New York City Boroughs: Brooklyn
Brooklyn is one of the oldest settlements in the northeastern United States, dating back to the 17th century when it was founded by Dutch settlers, and named Breuckelen. Brooklyn continued to grow throughout the next 200 years and was a large and important city by the mid 1800s. By the end of the 19th century, the citizens of Brooklyn came together and voted to be incorporated into New York City, which began as a small settlement on Manhattan Island.
The modern New York City that we know of today was born in 1898. The five boroughs of New York are simultaneously counties and boroughs, and Brooklyn completely encapsulates Kings County.
Brooklyn is the most populous of the boroughs of New York City, with a population of more than 2.5 million people. Brooklyn has around 300,000 more people than the next populous borough, Queens. In terms of land mass, Brooklyn is the second largest borough at 71 square miles, meaning that Brooklyn fits all those people in an area nearly forty square miles smaller than Queens.
Brooklyn is actually one of the most densely populated places in America, and Manhattan is the only borough with more people per square mile.
Brooklyn has acquired the nickname, The City of Homes, because so many of the people that live in Brooklyn commute to Manhattan and Queens for work. Brooklyn is highly residential, with most of its jobs centering on service and entertainment. Over half of the population works outside of Brooklyn. There are a growing number of businesses which are based in Manhattan and have back offices in Brooklyn because of the proximity to Manhattan and cheaper property prices.
One of the most important things to understand about Brooklyn is that it still has a very unique and independent identity from the rest of New York City. They even have their own accent, known as the Brooklyn Accent. Most people in Brooklyn consider themselves citizens of Brooklyn before they even consider themselves New Yorkers.
Historically, there has always been a contingent of Brooklynites which believe that the borough should have never joined New York City, and referred to the decision as The Mistake of 1898. Over the last couple of generations, this sentiment has greatly subsided, but it does exemplify the pride that people from Brooklyn have in their own borough.
Brooklyn Points of Interest
Coney Island – Coney Island is probably the most iconic location in Brooklyn. In the mid-twentieth century, Coney Island was a highly active carnival district with games and entertainment, which slowly fell into disrepair. In the last twenty years, the area has been revitalized and has returned to its former glory, now centered around the Brooklyn Aquarium.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden – The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is located near Flatbush, Crown Heights, and Prospect Heights, and is a beautiful 52 acre botanical garden with a wide variety of different flowers and other plant species. One of the most well-regarded features of the garden is its Japanese Hill-and-Pond garden, which is designed in classic Japanese style.
Prospect Park – Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s answer to Central Park, which was actually designed by the same person, Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted actually considered Prospect Park his greatest creation, more pleased with it than he was of even the internationally acclaimed Central Park in Manhattan.
Barclays Center – The Barclays Center is the new home of the Brooklyn Nets, and is a large, multipurpose facility. In addition to basketball, the Barclays center also hosts boxing and hockey, and has hosted a variety of highly sought after musical acts.
Brooklyn Museum – Although Manhattan is widely regarded for its world class museums, Brooklyn also has a number of fantastic museums as well. The Brooklyn Museum was originally constructed in 1897. It is the 2nd largest publicly held art museum in New York City. The Brooklyn Museum has over one and a half million pieces on display, from a huge variety of different sources and influences, from contemporary to Ancient Egyptian.