Brooklyn & Prospect Park


(named after the Dutch town Breukelen) is one of the five boroughs of New York City. An independent city until its consolidation into New York in 1898, Brooklyn is New York City's most populous borough, with more than 2.5 million residents.If the borough was still considered an independent city, it would be the 4th largest city in the United States (while the remaining boroughs of New York would remain #1). Brooklyn is coterminous with Kings County, which is the most populous county in New York State, and the second most densely populated county in the United States (after New York County, which is the borough of Manhattan).

Though a part of New York City, Brooklyn maintains a character of its own, characterized by cultural diversity, an independent art scene, distinct neighborhoods, and a unique architectural heritage.


The Dutch were the first Europeans to settle the area on the western edge of Long Island, which was then largely inhabited by the Canarsie Native American tribe. The first Dutch settlement was Midwout (Midwood) which was established in 1634. The Dutch also purchased land in the 1630s from the Mohawks around present day Gowanus, Red Hook, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and Bushwick. The Village of Breuckelen was authorized by the Dutch West India Company in 1646 and became the first municipality in what is now New York State. At the time, Breuckelen was part of New Netherland.

The Dutch lost Breuckelen in the British conquest of New Netherland in 1664. In 1683, the British reorganized the Province of New York into 12 counties, each of which was sub-divided into towns. Over time, the name evolved from Breuckelen, to Brockland, to Brocklin, to Brookline, and eventually, Brooklyn (current name today). Kings County was one of the original 12 counties, and Brooklyn was one of the original six towns within Kings County. The county was named in honor of King Charles II of England.

In August and September 1776, the Battle of Long Island (occasionally now called, anachronistically, the "Battle of Brooklyn") was fought in Kings County. It was the first major battle in the American Revolutionary War following the Declaration of Independence, and the largest battle of the entire conflict. New York, and Brooklyn along with it, gained independence from the British with the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

The first half of the 19th century saw urban areas grow along the economically strategic East River waterfront, across from New York City. The county had two cities: the City of Brooklyn and the City of Williamsburgh. Brooklyn annexed Williamsburgh in 1854, which lost its final "h." It took until 1896 for Brooklyn to annex all other parts of Kings County.

The building of rail links such as the Brighton Beach Line in 1878 heralded explosive growth, and in the space of a decade the City of Brooklyn annexed the Town of New Lots in 1886, the Town of Flatbush, the Town of Gravesend, and the Town of New Utrecht in 1894, and the Town of Flatlands in 1896.

Brooklyn had reached its natural municipal boundaries at the ends of Kings County. In 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was completed, and transportation to Manhattan was no longer by water only. The question became whether Brooklyn was prepared to engage in the still-grander process of consolidation then developing throughout the region. In 1894, Brooklyn residents voted by a slight majority to join with Manhattan, The Bronx, Queens and Richmond (later Staten Island) as the five boroughs to form modern New York City, effective in 1898. Kings County retained its status as one of New York State's counties.


Brooklyn is sometimes referred to as the borough of neighborhoods for its many well-defined neighborhoods, many of which developed from distinct towns and villages that date back to its founding in the Dutch colonial era in the early 1600s.

Today, Downtown Brooklyn is the third-largest central business district in New York City, after Midtown Manhattan and Lower Manhattan. It has many commercial towers and a rapidly increasing number of residential buildings.

The northwestern neighborhoods between the Brooklyn Bridge and Prospect Park, including Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Clinton Hill, Vinegar Hill, DUMBO (an acronym for "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass"), Fort Greene, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, and Red Hook, are characterized by many nineteenth century brick townhouses and brownstones. These neighborhoods include some of the most gentrified and affluent neighborhoods in Brooklyn, along with ample subway lines, cultural institutions, and high-end restaurants.

Farther North along the East River lie Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Traditionally working class communities with a vibrant cultural mix, many artists and hipsters have moved into the area since the late 1990s. Further changing the area, the city completed an extensive rezoning of the Brooklyn waterfront in 2005 which will allow for many new residential condominiums. Williamsburg, like Boro Park, is home to a very large Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. As prices have risen, redevelopment has moved eastward away from the waterfront into Bushwick along the L subway line. This is more than likely due to the Hipster (contemporary subculture) exodus along the L subway line.

Neighborhoods such as Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, East New York, and several parts of Bushwick in North Central and North East Brooklyn have some of if not the highest crime rates in New York City. Operation Impact (an operation to flood high crime neighborhoods with police officers to prevent or deter crime) will be sending 1/3 of their new recruits to the northern section alone. (There are 8 Task forces in New York City, and a third of the officers allocated to North Brooklyn alone).

Central and southern Brooklyn contains many more architecturally and culturally distinct neighborhoods, some of which grew rapidly in the late 19th and early 20th century as upwardly-mobile immigrants moved out of tenement buildings in Manhattan neighborhoods like the Lower East Side. Borough Park is largely Ultra-Orthodox Jewish; Bedford-Stuyvesant is the largest black neighborhood in the country; Bensonhurst is an Italian American neighborhood, as is neighboring Dyker Heights and many other neighborhoods in Brooklyn. However, there are also many Chinese and Russian families residing in Bensonhurst. East Flatbush and Fort Greene are home to a large number of middle-class black professionals. Brighton Beach is home to many Russian -Americans. Since 1990, Brooklyn has seen a rise in new immigration to neighborhoods like Sunset Park, home to flourishing Mexican and Chinese American communities.

Prospect Park

Prospect Park is a 585 acre (2.4 km?) public park in the New York City borough of Brooklyn located between Park Slope, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Kensington, Windsor Terrace and Flatbush Avenue, Grand Army Plaza and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and seven blocks northeast of Green-Wood Cemetery. It is run and operated by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, and is part of the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway.

The park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux after they completed Manhattan's Central Park. Attractions include the Long Meadow, a 90 acre (36 ha) meadow thought to be the largest meadow in any U.S. park; the Picnic House which houses offices and a hall that can accommodate parties with up to 175 guests; Litchfield Villa, the historic home of the previous owners of the southern part of Park; Prospect Park Zoo; a large nature conservancy; the only urban Audubon Center & a Visitor Center (at the Boathouse); Brooklyn's only lake, covering 60 acres (24 ha); the Prospect Park Bandshell that hosts free outdoor concerts in the summertime; and various sports and fitness activities including seven baseball fields. There is also a private Quaker cemetery on the grounds of the Park in an area known as Quaker Hill. (Actor Montgomery Clift is interred there.)


Approximately 17,000 years ago, the terminal moraine of the receding Wisconsin Glacier that formed Long Island established a string of hills and kettles in the northern part of the park and a lower lying outwash plain in the southern part. Mount Prospect, or Prospect Hill, near the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Eastern Parkway, rises 163 feet (49.7 m) above sea level and is the highest among a string of hills that extends into the park, including Sullivan, Breeze, and Lookout hills. The area was originally forested, but became open pasture after two centuries of European colonization. Significant stands of trees remained only in the peat bogs centered south of Ninth Street and Flatbush Avenues, and in a large bog north of Ninth Avenue and contained chestnut, white poplar, and oak.Some of these stands were preserved in the Park's Ravine and have been popularized as 'The Last Forest of Brooklyn.

During the American Revolution the Park was the site of the Battle of Long Island. American forces attempted to hold Battle Pass, an opening in the terminal moraine where the old Flatbush Road passed from Brooklyn to Flatbush. It fell after some of the heaviest fighting in the engagement, and its loss contributed to George Washington's decision to retreat. The City of Brooklyn built a reservoir on Prospect Hill in 1856. Preserving the Battle Pass area and keeping the lots around the reservoir free of buildings were two reasons for establishing a large park in the are

Source: Wikipedia