy Fallon, Jackie Gleason, Alyssa Milano, and many more.

Many classic films and novels have also been set in Brooklyn: Sophie’s Choice was set in Flatbush, Saturday Night Fever was set in Bay Ridge, Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was set in Williamsburg, and Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge is set here. Brooklyn is a well of cultural and artistic diversity that attracts people from all over the world. We encourage you to contact one of our neighborhood experts to learn more about any of the neighborhoods listed on the right to hear of their nuances and charm.

Firsts

The Battle of Brooklyn in 1776 was the first military conflict in the Revolutionary War following the Declaration of Independence. Shortly after the war, the first U.S. Census was taken in Kings County (the results were: 3,017 white residents and 1,478 residents of African descent, making a total population of 4,495). Another important historical landmark belongs to the Town of Gravesend, for having the first town charter in the New World issued to a woman (founder Lady Deborah Moody). See more interesting “firsts” below.

  • ›› Brooklyn was the first municipality in what is now New York. Settled by the Dutch in 1624 and originally dubbed “Breukelen”, it was officially recognized by the Dutch government in 1646.
  • ›› The first iron-sided Civil War vessel, the Monitor, was built in a shipyard in Greenpoint.
  • ›› The Brooklyn Children’s Museum was the first museum in the world dedicated to serving the interest of children. It opened in 1899 and has collections from all over the world. It remains a global attraction.
  • ›› The nation’s first urban Audubon Center is located in Prospect Park.
  • ›› New York City’s first municipal airport, Floyd Bennett Field, is located in Brooklyn. Now part of the National Park System, famous aviators such as Amelia Earhart and Howard Hughes set records from this airport. The transcontinental air speed flying record was also broken here in 1957, when John Glenn flew from California to New York in just under 3.5 hours.
  • ›› Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play Major League Baseball, played for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Many other great baseball firsts, all of which have shaped today’s game, happened right here as well.

Architecture

Famous Brownstones Lining Brooklyn’s Streets

The Brooklyn Bridge At Night

Brooklyn is awash with various styles of architecture. Perhaps Brooklyn’s most famous piece of architecture, the Brooklyn Bridge was designed by initially designed by John Roebling. After suffering a foot injury that ultimately led to death as a result of tetanus, his son, Washington Roebling, completed the design og the project. Construction began in 1870 and was finished in 1883. It remains the United States’ oldest suspension bridge.

In the form of housing, nothing exemplifies Brooklyn like the classic brownstone. Named for the building material, Brownstones face many of Brooklyn’s tree-lined picturesque blocks. Lucy Ricardo from I Love Lucy, The entire Cosby family, and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s all lived in Brownstones. Because of the varying color added into some brownstone dwellings, they are sometimes also referred to as “Graystones”.

Below are list of architectural styles that can be found all throughout Brooklyn. With some buildings well over 300 years old, feel free to stroll through the streets and enjoy the standing testaments to Brooklyn’s rich and diverse history!

Some styles of architecture to be found in Brooklyn:

  • - Venetian Gothic
  • - Beaux-Arts
  • - Romanesque Revival
  • - Art Deco
  • - Second Empire Baroque
  • - Neoclassical
  • - much, MUCH more!

Further Reading

­