Brooklyn Heights

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Brooklyn Heights
Neighborhood of Brooklyn
View of Brooklyn Heights in 2006; street signs at Pierrepont and Montague Streets are in the foreground, 62 Montague Street is in the background
View of Brooklyn Heights in 2006; street signs at Pierrepont and Montague Streets are in the foreground, 62 Montague Street is in the background
Brooklyn Heights is located in New York City
Brooklyn Heights
Brooklyn Heights
Location in New York City
Coordinates: 40°41′44″N 73°59′42″W / 40.69556°N 73.99500°W / 40.69556; -73.99500Coordinates: 40°41′44″N 73°59′42″W / 40.69556°N 73.99500°W / 40.69556; -73.99500
Country  United States
State  New York
City New York City
Borough Brooklyn
 • Total 0.320 sq mi (0.83 km2)
Population (2010)
 • Total 20,256
 • Density 63,000/sq mi (24,000/km2)
Demographics 2010[2]
 • White 77%
 • Black 7%
 • Hispanic (of any race) 8%
 • Asian 5%
 • Other 3%
ZIP Codes 11201
Median household income $119,999[3]

Brooklyn Heights is an affluent residential neighborhood within the New York City borough of Brooklyn. Originally referred to as 'Brooklyn Village', it has been a prominent area of Brooklyn since 1834. As of 2000, Brooklyn Heights sustained a population of 22,594 people. The neighborhood is part of Brooklyn Community Board 2.[4] The neighborhood is served by the 84th Precinct of the New York City Police Department (NYPD).[5]


Brooklyn Heights in 1854
The Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Brooklyn Heights occupies a bluff that rises sharply from the river's edge and gradually recedes on the landward side. Before the Dutch settled on Long Island in the middle of the seventeenth century, this promontory was called Ihpetonga ("the high sandy bank") by the native Lenape American Indians.

The area was heavily fortified prior to the largest battle of the American Revolutionary War – The Battle of Long Island (also known as The Battle of Brooklyn). After British troops landed on Long Island and advanced towards Continental Army lines, General George Washington withdrew his troops here after heavy losses, but was able to make a skillful retreat across the East River to Manhattan without the loss of any troops or his remaining supplies.

This part of the Town of Brooklyn, south of the long-settled old Village of Brooklyn, became New York's first commuter town in the early 19th century when a new steam ferry service provided reliable service to Wall Street.[6]

The executive offices of the Brooklyn Dodgers were, for many years, located in the Heights, near the intersection of Montague and Court Streets. A plaque on the office building that replaced the Dodgers' old headquarters at 215 Montague Street identifies it as the site where Jackie Robinson signed his major league contract.

Middagh Street
150–159 Willow Street, three original red brick early 19th-century Federal Style Houses

The Promenade, cantilevered over I-278 (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, or BQE), is a favorite spot among locals, offering magnificent vistas of the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan skyline across the East River, as well as views of the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, and spectacular fireworks displays over the East River. Robert Moses originally proposed to build the BQE through the heart of Brooklyn Heights. Opposition to this plan led to the re-routing of the expressway to the side of the bluff, allowing creation of the Promenade. The full story of the promenade's creation is chronicled by Henrik Krogius in his book "The Brooklyn Heights Promenade."

By the mid-1950s, a new generation of property owners began moving into the Heights. They pioneered the so-called Brownstone Revival by buying and renovating pre-civil war period houses. The new population and their consolidated opposition to a Robert Moses slum clearance plan for luxury rental housing led to the development of a major middle income cooperative known as Cadman Plaza.[7] In addition, the details of this transformative and contentious period are described in the 48-page illustrated book "Battling for Brooklyn Heights/New York's First Historic District" which is available on the website of the Brooklyn Historical Society.


Brooklyn Heights stretches from Old Fulton Street near the Brooklyn Bridge south to Atlantic Avenue and from the East River east to Court Street and Cadman Plaza. Adjacent neighborhoods are Dumbo, Downtown Brooklyn, Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill. It is directly across the East River from Manhattan, and easily accessible from Downtown Brooklyn.


The 2000 United States Census[8] reported that Brooklyn Heights had a population of 22,594. The racial makeup of Brooklyn Heights was 17,397 (77%) White, 1,581 (7%) African American, 1,129 (5%) Asian, 225 (1%) from other races, and 451 (2%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1,807 persons (8%).

The Census reported that of the 22,593 housing units, 12,426 (57%) are renter-occupied, 9,037 (40%) owner-occupied and 677 (3%) vacant.

The population was spread out with 2,485 people (11%) under the age of 18, 17,397 people (77%) aged 18 to 64, and 2,711 people (12%) who were 65 years of age or older.


The neighborhood is largely composed of block after block of picturesque rowhouses and a few mansions. A great range of architectural styles is represented, including a few Federal-style houses from the early 19th century in the northern part of the neighborhood, brick Greek Revival and Gothic Revival houses, and Italianate brownstones. A number of houses, particularly along Pierrepont Street and Pierrepont Place are authentic mansions. Brooklyn Heights was the first neighborhood protected by the 1965 Landmarks Preservation Law of New York City. Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims and Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Cathedral are in Brooklyn Heights.

The concentration of over 600 pre-Civil War houses, one of the largest ensembles of such housing in the nation, and the human scale of the three, four- and five-story buildings creates an especially neighborly atmosphere. Brooklyn Heights has very few high-rise buildings. Among these buildings are 75 Livingston Street, Hotel St. George, and the Concord Village co-op development on Adams Street. Additionally, Jehovah's Witnesses have their world headquarters in the northern part of Brooklyn Heights just north of I-278, and have a pronounced presence in the area. The organization has restored a number of historic buildings to house their staff, including the former Hotel Bossert, once the seasonal home of many Dodgers players, on Montague Street. In 2010 the Witness' organization announced plans to begin selling off their numerous properties in the Heights and nearby downtown Brooklyn since they plan to relocate themselves in upstate New York.


As it is situated close to Manhattan, Brooklyn Heights is serviced by numerous subway services, specifically the A C F N R trains at Jay Street – MetroTech, the 2 3 trains at Clark Street, and the 2 3 4 5 N R trains at Court Street – Borough Hall.

Many MTA Regional Bus Operations bus routes are located nearby in Downtown Brooklyn, but with the exception of the B25 in Dumbo/Fulton Ferry and B61 and B63 in Cobble Hill, no bus routes actually stop in Brooklyn Heights.


St. Ann's School, a high school, is located in the neighborhood. Packer Collegiate Institute, a K-12 school, has also been located in the neighborhood, at 170 Joralemon Street, since its 1845 founding.

Saint Francis College is located on Remsen Street and occupies half a city block. It was founded as St. Francis Academy in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers and was originally located on Baltic Street. St. Francis College was the first private school in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn. As of 2010, 2,000 full-time students and more than 400 part-time students from 80 countries attend the College. St. Francis College has been ranked by the New York Times as one of the more diverse colleges in the United States.[9] The college has also been ranked by both Forbes Magazine and U.S. News and World Report as one of the top baccalaureate colleges in the north.[10][11]

Brooklyn Heights is also the location of Brooklyn Law School, founded in 1901, which, as of 2012, had 1,400 students.

Notable residents[edit]

Famous residents over the years have included:

In popular culture[edit]

The 1960s TV show The Patty Duke Show was set at 8 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights.[18] The 1977 horror film The Sentinel featured exterior shots along the Promenade, most notably of the southernmost building at 13 Remsen Street. The 1987 romantic film Moonstruck that starred Nicolas Cage opposite Cher was also set in the neighborhood. The neighborhood is a popular destination for many TV and film producers, and has been used both for interior and exterior shoots in projects that included Boardwalk Empire, St. James Place, White Collar, and Hostages.[19]

The area is also the main setting of The Cosby Show (1984–1992) TV show, where the Huxtable family resided in a two-story brownstone at (the fictional) 10 Stigwood Avenue.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Census data". Brooklyn Heights Languages Spoken
  2. ^ "Brooklyn Heights Demographics Data". 2012. 
  3. ^ "Brooklyn Heights Income in 2011". Retrieved 2011. 
  4. ^ Community Boards, New York City. Accessed May 23, 2008.
  5. ^ 84th Precinct, NYPD
  6. ^ The Real Deal Hezikiah Pierrepont, founder of Brooklyn Heights
  7. ^ The story of this movement ,which culminated in the passage in 1965 of the Landmarks Preservation Law, can be seen in this 13-minute video
  8. ^ "2010 Census P.L. 94-171 Summary File Data". United States Census Bureau. 
  9. ^ "Colleges of Many Colors". The New York Times. 2006-11-05. Retrieved 2007-08-15. 
  10. ^ "America's Best Colleges List". 2009-08-05. Retrieved 2010-07-08. 
  11. ^ "Baccalaureate Colleges (North) Rankings". U.S News & World Report. 2009. Retrieved 2010-07-08. 
  12. ^ a b c d e Oehler, Kara (June 14, 2005). "Close-Up on Brooklyn Heights". The Village Voice. Retrieved May 23, 2008. 
  13. ^ "The Truth About Vincent Kartheiser". BlackBook. June 20, 2013. 
  14. ^ Lawson, Carol (January 30, 1981). "Leach to direct musical on orphans going west by rail". The New York Times. Section C, Page 2. Retrieved August 27, 2010. 
  15. ^ Tippins, Sherill (February 6, 2005). "Genius and High Jinks at 7 Middagh Street". The New York Times. Retrieved June 21, 2008. 
  16. ^ Sengupta, Somini (April 14, 1996). "Brooklyn's Girl Next Door?". The New York Times. Retrieved November 29, 2007. Whether she ever made a pilgrimage to Ebbets Field or sipped an egg cream beside an open fire hydrant isn't clear, but the mere fact that she was born in Brooklyn Heights is enough for the organizers of Welcome Back to Brooklyn Day on June 9. On that day, Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden will crown Ms. Moore Homecoming Queen in a rose garden ceremony at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. 
  17. ^ "Brooklyn Cultural Institutions Celebrate Walt Whitman, Brooklyn's Poet Laureate, on the 150th Anniversary of Leaves of Grass" (Press release). Brooklyn Public Library. March 24, 2005. Retrieved May 23, 2008. 
  18. ^ Patty Duke Show
  19. ^

Further reading

  • Debby Applegate, The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher. Doubleday, 2006.
  • Truman Capote, A House On the Heights, with a new introduction by George Plimpton. Little Bookroom, 2002.
  • Clay Lancaster, Old Brooklyn Heights: New York's First Suburb. Dover Books, 1979.
  • Sherill Tippins, February House: The Story of W.H. Auden, Carson McCullers, Jane and Paul Bowles, Benjamin Britten, and Gypsy Rose Lee, Under One Roof in Wartime America. Houghton Mifflin, 2005.
  • Martin L Schneider, "Battling for Brooklyn Heights/New York's First Historic District" December, 2010
  • Living in Brooklyn Heights – slideshow by The New York Times

External links[edit]