Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

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Front gardens
Carroll Park
Smith and 9th Streets
Norwegian Seamen's Church

Carroll Gardens is a neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, USA. The area is named for Charles Carroll, the only Roman Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence.[1] Carroll Park is a block-long area of playgrounds, walkways and sitting areas between Court and Smith Streets, with Carroll Street as its southern boundary and President Street on the northern side. It was constructed in the late 19th century and is also named for Carroll.[2] The neighborhood is part of Brooklyn Community Board 6.[3]

A long-standing Italian-American neighborhood of family-run stores, Carroll Gardens is now sprinkled with cafes, boutiques and antique shops. It 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. 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.

Before Italian-Americans settled in the area, 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 that was once visited by the King of Norway during an official visit to the United States, and which still stands (although it is now a residential condominium) on the corner of First Place and Clinton Street.[4] 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.[5][6]

In 1846, Richard Butt created the "front gardens" to the famous brownstone houses in the oldest section of the neighborhood. The brownstones are set back from the street by 30–40 feet, to create atypical (for Brooklyn) large front gardens. The Carroll Gardens Historic District, which includes some of the finest examples of these brownstones with large front gardens, is bounded roughly by 3rd Place to the south, President Street to the north, Hoyt Street to the east and Smith Street to the west.

Historical sites[edit]

St Mary's Star of the Sea
  • Gowanus Canal - Canal that centers the heavily industrial areas of South Brooklyn, permitting oil barges to pass through to local fuel companies. Though heavily polluted, the canal is nonetheless occupied by a few dozen houseboats.
  • 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.
  • Old Smith Theatre, also known as Court Threate, 375 Smith Street on the corner of third and smith- Now home to Lee's Auto Services and Repairs Inc. This single screen theatre still holds a good amount of its original architecture. It's been said to have closed c1940s.
  • Mazzola Bakery, on the corner of Union and Henry streets, a neighborhood fixture for coffee, bread, and pastries.


Carroll School

The New York City Department of Education operates public schools. The Carroll School is located in Carroll Gardens.

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.[7]


On Sept. 15, 2013, a woman was stabbed on Luquer Street between Clinton Street and Hamilton Avenue after denying a man a cigarette.[8]

Notable residents[edit]

Notable current and former residents of Carroll Gardens include:

In popular culture[edit]

On September 11, 2001, many pieces of scorched paper from the Twin Towers blew into Carroll Gardens. Blue Man Group wrote a song titled Exhibit 13 in honor of those who died on September 11 featuring these papers.

Ernie Gehr's 2009 film "Waterfront Follies" was filmed on the waterfront in the area near Carroll Gardens.


  1. ^ 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."
  2. ^ 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."
  3. ^ Neighborhoods, Brooklyn Community Board 6. Accessed October 1, 2007.
  4. ^ [1], Carroll Gardens - Historic Brooklyn. Accessed October 19, 2009.
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ New York Daily News, 2009 - Brooklyn's old Italian stronghold is becoming more and more French
  7. ^ "Carroll Gardens Branch." Brooklyn Public Library. Retrieved on March 28, 2010.
  8. ^ "Woman Stabbed in Carroll Gardens After Denying Attacker a Cigarette". Sep 18, 2013. 
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ Weber, Bruce. "Jim Neu, Creator of Wry Plays, Is Dead at 66", The New York Times, July 21, 2010. Accessed July 21, 2010.
  11. ^ 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. 

External links[edit]

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