Monday, February 9, 2009

Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn, New York

Last week I blogged about the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, and this week I'd like to show some more sites from the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, and explain a little more about the area.
The first two photos are of the views of the East River and lower Manhattan as seen from the northern end of Brooklyn Heights, taken as I walked away from the promenade.

This photo, and the one below, show some of the houses and buildings that face that same spectacular view, and have the promenade adjacent to their backyard.

Brooklyn Heights encapsulates the history of New York and America. The Dutch first appeared in 1645, forming the settlement of "Breuckelen." The word "breuckelen" means marsh land, is thought to come from the areas resemblance to Breuckelen, Holland, where the settlers originated.

It was from Brooklyn Heights that George Washington watched the Revolutionary War Battle of Brooklyn unfold into a terrible defeat for the young Colonial Army. Under the cover of darkness on August 29th, 1776, Washington's army crossed the East River from Fulton Ferry, below where the Brooklyn Bridge rises today, leaving Brooklyn to the British. I'll write more about the Battle of Brooklyn in a future blog post

The bluffs of Brooklyn Heights were already a popular location in the 18th century when many of Manhattan's early merchants built mansions here overlooking the city on the island below.

In 1807, Robert Fulton captained his steamboat, The Clermont, from Brooklyn on its maiden voyage up the Hudson River. In 1814, Fulton gained a franchise to operate ferry service via steamboat from Brooklyn to Manhattan, which enabled both Brooklyn and Manhattan residents to travel easily back and forth across the East River. Brooklyn Heights then became the city's first suburb.

As the population of Brooklyn exploded, it became a city in 1833, and throughout much of the 1800s was the third most populous city in America! On January 1, 1898, Brooklyn became a borough of the city of New York.

Brooklyn Heights developed a reputation as a haven for writers. In 1855, it was here that Walt Whitman printed the first ten pages of his well-known book of poetry, Leaves of Grass, including the poem "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry."

Click to enlarge the photo above to see the original slate sidewalk that still remains in many areas of Brooklyn Heights.

Some of the famous inhabitants who lived in Brooklyn Heights were two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Norman Mailer, who lived near the 70 Willow Street residence where Truman Capote wrote the novel "Breakfast At Tiffany's," and not too far from the former 102 Pierrepoint Street residence where fellow Pulitzer Prize-winning author Arthur Miller wrote "All My Sons." Miller lived for a time with wife Marilyn Monroe at 62 Montague Street, where he wrote "Death Of A Salesman."

Brooklyn Heights is now the current home of celebrities Gabriel Byrne, who won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a TV drama, Paul Giamatti, who won Best Actor in a Motion Picture or Mini-Series Made for Television for his role in HBO’s "John Adams", and Ugly Betty star Ana Ortiz, who plays sister Hilda on the hit ABC-TV show.

The neighborhood is charming, full of many old homes dating back to the 1800's, and lined with narrow streets. The house above dates back to 1830.

The residences have many different styles of architecture-- Federal, Italianate and Greek revival style brownstones and buildings. In 1965, Brooklyn Heights was the first New York neighborhood to gain the status of historic district.



In the photos above and below are examples of some of the quaint homes that were converted from carriage houses. The stable area is now sometimes used as an inside parking garage for the home's residents. Presently about 70% of households in Brooklyn Heights do not own or lease an automobile, which is interesting when considering that this a rather affluent neighborhood. One of the reasons for this might be the limited street parking facilities, its proximity to Manhattan, and readily available public transportation.



The opening of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883 and subway service in 1908 brought changes to the district. Its elite character partly gave way to bohemianism, and hotels were built among the brownstone residences, and many of the rich moved away. Since the 1920s, the Heights have gone in and out of fashion, but in the 1980s a new generation of young professionals moved into the area once more and revitalized the local economy.

Many of the buildings that were once offices or hotels from the last century have been converted into condos or co-ops. Rents in the area are very high, close to two thousand dollars for a one room studio apartment, four to six thousand for a two to three bedroom apartment.

Home prices range from a few million upwards toward eleven million.

Brooklyn Heights is a wonderful place to walk around and get a feeling of what life in old time New York was like.

I like to walk around it and dream I could afford to buy one of these houses!

A fascinating short film produced by the New York Times about the rise fall and rebirth of Brooklyn Heights can be viewed at this link, which begins with these words: "Beneath the surface of Brooklyn's oldest and most exclusive neighborhood lurk the ghosts of a darker past."
There are so many stories that could be told about those who've lived in Brooklyn Heights, and many yet waiting to happen!

36 comments:

Joanne Kennedy said...

Do you have any idea what the houses there sell for? I love to watch shows like House Hunter when they go to New York. The places are so small when they are in the city but outside of the city they sure do have some beautiful homes.

We finally got on offer on our house and if the sell doesn't fall through I'm going to be booking a trip to New York real soon! I can hardly wait!

Hugs,
Joanne

Junie Moon said...

What a fun tour of Brooklyn Heights. I love all the buildings and am always fascinated to see the homes of famous writers.

Barb said...

As always great photos and history,how I wish I could afford to live in Brooklyn Heights also,when I win my millions (LOL)....Barb

Penny @ The Comforts of Home/Lavender Hill Studio said...

What beautiful homes and such a lovely area! Someday.....someday I will visit NY and the surround area...

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Thanks for the armchair tour of Brooklyn Heights. I once took a big onion walking tour, but I'm overdue for another, longer trip there.

Willow said...

Wow! That is an amazing neighborhood. It reminds me of Kensington or Chelsea or the area around Harrods in London. I can imagine being able to afford one of those homes, too :)

Proud Italian Cook said...

What a great neighborhood Brooklyn Heights is. I just love all those railings, so much character!

Mama said...

So enjoyed this post Pat, lovely houses and they really do remind me of London, especially Earls Court and(Olympia, where they hold The Ideal Home Exhibition) and Chelsea.
We had a wonderful dinner Saturday for our friends 25th, we went with the Salmon in the end, Vanni was such a great help. We decided to have the manicotti for Valentines :-), hugs Kathy.

M.Kate said...

Pat, wonderful pictures and explanation. I did the tag..finally and my apologies for the delay. If ever I have the chance to go to New York, your blog will be the perfect to research. Have a great day and big hugs :D

Strider said...

Excellent tour as usual. I look forward to more on Washington. I love your historical posts. Thanks.

Gracie said...

Thanks as always Pat for your history lesson, and the beautiful pics! I'm learning a lot from you, and when I'll finally have the chance to visit NY I wil know everything about it!

Lorrie said...

Pat this was a great tour of Brooklyn Heights. Thanks for all of the interesting information. I just love seeing the different archecture of the buildings and those slate sidewalks are so neat. I didn't realize the neighborhood was a historic district now. It is fun to dream of living in one of those expensive homes...

Catherine said...

Thanks for the wonderful tour Pat. My best friend is from Brooklyn Heights. She goes back there every chance she gets. I really enjoyed this photo tour.

Tracy said...

Thank you for the trip and great architecture tour, Pat...really enjoyed this excursion! Happy Days ((HUGS))

Tara said...

Pat

Was so busy with work last week i did not get to comment here! B Heights is a great place and there are so many movie shots frmo the promenade...thanks for taking us along!

:0)
Tara

aliceinparis said...

I love your tours. Brooklyn Heights is gorgeous. Those slate sidewalks are cool.
Cheers, Shelagh

Bo said...

Hi Pat...I love taking these excursions with you around NYC... you could work as a tour guide if you so desired... ;-) Bo

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Beautiful neighborhood. Both of my parents were born and raised in Brooklyn. Both sets of grandparents were either born in Brooklyn or settled there after going through Ellis Island. I used to joke that life actually originated in Brooklyn. When I read posts like this, I really miss "the city".
♥, Susan

Vee said...

It's always an interesting time spent with you...

I had no idea that Brooklyn was its own city and not so long ago...boy, am I ignorant.

Beautiful architecture and lovely homes. At those prices, most can only dream. And if I were to pay that price, it wouldn't be for a home in the city, but all very interesting. And, if I'm correct, if you were to pay those prices, it might be for a mansion in Colorado! :D

I'll be interested to read about the Battle of Brooklyn.

pammiejo said...

Another great story about your great New York! It's like a little snippet of culture/history reading your blog each time. Thanks! PAM

Helen said...

I ** SO ** enjoyed this tour. And the historical information too. Just fascinating ....

Judy said...

What a great tour of Brooklyn Heights! I see it would take a small fortune to live there...but your tours are free. How special is that? You are such a wealth of knowledge.

Paris said...

I have never been to Brooklyn...would like to some day, though! I really liked the 2nd picture...wow!

Hope you are having a good week.

*hugs*

Nola @ the Alamo said...

Oh, how I adore that architecture! I'd love to live somewhere with all that character. How lucky that those people have great public transit and don't need cars! I envy that! Thanks for the tour, and the info about Walt Whitman, he's one of my favorite poets!

Beverly said...

Pat, how I wish that I could see all of the wonderful places you take us. But alas, I can not walk and see for myself.

I treasure all of the tours you take us on, and you make me feel as if I were right there with you.

steviewren said...

Thanks Pat, I just learned many new facts about Brooklyn, it's architecture, it's famous residents and it's history. Maybe one day I'll have the opportunity to walk it's streets. I'd love to.

KarenHarveyCox said...

What a great post. I love Brooklyn Heights, when I worked in Manhattan a good friend lived there. She had the most gorgeous condo. I remember back in the 70's we had that blackout and I remember she walked across the bridge to go home.

Your photography is fabulous. I love the history that you have shared too.
Karen

Rosie's Whimsy said...

I love the converted carriage houses! They are so unique.

And, Leo is such a cutie!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

What a great house tour, Pat! Proving once again why "I Love NY!"

One of my best high school friends studied art at Pratt and became the PR director at BAM. She lived there several years before she moved home. She had a wonderful old brownstone, and she just adored living there. I always regretted not getting up to see her when she was in residence.

I just finished reading about the Battle of Brooklyn in a history I read before Christmas. There were some miraculous things that happened, including a heavy sea fog that rolled in and protected Washington's men as they escaped. And on another note, isn't the house in "Arsenic and Old Lace" supposed to be in Brooklyn?

I have NY ancestors, but they migrated there from VT/CT/RI/and MA, and they ended up in Buffalo on the frontier. I don't know how anyone could leave NYC. I would be in hog heaven there! In Green Acres, I'm Mrs. Douglas! LOL!

XO,

Sheila :-)

Donna said...

I love visiting different parts of Brooklyn! Your photos are wonderful. Love all the beautiful buildings and architecture. I've been to Park Slope and enjoy that area. Our daughter lives in Brooklyn and we try to see as much as we can when we visit.

Thanks, Pat. What a great post!

Hugs,
Donna

Oliag said...

It's official....I'll have to get my Brooklyn fixes thru you and a few other blogs I've discovered...daughter and her husband will be moving out by March 1 - BooHoo! (She is getting irritated now when I say something about missing Brooklyn visits - I've said it one too many times!)

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

In my 20s, I dated a guy who lived in Brooklyn Heights. I dated him much longer than I should have...because I loved Brooklyn Heights (and his amazing rent stabalized apartment) so much. :-) I used to rollerblade over the Brooklyn Bridge after work to his place. There was a great coffee shop named Ollie's...that I'm sure is a Starbuck's now. Sigh...

Your photos are wonderful...such a great cross-section of all the homes! Even though it's totally gentrified, I still think it's one of my favorite places.

supplies overflowing! said...

Wonderfully informative post. Thanks for the lessons and the photos!
jenny

Susie Q said...

I so enjoyed this tour...you know how much I love NY!
You are a treasure trove of info and your photos are always such a treat for me to see!

Love,
Sue

Lisa B. said...

Makes me want to move to Brooklyn! Too bad I couldn't begin to afford it:( Awesome architecture and great stories!

Maureen said...

I am a newcomer to your blog. Really enjoyed this particular blog and all the wonderful pictures.

I live in Canada, but in the early 1900's my Irish Grandfather came to New York and lived in Brooklyn for two years before going to Canada.

I can imagine him walking the streets of Brooklyn as a young man!

Maureen