Harvey Theater

Brooklyn

[brook-lin]

Brooklyn (named after the Dutch town Breukelen) is one of the five boroughs of New York City. Located on western Long Island and an independent distinct city until its consolidation into New York in 1898, Brooklyn is New York City's most populous borough, with 2.5 million residents. If the borough were still an independent city, it would be the fourth-largest city in the United States. 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 distinct culture, independent art scene, and unique architectural heritage. Many Brooklyn neighborhoods are ethnic enclaves where a particular ethnic group and culture predominate.

History of Brooklyn

The Dutch were the first Europeans to settle the area on the western edge of Long Island, which was then largely inhabited by the Native American people, the Lenape (often erroneously referred to by the place-name of "Canarsee" in contemporary colonial documents). 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, named for Breukelen in the Netherlands, 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. 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 (also called 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. While General George Washington's defeat on the battlefield cast early doubts on his abilities, keeping the Continental Army intact with a brilliant overnight tactical retreat across the East River is seen by historians as one of his greatest triumphs. The Continental Army withdrew from New York City across the East River at the southern tip of Manhattan. Shortly afterward, and for the remainder of the conflict, it became the British political and military base of operations in North America. This encouraged the departure of Patriots and their sympathizers while attracting loyalist refugees fleeing the other colonies - swelling the population of the surrounding area, including Brooklyn. Correspondingly the region became the focus of General Washington's intelligence activities (see Intelligence in the American Revolutionary War). The British also began to hold Patriot prisoners of war in rotting hulks anchored in Wallabout Bay off the Brooklyn shore. More American prisoners died in these prison-ships than the sum of all the American battle casualties of the Revolutionary War.

The first half of the 19th century saw urban areas grow along the economically strategic East River waterfront, across from New York City. Brooklyn's population expanded more than threefold between 1800 and 1820, and doubled again in the 1820s and in the 1830s. The county had two cities: the City of Brooklyn and the City of Williamsburgh. Brooklyn annexed Williamsburgh in 1854, which lost its final "h." With the addition of these two new areas, Brooklyn went from being a substantial sized community of 36,236 to an imposing 96,838. 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. Brooklyn now prepared to engage in the still-grander consolidation process 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.

Geography

Brooklyn is located on the westernmost point of Long Island and shares its only land boundary with Queens to the northeast. The westernmost section of this boundary is defined by Newtown Creek, which flows into the East River.

Brooklyn's waterfront faces different bodies of water. Northern Brooklyn's coast is defined by the East River, while middle Brooklyn adjoins Upper New York Bay. This area of the waterfront features the Red Hook peninsula and the Erie Basin. Buttermilk Channel separates this part of the waterfront from Governors Island. Southwest is Gowanus Bay, connected to the Gowanus Canal. At its south westernmost section, Brooklyn is separated from Staten Island by the Narrows, where Upper and Lower New York Bay meet.

Brooklyn's southern coast includes the barrier island on which stretch Coney Island, Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach and Sheepshead Bay. The southeastern coast lies on island-dotted Jamaica Bay.

The highest point in Brooklyn is the area around Prospect Park and Green-Wood Cemetery, rising approximately 200 feet (60 m) above sea level. There is also a minor elevation in Downtown Brooklyn known as Brooklyn Heights.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the County has a total area of 251.0 km² (96.9 sq mi). 182.9 km² (70.6 sq mi) of it is land and 68.1 km² (26.3 sq mi) of it is water. 27.13% of the total area is water.

Neighborhoods

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.

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 is known as a West Indian community and Fort Greene is 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. Nearby neighborhood Bay Ridge also has a very large Middle-Eastern community.

Adjacent counties

National protected area

Government

Since consolidation with New York City in 1898, Brooklyn has been governed by the New York City Charter that provides for a "strong" mayor-council system. The centralized New York City government is responsible for public education, correctional institutions, libraries, public safety, recreational facilities, sanitation, water supply, and welfare services.

The office of Borough President was created in the consolidation of 1898 to balance centralization with local authority. Each borough president had a powerful administrative role derived from having a vote on the New York City Board of Estimate, which was responsible for creating and approving the city's budget and proposals for land use. In 1989, the Supreme Court of the United States declared the Board of Estimate unconstitutional on the grounds that Brooklyn, the most populous borough, had no greater effective representation on the Board than Staten Island, the least populous borough, a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause pursuant to the high court's 1964 "one man, one vote" decision.

Since 1990 the Borough President has acted as an advocate for the borough at the mayoral agencies, the City Council, the New York state government, and corporations. Brooklyn's Borough President is Marty Markowitz, elected as a Democrat in 2001 and re-elected in 2005.

Presidential election results
Year Republican Democrat
2004 24.3% 167,149 74.9% 514,973
2000 15.7% 96,605 80.6% 497,468
1996 15.1% 81,406 80.1% 432,232
1992 22.9% 133,344 70.7% 411,183
1988 32.6% 230,064 66.3% 368,518
1984 38.3% 285,477 61.3% 328,379
1980 38.4% 200,306 55.4% 288,893
1976 31.1% 190,728 68.3% 419,382
1972 49.0% 373,903 50.8% 387,768
1968 32.0% 247,936 63.1% 489,174
1964 25.0% 229,291 74.8% 684,839
1960 33.5% 327,497 66.2% 646,582
1956 45.2% 460,456 54.7% 557,655
The Democratic Party holds the majority of public offices. 69.7% of registered voters in Brooklyn are Democrats. Party platforms center on affordable housing, education and economic development. The most controversial political issue is over the proposed Brooklyn Nets Arena, a large development project. Pockets of Republican influence exist in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights.

Each of the city's five counties (coterminous with each borough) has its own criminal court system and District Attorney, the chief public prosecutor who is directly elected by popular vote. Charles J. Hynes, a Democrat, has been the District Attorney of Kings County since 1989. Brooklyn has 16 City Council members, the largest number of any of the five boroughs. Brooklyn has 18 of the city's 59 community districts, each served by an unpaid Community Board with advisory powers under the city's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. Each board has a paid district manager who acts as an interlocutor with city agencies. .

Brooklyn has not voted for a Republican in a national presidential election in the last 50 years. In the 2004 presidential election Democrat John Kerry received 74.9% of the vote in Brooklyn and Republican George W. Bush received 24.3%.

Brooklyn is split between six congressional districts, two of which are entirely within the borough.

Brooklyn's official motto is Een Draght Mackt Maght. Written in the (old) Dutch language, it is inspired by the motto of the United Dutch Provinces and translated as In Unity There is Strength. The motto is displayed on the borough seal and flag, which also feature a young robed woman bearing fasces, a traditional emblem of republicanism. Brooklyn's official colors are blue and gold.

Party affiliation of Brooklyn registered voters
Party 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996
Democratic 69.7 69.2 70.0 70.1 70.6 70.3 70.7 70.8 70.8 71.0
Republican 10.1 10.1 10.1 10.1 10.2 10.5 10.9 11.1 11.3 11.5
No affiliation 16.5 16.9 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.5 15.9 15.5 15.4 15.2
Other 3.7 3.9 3.8 3.6 2.9 2.8 2.5 2.8 2.3 2.3

Economy

Brooklyn's job market is driven by three main factors: the performance of the national/city economy, population flows and the borough's position as a convenient back office for New York's businesses.

Forty-four percent of Brooklyn's employed population, or 410,000 people, work in the borough; more than half of the borough's residents work outside its boundaries. As a result, economic conditions in Manhattan are important to the borough's jobseekers. Strong international immigration to Brooklyn generates jobs in services, retailing and construction.

In recent years Brooklyn has benefited from a steady influx of financial back office operations from Manhattan, the rapid growth of a high-tech/entertainment economy in DUMBO, and strong growth in support services such as accounting, personal supply agencies and computer services firms.New York State Dept of Labor

Demographics

Brooklyn Compared
2000 Census Brooklyn NY City NY State
Total population 2,465,326 8,008,278 18,976,457
Population density 34,920/sq mi 26,403/sq mi 402/sq mi
Median household income (1999) $32,135 $38,293 $43,393
Per capita income $16,775 $22,402 $23,389
Bachelor's degree or higher 22% 27% 24%
Foreign born 38% 36% 20%
White 41% 45% 67%
Black 36% 27% 16%
Hispanic (any race) 20% 27% 15%
Asian 8% 10% 6%

In the 2000 Census, the following percentages of Brooklyn residents self-reported these European ancestries:

  • Italian: 7.5%
  • Russian: 3.8%
  • Irish: 3.3%
  • Polish: 2.9%
  • German: 1.6%
  • Ukrainian: 1.5%

According to 2005 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, there are 2,486,235 people (up from 2.3 million in 1990), 880,727 households, and 583,922 families residing in Brooklyn. The population density was 34,920/square mile (13,480/km²). There were 930,866 housing units at an average density of 13,180/square mile (5,090/km²).

In 2000, 41.20% of Brooklyn residents were white; 36.44% were black; 7.54% were Asian; 0.41% were Native American; 0.06% Pacific Islander; 10.05% were of other races; and 4.27% were from two or more races. People of Hispanic or Latino origin, who may be of any race, comprised 19.79% of the population. 18.00% of the population reported speaking Spanish at home, 5.95% Russian, 4.19% French or a French-based creole, 3.92% Chinese, 3.10% Yiddish, 2.10% Italian, 1.42% Polish, 1.13% Hebrew, 1.09% Punjabi and 0.68% Urdu.

Of the 880,727 households in Brooklyn, 38.6% were married couples living together, 22.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.7% were non-families. 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living in them. Of all households 27.8% are made up of individuals and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75 and the average family size was 3.41.

In Brooklyn the population was spread out with 26.9% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. Brooklyn has more women, with 88.4 males for every 100 females.

The median income for households in Brooklyn was $32,135, and the median income for a family was $36,188. Males had a median income of $34,317, which was higher than females, whose median income was $30,516. The per capita income was $16,775. About 22% of families and 25.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34% of those under age 18 and 21.5% of those age 65 or over.

Brooklyn has long been a magnet for immigrants, and has become New York City's most populous borough. It has often been regarded as the borough where each ethnic group contains their own neighborhood cultural identity. In other words each neighborhood is dominated by a single ethnic group where they are able to maintain their dominant culture there. However with gentrification on the rise, many of Brooklyn's neighborhoods are now becoming increasingly diverse with an influx of immigrants integrating its neighborhoods. It presently has substantial populations from many countries, including Poland, Italy, China, Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad, Guyana, Grenada, Barbados, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Russia. The borough also attracts people previously residing in the United States. Of these, most come from Chicago, San Francisco, Washington DC/Baltimore, Boston, and Seattle.

Crime

From the 1970s to the 1990s, parts of Brooklyn were considered among the most dangerous urban areas in the United States. Crime rates in most of the borough have since dropped significantly but parts, such as Brownsville and East New York, are still dangerous.

Culture

Brooklyn has played a major role in American letters. Walt Whitman wrote of the Brooklyn waterfront in his classic poem Crossing Brooklyn Ferry. Harlem Renaissance playwright Eulalie Spence taught at Eastern District High School in Brooklyn from 1927-1938, a time during which she wrote her critically acclaimed plays Fool's Errand, and Her. In 1930, poet Hart Crane published the epic poem The Bridge, where the Brooklyn Bridge is both the poem’s central symbol and its poetic starting point. Betty Smith's 1943 book A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and the 1945 film based on it, are among the best-known early works about life in Brooklyn. William Styron's novel Sophie's Choice is set in Flatbush, just off Prospect Park, during the summer of 1947. Arthur Miller's 1955 play A View From the Bridge is set in Brooklyn. Paule Marshall's 1959 novel, Brown Girl, Brownstones, about Barbadian immigrants during the Depression and World War II is also set in Flatbush Brooklyn. More recently, Brooklyn-born author Jonathan Lethem has written several books about growing up in the borough, including Motherless Brooklyn and The Fortress of Solitude. The neighborhood of Park Slope is home to many contemporary writers, including Jonathan Safran Foer, Jhumpa Lahiri, Jonathan Franzen, Rick Moody, Jennifer Egan, Kathryn Harrison, Paul Auster, Franco Ambriz, Nicole Krauss, Colson Whitehead, Darin Strauss, Siri Hustvedt and Suketu Mehta, among others. The Discovery Kids show Time Warp Trio is also set in Brooklyn.

The borough has had a part in theater and film as well. Lynn Nottage's play Crumbs from the Table of Joy is set in post-World War II Brooklyn and deals with the hopes and frustrations of an African American family recently arrived from Florida. The John Travolta movie Saturday Night Fever was set in Bay Ridge, an Italian neighborhood in south Brooklyn. Neil Simon's 1983 play "Brighton Beach Memoirs" is set in 1937 Brooklyn. In the late 1980s Brooklyn achieved a new cultural prominence with the films of Spike Lee, whose She's Gotta Have It and Do The Right Thing were shot in Brooklyn neighborhoods. In 2001/02, the German filmmaker Christoph Weinert shot a documentary With Allah in Brooklyn . The 2005 film The Squid and the Whale, by Noah Baumbach, the son of novelist Jonathan Baumbach and Village Voice film critic Georgia Brown, examined the family life of the Park Slope intelligentsia.

The Brooklyn Museum, opened in 1897, is among the world's premier art institutions with a permanent collection that includes more than 1.5 million objects, from ancient Egyptian masterpieces to contemporary art. It is the nation's second largest public art museum. The Brooklyn Children's Museum, the world's first museum dedicated to children, opened in December 1899. The only such New York State institution accredited by the American Association of Museums, it is one of the few globally to have a permanent collection - 30,000+ cultural objects and natural history specimens. The museum's latest expansion, a Rafael Vinoly-designed, high performance green structure, opens in September 2008. The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), a complex including the 2,109-seat Howard Gilman Opera House, the 874-seat Harvey Lichtenstein Theater, and the art house BAM Rose Cinemas are notable venues. BAM is recognized internationally as a progressive cultural center well known for The Next Wave Festival, which began in 1983. Artists who have presented their works there include Philip Glass, Peter Brook, Laurie Anderson, Lee Breuer, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Steve Reich, Robert Wilson, Ingmar Bergman, The Whirling Dervishes and the Kirov Opera directed and conducted by Valery Gergiev among others. Bargemusic and St. Ann's Warehouse, two other venerated performance venues, are on the other side of Downtown Brooklyn in the DUMBO arts district. Founded in 1863, the Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) is a museum, library, and educational center dedicated to preserving and encouraging the study of Brooklyn's rich 400-year past, while reflecting upon the future of the culturally rich borough. BHS houses a treasure trove of materials relating to the founding of the U.S. and the history of Brooklyn and its people. The BRIC Rotunda Gallery, founded in 1981, is the oldest not-for-profit gallery dedicated to presenting contemporary art work by artists who are from, live, or work in the borough. The Gallery, located in Brooklyn Heights, presents contemporary art of all media, public events and an innovative arts education program. The Gallery's aim is to increase the visibility and accessibility of contemporary art while bridging the gap between the art world and global culture in Brooklyn and the world beyond. BRIC Rotunda Gallery is the visual arts program of BRIC Arts|Media|Bklyn, a multi-disciplinary arts and media non-profit, dedicated to presenting visual, performing and media arts programs that are reflective of Brooklyn's diverse communities and to supporting the creative process. Brooklyn contains the most of every group from every culture, ethnic, and racial background. The majority of the people of African descent is of Caribbean origin. Much of Brooklyn's distinct culture can be reflected on the cultures that these immigrants bring with them. A portion of Utica Avenue was historically named Malcolm X Boulevard because of his achievements as both a nationalist, and a separatist. To this day Malcolm X remains the most important figure to many of the people in that community.

Brooklyn is home to one of the most vibrant Jewish communities outside of Israel - one reason for the 2007 signed partnership with Leopoldstadt, a district of Vienna, Austria (a main Jewish centre of Central Europe for centuries, and despite the Holocaust even today). Some estimates have the Jewish population in Brooklyn at as high as three-quarters of a million, with many living in Borough Park, Williamsburg, Flatbush, Gravesend, Crown Heights, and other sections of Brooklyn. Much of the Jewish community, most notably the Hasidic and Hareidi Jews, are fluent in Yiddish and often use it as their first language. Moreover, many Orthodox Jews have very large families, so the Jewish community is experiencing tremendous growth. Variously called the "City of Trees," "City of Homes," or the "City of Churches" in the 19th century, Brooklyn is now often styled the "Borough of Homes and Churches".

As a promotional gesture by the current borough administration, distinctive traffic signs are posted along major traffic arteries at Brooklyn’s border crossings. They incorporate colorful expressions associated with Brooklyn, including: "Fugheddaboudit," "Oy vey!," and "How Sweet It Is." One sign identifies the borough as: "Home to Everyone From Everywhere!"

Brooklyn and Red Hook feature in Arthur Miller's play "A View From The Bridge" which is a tragedy set in 1940-50s New York about an Italian American Family.

Media

Brooklyn has several local newspapers: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Bay Currents (Oceanfront Brooklyn), Brooklyn View, the Brooklyn Paper and Courier-Life Publications. Courier-Life Publications, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, is considered to be Brooklyn's largest chain of newspapers. The Brooklyn Rail is a glossy monthly magazine emphasizing arts and literary criticism and winner of the Utne Independent Press Award in 2002 and 2003 for Best Local/Regional Coverage. Brooklyn is also served by the major New York dailies, including The New York Times, The New York Daily News, and The New York Post. The borough is home to the arts and politics monthly, Brooklyn Rail and the arts and cultural quarterly, Cabinet. HelloBrooklyn.com is Brooklyn's largest portal with more than 10,000 links.

Brooklyn has a thriving ethnic press. Major ethnic publications include the Brooklyn-Queens Catholic paper The Tablet, Hamodia an orthodox Jewish daily, as well as several Haitian newspapers including the Haitian Times, Haiti Observateur, and Haiti Progress. Many nationally-distributed ethnic newspapers are based out of offices in Brooklyn. Over 60 ethnic groups, writing in 42 languages, publish some 300 non-English language magazines and newspapers in New York City.

Brooklyn's accent is often portrayed as 'typical New York' in American television and film. The City of New York also has an official television station, run by the NYC Media Group, which features programming based in Brooklyn. Therefore Brooklyn has access and control over much of the media throughout New York City, from News stations to cable television programming stations like Noggin, or The-n. There is also Brooklyn Community Access Television, the borough's public access channel. BCAT, the Media program of BRIC, shares the former Strand Theater - adjoining BAM's Harvey Theater - with the non-profit artists collective atelier/exhibition center, Urban Glass The facility's upcoming expansion will include a new 250-seat, year round home for BRIC's annual "Celebrate Brooklyn" performances.

Tourism

Southern Brooklyn was once the premier resort destination for New York City. Coney Island developed as a playground for the rich in the early 1900s, when wealthy New Yorkers would bet on horses at the Gravesend or Sheepshead Bay Race Track and dined at high-class restaurants and seaside hotels. No trip to Sheepshead Bay would be complete without a stop at the docks and then dinner at Lundy's Restaurant. The introduction of the subway made Coney Island a vacation destination for the masses, and it evolved into one of America's first amusement grounds. The Cyclone rollercoaster, built in 1927, is on the National Register of Historic Places. The 1920 Wonder Wheel and other rides are still operational at Astroland. Coney Island went into decline in the 1970s, but is undergoing a renaissance. The annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade is a hipster costume-and-float parade which honored David Byrne, pre-punk music guru, as the head merman in 1998. Coney Island also hosts the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Green-Wood Cemetery, founded by the social reformer Henry Evelyn Pierrepoint in 1838, is both one of the most significant cemeteries in the United States and an expansive green space encompassing 478 acres (1.9 km²) of rolling hills and dales, several ponds, and a baroque chapel. Still in use, the cemetery is the burial ground of some of the most famous New Yorkers, including Albert Anastasia (1903-1957), mobster, "Lord High Executioner" for "Murder Inc."; Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988), artist; Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), composer; Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869), New Orleans-born pianist and composer; Laura Jean Libbey (1862-1924), best-selling "dime-store" novelist; Samuel F.B. Morse (1791-1872), inventor of the telegraph; Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965), journalist; Martha Bulloch Roosevelt (1834-1884), mother of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt; Margaret Sanger (1879-1966), birth control advocate; F.A.O. Schwarz (1836-1911), toy store founder; William M. "Boss" Tweed (1823-1878), notorious boss of the New York political machine and actor Frank Morgan (1890-1949) best known for his portrayal of the title character in the film The Wizard of Oz.

The New York Transit Museum displays historical artifacts of the New York subway, commuter rail and bus systems; it is located in the former IND Court Street subway station in Brooklyn Heights.The 52 acre (210,000 m²) Brooklyn Botanic Garden includes a cherry tree esplanade, a one acre (4,000 m²) rose garden, a Japanese hill and pond garden, a fragrance garden for the blind, a water lily pond esplanade, several conservatories, a rock garden, a native flora garden, a bonsai tree collection, and children's gardens and discovery exhibits.

Sports

Brooklyn has a storied sports history. It has been home to many famous sports figures such as Carmelo Anthony, Bobby Fischer, Vince Lombardi, Brandon Silvestry (aka Low Ki), Joe Paterno, Mike Tyson, Joe Pepitone, Joe Torre, Larry Brown, Vitas Gerulaitis, Herbie Kronowitz, Paul Lo Duca, John Franco, Stephon Marbury, John Halama, and Rico Petrocelli. Basketball legend Michael Jordan was born in Brooklyn, but grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Parks throughout the borough such as Prospect Park, Marine Park, and the community sports complex at Floyd Bennett Field provide residents an opportunity to practice and hone their sports skills and talents.

Brooklyn's most famous team, the Brooklyn Dodgers, (nicknamed "The Bums") played at Ebbets Field and was named for "trolley dodgers," a reference to the many streetcar lines that once criss-crossed the borough. The Dodgers welcomed Jackie Robinson in 1947, becoming the first African American player in Major League Baseball in the modern era. In 1955, the Dodgers, perennial National League pennant winners, won the first and only World Series for Brooklyn against their rival New York Yankees. The event was marked by mass euphoria and celebrations all over Brooklyn. Just two years later, the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, causing a widespread sense of betrayal. Walter O'Malley, the team's owner at the time, is still vilified by many Brooklynites for his decision, even by those too young to remember the Dodgers as Brooklyn's ball club. Several more recent attempts to return the Dodgers to their historic home have not borne fruit as of yet.

After a 43-year hiatus, however, professional baseball returned to the borough in 2001 in the form of the Brooklyn Cyclones, a minor league team in the New York-Penn League that plays in Keyspan Park in Coney Island. They are the short-season Single-A level affiliate of the New York Mets.

Minor league soccer arrived in Brooklyn when the Brooklyn Knights relocated from their previous home in Queens to a the new Aviator Field complex, which includes a 2,000-seat soccer-specific stadium. The team plays in the USL Premier Development League, at the fourth level of US soccer.

The Eastern Professional Hockey League included a team called the Brooklyn Aces into its inaugural 2008 season membership. The team will play at Aviator Sports and Recreation.

One of the most popular skateboard spots, called the Brooklyn Banks, is actually located in Manhattan under the Brooklyn Bridge. Many skaters have included the banks in skateboard videos. There is also a skateboard company based out of Brooklyn called 5boro. It is co-owned by Mark Nardelli and Steve Rodriguez.

Transportation

Brooklyn is well served by public transit. Because 18 New York City Subway lines, including the Franklin Avenue Shuttle, traverse the borough, it is not surprising that 92.8% of Brooklyn residents traveling to Manhattan use the subway. Major stations include, Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street, Broadway Junction, DeKalb Avenue, Jay Street-Borough Hall, and Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue.

The public bus network covers the entire borough. There is daily express bus service into Manhattan. New York's famous yellow cabs also provide transportation in Brooklyn, although they are less numerous in Brooklyn than in Manhattan. There are three commuter rail stations in Brooklyn: East New York station, Nostrand Avenue station, and Atlantic Terminal, the terminus of the Atlantic Branch of the Long Island Rail Road. The Terminal is a major intermodal transit hub for New York City, with ten connecting subway lines.

The grand majority of limited-access expressways and parkways are located in the western and southern sections of Brooklyn. These include, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the Gowanus Expressway, which is part of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the Prospect Expressway, New York State Route 27, the Belt Parkway, and the Jackie Robinson Parkway. Major thoroughfares include, Atlantic Avenue, 4th Avenue, 86th Street, Kings Highway, Bay Parkway, Ocean Parkway, Eastern Parkway, Linden Boulevard, McGuiness Boulevard, Flatbush Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, and Bedford Avenue.

Much of Brooklyn has only named streets, but Park Slope and western sections south of there have numbered streets running approximately east/west, and numbered avenues going approximately north/south. East of Dahill Avenue, lettered avenues run east/west, and numbered streets have the prefix "East". Numbered streets prefixed by "North", "South", "West", "Bay", "Brighton" or "Flatlands" exist in other areas.

Brooklyn is connected to Manhattan by three bridges, the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg bridges; a vehicular tunnel, the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel; and several subway tunnels. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge links Brooklyn with the more suburban borough of Staten Island. Though much of its border is on land, Brooklyn shares several water crossings with Queens, including the Kosciuszko Bridge (part of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway), the Pulaski Bridge, and the JJ Byrne Memorial Bridge, all of which carry traffic over Newtown Creek, and the Marine Parkway Bridge connecting Brooklyn to the Rockaway Peninsula.

Historically Brooklyn's waterfront was a major shipping port, especially at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park. Most container ship cargo operations have shifted to the New Jersey side of New York Harbor, while the city has recently built a new cruise ship terminal in Red Hook that is to become a focal point for New York's growing cruise industry. The Queen Mary 2, the world's largest ocean liner, was designed specifically to fit under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the United States. The Queen Mary 2 makes regular ports of call at the Red Hook terminal on her transatlantic runs from Southampton, England. New York Water Taxi offers commuter services from Brooklyn's west shore to points in Lower Manhattan, Midtown, Long Island City and Breezy Point in Rockaway, Queens, as well as tours and charters. A Cross-Harbor Rail Tunnel, originally proposed in 1920s as a core project for the then new Port Authority of New York is again being studied and discussed as a way to ease freight movements across a large swath of the metropolitan area.

Education

Education in Brooklyn is provided by a vast number of public and private institutions. Public schools in the borough are managed by the New York City Department of Education, the largest public school system.

Brooklyn College is a senior college of the City University of New York, and was the first public co-ed liberal arts college in New York City. The College ranked in the top 10 nationally for the second consecutive year in Princeton Review’s 2006 guidebook, America’s Best Value Colleges. Many of its students are first and second generation immigrants. Emblematic of its students’ potential is Eugene Shenderov, the son of Russian immigrants who received a 2005 Rhodes Scholarship before graduating from the College's B.A.-M.D. program in June 2005. The Brooklyn College campus serves as home to the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts complex and its four theaters, including the George Gershwin.

Founded in 1970, Medgar Evers College is a senior college of the City University of New York, with a mission to develop and maintain high quality, professional, career-oriented undergraduate degree programs in the context of a liberal arts education. The College offers programs both at the baccalaureate and associate degree levels, as well as Adult and Continuing Education classes for Central Brooklyn residents, corporations, government agencies, and community organizations. Medgar Evers College is a few blocks east of Prospect Park in Crown Heights. Brooklyn Law School was founded in 1901 and is notable for its diverse student body. Women and African Americans were enrolled in 1909. According to the Leiter Report, a compendium of law school rankings published by Brian Leiter, Brooklyn Law School places 31st nationally for quality of students.

Kingsborough Community College is a junior college in the City University of New York system, located in Manhattan Beach. It was recently named one of the top ten community colleges in the United States by the New York Times.

SUNY Downstate Medical Center, originally founded as the Long Island College Hospital in 1860, is the oldest hospital-based medical school in the United States. The Medical Center comprises the College of Medicine, College of Health Related Professions, College of Nursing, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and the School of Graduate Studies, where Nobel Prize-winner Dr. Robert F. Furchgott is a member of the faculty. Half of the Medical Center's students are minorities or immigrants. The College of Medicine has the highest percentage of minority students of any medical school in New York State.

Polytechnic University (New York), the United States' second oldest private technological university, founded in 1854, has its main campus in Downtown's MetroTech Center, a commercial, civic and educational redevelopment project of which it was a key sponsor. As of July 2008 it merged with the much larger and wealthier NYU, and is now called Polytechnic Institute of NYU. Poly's MetroTech neighbor, CUNY's New York City College of Technology (City Tech), is the largest public college of technology in New York State and a national model for technological education.

Long Island University is a private university in Downtown Brooklyn with 6,417 undergraduate students. In Clinton Hill, the Pratt Institute is one of the leading art schools in the United States and offers programs in art, architecture, fashion design, design, creative writing, library science, and other area disciplines.

Brooklyn is home to smaller liberal arts institutions such as Saint Francis College in Brooklyn Heights, Saint Joseph's College, New York in Clinton Hill and Boricua College in Williamsburg.

As an independent system, separate from the New York and Queens libraries, the Brooklyn Public Library offers thousands of public programs, millions of books, and use of more than 850 free Internet-accessible computers. It also has books and periodicals in all the major languages spoken in Brooklyn, including Russian, Chinese, Spanish, Hebrew, and Haitian Kreyol, as well as French, Yiddish, Hindi, Bengali, Polish, Italian, and Arabic. The Central Library is a landmarked building facing Grand Army Plaza and is undergoing extensive renovations and an underground expansion. There are 58 library branches, placing one within a half mile of each Brooklyn resident. In addition to specialized Business Library in Brooklyn Heights, the Library is preparing to construct its new Visual & Performing Arts Library (VPA) in the BAM Cultural District, which will focus on the link between new and emerging arts and technology and house traditional and digital collections. It will provide access and training to arts applications and technologies not widely available to the public. The collections will include the subjects of art, theater, dance, music, film, photography and architecture. A special archive will house the records and history of Brooklyn's arts communities.

District Partnership

In the year 2007 Brooklyn entered into a district partnership with the Viennese district Leopoldstadt.

See also

References

Further reading

  • Mary Spicuzza. "A Tree Dies in Brooklyn (Alas, It's a Fig)" The New York Times.
  • Lynn Harris. "Park Slope: Where Is the Love?" The New York Times.

External links

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