Ocean Hill, Brooklyn
Ocean Hill is a subsection of Bedford-Stuyvesant in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. Founded in 1890, the neighborhood is part of Brooklyn Community Board 16. The ZIP code for the neighborhood is 11233. The neighborhood has a diverse community with a large number of African Americans, and a small number of Caribbean and Latin Americans. Ocean Hill's boundaries start from Broadway (Bushwick) in the north, Saratoga Avenue (Stuyvesant Heights) to the west, East New York Avenue (Brownsville) in the south, and Van Sinderen Avenue (East New York) to the east.
The 73rd Precinct of the New York City Police Department covers the area. From the 1960s to early 2000s, Ocean Hill and the neighboring Brownsville experienced a high crime rate, but currently, the crime rates have reached an all-time low.
Ocean Hill is served by the A C J L Z trains of the New York City Subway, on the BMT Canarsie Line, BMT Jamaica Line, and IND Fulton Street Line, which all meet at Broadway Junction. There is also the Long Island Rail Road at nearby East New York.
Ocean Hill received its name in 1890 for being slightly hilly. Hence it was subdivided from the larger community of Stuyvesant Heights. From the beginning of the 20th century to the 1960s Ocean Hill was an Italian enclave. By the late 1960s Ocean Hill and Bedford-Stuyvesant proper together formed the largest African American community in the United States.
In 1968, the Ocean Hill-Brownsville school district experienced the worst teacher strike in history. At that time, the New York City Board of Education controlled the entire school system. In response to complaints from parents in poor minority neighborhoods that schools were failing their students, the Ford Foundation helped fund an experimental program in the district that gave control to local educators and families. The program started off smoothly, but it ended as a fiery chapter in city history. Charging that Board of Ed employees were seeking to sabotage the decentralization effort, black district leaders exiled 13 teachers and six administrators—most of them Jewish—to other districts. As the teachers’ union protested the transfers, the two sides traded harsh accusations of racism and anti-Semitism. Teachers declared a months' long strike that shuttered most of the city’s schools. The conflict finally ended when the Board of Ed agreed to set up local school boards throughout the city.
In 1977, a major blackout devastated New York City. The neighborhood experienced arson and ransacking. Many apartment buildings were badly burned and abandoned for many years like the ones in the South Bronx. Finally in the 1990s Ocean Hill experienced a revitalization as many abandoned buildings and lots were renovated.
Ocean Hill is in the process of gentrification. An increasing number of people of various ethnicities are moving into the area due to slightly lower rent prices. Many abandoned buildings and brownstones have been rehabilitated. Prospect Plaza Houses, once a notorious housing project unit, has been closed by the New York City Housing Authority and is in the process of being rebuilt under the federally funded HOPE VI program. In recent years some trendy shops have attracted businesses into Rockaway Avenue. There are attempts to overhaul the area to resemble Fort Greene-Clinton Hill due to the low rents and massive retail space. Brownstones, tenement and regular houses in the area are among the lowest in Brooklyn, ranging from $300,000 to $600,000. Many residents of Ocean Hill consider themselves residents of Bedford-Stuyvesant. The news media also uses the Bed-Stuy name 80 percent of the time. Due to gentrification many real estate developers and the community board use the name Bedford-Stuyvesant/Ocean Hill or just plainly Bedford-Stuyvesant, to avoid the neighborhood being confused with neighboring Brownsville, considered a symbol of urban decay to many.