Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

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Carroll Park

Carroll Gardens is a neighborhood in Brooklyn, a borough of New York City. It is named for Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and for the large front gardens in the Carroll Gardens Historic District. Carroll Gardens shares its northern boundary with Cobble Hill at Degraw Street and Boerum Hill at Warren Street, while extending south to Hamilton Avenue and Red Hook. It is part of Brooklyn Community Board 6.[1]


Carroll Gardens is so named because of the gardens in front of buildings in its Historic District

Carroll Gardens was settled by Irish Americans in the early 19th century and, in the mid-19th century, by Norwegian-Americans, who founded the Norwegian Seamens' Church, an imposing brownstone structure on the corner of First Place and Clinton Street that was once visited by the King of Norway during an official visit to the United States, and which still stands as a residential condominium.[2]

Norwegian Seamen's Church
Smith and Ninth Streets in the southern part of Carroll Gardens

Around this time, the area came to be named. Carroll Park, a block-long area of playgrounds, walkways and sitting areas between Court, Smith, Carroll, and President Streets, was constructed in the 1840s as a private garden and purchased by the State in the 1850s. It was named after Charles Carroll, before the neighborhood took his name, to honor the Maryland regiment which had helped to defend the area during the Revolutionary War Battle of Long Island.[3][4] In 1846, surveyor Richard Butt planned gardens in front of the brownstone houses in the oldest section of the neighborhood. The homes are set further back from the street than is common in Brooklyn, and the large gardens became an iconic depiction of the neighborhood. The same year, a law was passed requiring that all buildings between Henry Street and Smith Street use 33 feet and 5.25 inches between it and the street for "courtyards."[5] Development of what is now the Historic District began in the 1870s, due in part to its proximity to Carroll Park.[4]

In the 20th century the area attracted a strong Italian-American community. Though still visible in local business and culture, it has decreased significantly from 52 percent of the population to 22 percent in 2012.[6] Reflective of the neighborhood's ethnic and religious roots, Carroll Gardens is named for Charles Carroll, the only Roman Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence.[7]

Prior to the gentrification movement in the mid-1960s, this part of South Brooklyn was considered by residents to be part of Red Hook. In the late 1940s, however, the southern tip of Red Hook was cut off from the rest of the neighborhood by the building of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and Gowanus Expressway, and the area now known as Carroll Gardens took on a separate and distinct character of its own. Today, Carroll Gardens is more middle class, while Red Hook, which had retained its working-class, waterfront ambiance, has only recently begun to feel the effects of gentrification.

In its latest ethnic succession, Carroll Gardens has seen a strong French immigration since the late 1990s, and Bastille Day celebrations are held on July 14 of each year.[8][9] One of the public schools in Carroll Gardens, the Carroll School, has one of the area's few French dual-language programs.[10][11]


St Mary's Star of the Sea

Several streets in the area are named after important historical figures: Charles Carroll gave his name to Carroll Street in addition to the neighborhood, Smith Street was named for Brooklyn mayor Samuel Smith and Hoyt Street for local real estate speculator Charles Hoyt.[4]

The Carroll Gardens Historic District still includes some of the finest examples of the brownstones with large front gardens. It comprises the buildings on President Street and Carroll Street between Smith Street and Hoyt Street, as well as the western ends of the two blocks between President Street and First Street.[4]

The New York City Subway's Carroll Street station services the F G trains.

Historic sites[edit]

  • St. Mary's Star of the Sea Church, 467 Court Street: Originally constructed to serve as a Cathedral, a beautiful church built with the finest Italian and European stones and marble. Also the location where Al Capone married Mae Josephine Coughlin.
  • St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 199 Carroll Street: Founded in 1849, during the heyday of Brooklyn's industrialization.
Carroll School
Carroll Gardens branch of the Brooklyn Public Library


The New York City Department of Education operates public schools: Patrick F. Daly (PS15), John M. Harrigan (PS29), Carroll School (PS58), Samuel Mills Sprole (PS32), Brooklyn School of Collaborative Studies (MS448), School for Global Studies (K429), School for Innovation (MS442), and School for International Studies.

The Brooklyn Public Library operates the Carroll Gardens Branch at 396 Clinton Street and Union Street in Carroll Gardens. The library, originally the Carroll Park Branch, opened in 1901 in a rented facility. The library moved to its current Carnegie library facility, designed by William B. Tubby, in 1905. After extensive renovations occurred, the library received its current name according to a request from the community.[12]

Notable residents[edit]

Notable current and former residents of Carroll Gardens include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Neighborhoods, Brooklyn Community Board 6. Accessed October 1, 2007.
  2. ^ "Carroll Gardens, a Cozy Brooklyn Locale". Citty. 24 July 2014. 
  3. ^ CARROLL PARK, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Accessed October 1, 2007. "Brooklyn’s third oldest park is named for Charles Carroll (1737-1832), an American Revolutionary leader from Maryland and signer of the Declaration of Independence, for whom Carroll Street is also named."
  4. ^ a b c d "Carroll Gardens Historic District Designation Report". Landmarks Preservation Commission Designation Report. City of New York Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Administration. 25 September 1973. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association". Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association website. Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  6. ^ Gill, John Freeman (11 March 2014). "New Roots in Carroll Gardens". New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  7. ^ Donovan, Aaron. "If You're Thinking of Living In/Carroll Gardens; Area of Gardens and 19th-Century Charm", The New York Times, May 12, 2002. Accessed October 1, 2007. "The name Carroll comes from Charles Carroll of Maryland, a signer of the Declaration of Independence."
  8. ^ The Italians, the French, and the Catholic Shrines of Brooklyn] in Maisonneuve - article that describes the recent French influx vs. the longstanding Italian presence in the neighborhood
  9. ^ New York Daily News, 2009 - Brooklyn's old Italian stronghold is becoming more and more French
  10. ^ Mokha, Kavita (6 June 2011). "Learning to Be French in Brooklyn". The Wall Street Journal. 
  11. ^ New York Times |url= missing title (help). 
  12. ^ "Carroll Gardens Branch." Brooklyn Public Library. Retrieved on March 28, 2010.
  13. ^ Velocci, Cristina; LeWinter, Rachel (September 7, 2010). "Most stylish New Yorkers: Stacy London". Time Out. Archived from the original on June 20, 2012. Retrieved June 20, 2012. 
  14. ^ Weber, Bruce. "Jim Neu, Creator of Wry Plays, Is Dead at 66", The New York Times, July 21, 2010. Accessed July 21, 2010.
  15. ^ [1]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°40′48″N 73°59′40″W / 40.68000°N 73.99444°W / 40.68000; -73.99444