The total land area is 2.19 square miles, and the ZIP codes for the neighborhood are 11212 and 11233. Brownsville is bordered by Fulton Street to the north (on the Bedford-Stuyvesant border), East 98th Street/Ralph Avenue to the west (Flatbush and Crown Heights borders) and the freight rail Bay Ridge Branch of the Long Island Rail Road running along Linden Boulevard to the south (adjacent to the neighborhood of Canarsie) and Van Sinderen Avenue to the east (East New York).
The area is patrolled by the 73rd Precinct located at 1470 East New York Avenue. New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) property in the area is patrolled by P.S.A. 2. It is part of Brooklyn Community Board 16. Brownsville is notable for having some of the highest rates of violent crime in New York City.
In 2010, Brownsville's population was 116,579 and the demographics were 80.3% Non-Hispanic Black or African American, 15.8% Hispanic/Latino, 1.2% Non-Hispanic White, 1.1% Asian/Pacific Islander and 1.6% described themselves as other. 29.9% of the population were High School graduates and 8.4% had a Bachelor's degree or higher. As of 2008, the median household income was $15,978. There were a total of 28,298 housing units in Brownsville.
Land use 
Brownsville is dominated by public housing developments of various types. There is also a significant concentration of semi-detached multi-unit row houses similar to those found in East New York and Soundview surrounding the public housing developments. Many, however, have been torn down and replaced by vacant lots or newly constructed subsidized attached multi-unit rowhouses. There is also a small number of tenements in the area. The neighborhood contains the highest concentration of NYCHA developments in New York City.
Low-income public housing projects 
- 104–14 Tapscott Street; one 4-story building.
- Brownsville Houses; 27 buildings, 6 and 7-stories tall
- Glenmore Plaza; four buildings, 10, 18 and 24-stories tall.
- Howard Avenue; five buildings, 3-stories tall.
- Howard Avenue-Park Place; eight buildings, 3-stories tall.
- Howard Houses; ten buildings, 7 and 13-stories tall.
- Hughes Apartments; three, 22-story buildings.
- Marcus Garvey (Group A); three buildings, 6 and 14-stories tall.
- Prospect Plaza Houses; three vacant 12-story buildings in the process of being rehabilitated. (really in the Ocean Hill section of Brooklyn Community Board 16)
- Ralph Avenue Rehab; five, 4-story buildings.
- Reverend Randolph Brown; two, 6-story buildings.
- Seth Low Houses; four buildings, 17 and 18-stories tall.
- Sutter Avenue-Union Street; three rehabilitated tenement buildings, 4 and 6-stories tall.
- Tapscott Street Rehab; eight, 4-story rehabilitated tenement buildings.
- Tilden Houses; eight, 16-story buildings.
- Van Dyke I; 22 buildings, 3 and 14-stories tall.
- Van Dyke II; one 14-story building.
- Woodson Houses; two buildings, 10 and 25-stories tall.
As early as the 1910s, the area had acquired a reputation as a vicious slum and breeding ground for crime. It has been known throughout the years for its criminal gangs and in the 30s and 40s achieved notoriety as the birthplace of Murder, Inc. It was a predominantly Jewish neighborhood until the 1960s, when its population had become largely black and Brownsville's unemployment rate was 17 percent. Half of all families in the district lived on less than $5,000 a year.
Journalist Jimmy Breslin wrote in 1968 that Brownsville reminded him of Berlin after World War II; block after block of burned-out shells of houses, streets littered with decaying automobile hulks. The stores on the avenues are empty and the streets are lined with deserted apartment houses or buildings that have empty apartments on every floor.
In September 1967, a riot occurred following the death of an 11-year-old black boy named Richard Ross who was killed by a black NYPD detective named John Rattley at the corner of St. Johns Place and Ralph Avenue due to his suspicion of mugging a 73-year-old white Jewish man. The riot was additionally fueled by Brooklyn militant Sonny Carson who spread false rumors that a white policeman killed the youth for no reason and was only quelled after Brooklyn North Borough Commander Lloyd Sealy deployed a squad of 150 police officers to the riot to prevent further looting. The officer responsible was later cleared after a grand jury refused to indict him.
In 1968 Brownsville was the setting of a protracted and highly contentious teachers' strike. The Board of Education had experimented with giving the people of the neighborhood control over the school. The new administration laid off several teachers in violation of union contract rules. The teachers were all white and mostly Jewish, and the resulting strike served to badly divide the whole city. The resulting strike dragged on for half a year, becoming known as one of John Lindsay's "Ten Plagues".
Social problems 
Many social problems associated with poverty from crime to drug addiction have plagued the area for decades. Despite the decline of crime compared to their peaks during the crack and heroin epidemics, violent crime continues to be a serious problem in the community. Brownsville's 73rd Police District reported the highest murder rate in the city in 2011, according to crime reports compiled by DNAinfo.com. Brownsville has significantly higher dropout rates and incidents of violence in its schools. Students must pass through metal detectors and swipe ID cards to enter the buildings. However, most public NYC high schools have adopted this approach regardless of their location. Other problems in local schools include low test scores and high truancy rates.
Urban renewal 
After a wave of arson throughout the 1970s ravaged the low-income communities of New York City, many of the residential structures in Brownsville were left seriously damaged or destroyed. The city began to rehabilitate many formally abandoned tenement- style apartment buildings and designate them low-income housing beginning in the late 1970s. Also many subsidized multi-unit townhouses and newly constructed apartment buildings have been or are being built on vacant lots across the neighborhood.
Until recently, Brownsville was the only Brooklyn school district without a high school. There are now three; two are housed in the same building at 226 Bristol Street. Teachers Preparatory opened in September 2001. FDA VII opened in September 2004. Teachers Preparatory School serves 6th through 12th graders. It received a grade of "A" on both its middle school and high school report cards for 2008. There also is a transfer school Brownsville Academy, which is a Diploma Plus  transfer school. It received a "Well Developed" score for 2008–2009. It also received a grade of B on its 2007–2008 report card.
Notable natives 
- Ralph Bakshi, film director
- Daniel Benzali, Golden-Globe nominated actor.
- Riddick Bowe, boxer
- Shannon Briggs, boxer
- Andrew Dice Clay, comedian
- Aaron Copland, composer
- Bummy Davis, boxer
- Max Fleischer, animator
- World B. Free, former NBA player
- Nelson George, author
- Sid Gordon, baseball player
- Arnold Greenberg, co-founder of Snapple
- Red Holzman, NBA player & coach
- Moe, Curly and Shemp Howard who were brothers and three members of The Three Stooges
- Daniel Jacobs (boxer)
- Charles Jenkins, NBA player
- Zab Judah, boxer
- Danny Kaye, entertainer
- Alfred Kazin, writer and literary critic.
- Larry King, television and radio host
- Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, former boxer
- Bruce Pasternack, Business Author.
- Norman Podhoretz, writer.
- Willie Randolph, former baseball player, manager, and coach
- Meyer Schapiro, art historian on faculty at Columbia University for 45 years
- Phil Sellers, former NBA player
- Al Sharpton, minister
- Phil Silvers comic.
- BernNadette Stanis, actress
- Steele hip hop artist
- Mike Tyson, boxer 
- Dwayne "Pearl" Washington, former professional basketball player.
- James "Fly" Williams, former NBA player
- Nicole Willis singer/songwriter.
- Otis Wilson, former NFL linebacker
- Terry Winters, artist
- Howard Zinn, historian
- Duane Martin, Actor.
- Jack Knight, Songwriter, Music Producer, Motivational Speaker
See also 
- "Brownsville Long Island New York". Longislandexchange.com. December 22, 2006. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
- 73rd Precinct, NYPD.
- "U.S. Census Bureau: 2010 Census". Factfinder2.census.gov. Retrieved 2012-10-11.
- "NYCHA locations in Brownsville". Nyc.gov. September 28, 2010. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
- Pritchett, Wendell E. Brownsville, Brooklyn : Blacks, Jews, and the changing face of the ghetto Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2002. ISBN 0-226-68446-6
- Ortega, Tony (March 11, 2010). "Absolutely Nothing To Get Alarmed About Village Voice September 14, 1967". Blogs.villagevoice.com. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
- Cannato, Vincent "The Ungovernable City: John Lindsay and his struggle to save New York" Better Books, 2001. ISBN 0-465-00843-7
- [ Displaying Abstract ] (January 2, 2011). "Negro Policemen Sent to Patrol Scene of Disorders in Brooklyn - Article - NYTimes.com". Select.nytimes.com. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
- Berube, Maurice R. and Marilyn Gittell. Confrontation at Ocean Hill-Brownsville; the New York school strikes of 1968 New York, Praeger  OCLC: 19279
- Friday, Nov. 01, 1968 (November 1, 1968). "John Lindsay'S Ten Plagues". TIME. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
- "73rd Precinct CompStat Report" (PDF). Retrieved January 24, 2011.
- "NYC Dropout Rates". Gothamgazette.com. March 20, 2006. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
- "Statistics – Teachers Preparatory High School – K697 – New York City Department of Education". Schools.nyc.gov. August 9, 2007. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
- [dead link]
- "Report: New York City Walmart jobs would lower wages | 7online.com". Abclocal.go.com. 2011-01-13. Retrieved 2012-10-11.
- "Daniel Benzali". Suckers. Retrieved December 13, 2006.
- Fox, Margalit (2012-10-30). "Arnold Greenberg, a Founder of Snapple, Dies at 80". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- Salamon, Julie. "Toil, Tears and Sweat in Brooklyn", The New York Times, February 6, 2004. Accessed November 19, 2007. "The words of a native son, Alfred Kazin, spoken by an actor evoking the writer's Brownsville childhood in the 1920s, resonate today."
- Podhoretz, Norman (Feb 1963). "My Negro Problem — And Ours". Commentary (magazine). Retrieved May 14, 2010.
- "Mike Tyson Biography". BookRags.
- Vecsey, George. "SPORTS OF THE TIMES; The Pearl Fits In At Syracuse", The New York Times, March 9, 1984. Accessed December 5, 2007. "This part of the legend does survive: Washington admits that when he was 8 years old at the Howard Housing Project in Brownsville, his elders asked him: Who do you think you are, the Pearl?"