62 Montague Street between Pierrepont Place and Hicks Street in Brooklyn Heights (2006)
Location in New York City
|City||New York City|
|Community District||Brooklyn 2|
|• Total||0.320 sq mi (0.83 km2)|
|• Density||63,000/sq mi (24,000/km2)|
|• Median income||$119,999|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|Area code||718, 347, 929, and 917|
Brooklyn Heights is an affluent residential neighborhood within the New York City borough of Brooklyn. The neighborhood is bounded by Old Fulton Street near the Brooklyn Bridge on the north, Cadman Plaza West on the east, Atlantic Avenue on the south, and the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway or the East River on the west. Adjacent neighborhoods are Dumbo to the north, Downtown Brooklyn to the east, and Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill to the south.
Originally referred to as Brooklyn Village, it has been a prominent area of Brooklyn since 1834. The neighborhood is noted for its low-rise architecture and its many brownstone rowhouses, most of them built prior to the Civil War. It also has an abundance of notable churches and other religious institutions. Brooklyn's first art gallery, the Brooklyn Arts Gallery, was opened in Brooklyn Heights in 1958. In 1965, a large part of Brooklyn Heights was protected from unchecked development by the creation of the Brooklyn Heights Historic District, the first such district in New York City. The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.
Directly across the East River from Manhattan and connected to it by subways and regular ferry service, Brooklyn Heights is also easily accessible from Downtown Brooklyn. Columbia Heights, an upscale six-block-long street next to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, is sometimes considered to be its own neighborhood.
Brooklyn Heights is part of Brooklyn Community District 2 and its primary ZIP Code is 11201. It is patrolled by the 84th Precinct of the New York City Police Department. The New York City Fire Department operates two fire stations near Brooklyn Heights: Engine Company 205/Ladder Company 118 at 74 Middagh Street, and Engine Company 224 at 274 Hicks Street.
Brooklyn Heights occupies a plateau on a high 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.
Ferries across the East River were running as early as 1642, serving the farms in the area. The most significant of the ferries went between the current Fulton Street and Peck Slip in Manhattan, and was run by Cornelius Dirksen. The ferry service helped the lowland area to thrive, with both farms and some factories along the water, but the higher ground was sparsely used.
The area was heavily fortified prior to the Battle of Long Island in the American Revolutionary War. 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.
After the war, the 160-acre tract of land belonging to John Rapeljie, who was a Loyalist, was confiscated and sold to the Sands brothers, who tried to develop the part of the land on the palisade as a community they called "Olympia", but failed to make it come about, partly because of the difficulty of building there. They later sold part of their land to John Jackson, who created the Vinegar Hill community, much of which later became the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Brooklyn Heights began to develop once Robert Fulton's New York and Brooklyn Steam Ferry Boat Company began regularly scheduled steam ferry service in 1814, with the financial backing of Hezekiah Beers Pierrepont, one of the area's major landowners. Pierrepont had accumulated 60 acres of land, including 800 feet which directly overlooked the harbor, all of which he planned to sub-divide. Since his intention was to sell to merchants and bankers who lived in Manhattan, he needed easy access between Brooklyn Heights and New York City, which Fulton's company provided. Pierrepont bought 60 acres (24 ha) – part of the Livingston estate, plus the Benson, De Bevoise and Reemsen farms – on what was then called "Clover Hill", now Brooklyn Heights, and built a mansion there. Pierrepont purchased and expanded Philip Livingston's gin distillery on the East River at what is now Joralemon Street, where he produced Anchor Gin.
Wishing to sub-divide and develop his property, Pierrepont realized the need for regularly scheduled ferry service across the East River, and to this end he became a prominent investor in Robert Fulton's New York and Brooklyn Steam Ferry Boat Company, using his influence on Fulton's behalf; he eventually became a part owner and a director of the company. Fulton's ferry began running in 1814, and Brooklyn received a charter as a village from the state of New York in 1816, thanks to the influence of Pierrepont and other prominent landowners. The city then prepared for the establishment of a street grid, although there were competing plans for the size of the lots. John and Jacob Hicks, who also owned property on Brooklyn Heights, north of Pierrepont's, favored smaller lots, as they were pitching their land to tradesman and artisans already living in Brooklyn, not attempting to lure merchants and bankers from Manhattan as Pierrepont was. To counter the Hickses' proposal, Pierrepont hired a surveyor and submitted an alternative. In the end, the Hickses' plan was adopted north of Clark Street, and Pierrepont's, featuring 25-by-100 foot (8-by-30 meter) lots, south of it.
Thanks to the influence of Pierrepont and other landowners, Brooklyn received a charter from the state as a village in 1816, which led to streets being laid out in a regular grid pattern, sidewalks being laid, water pumps being installed and the institution of a watch. After 1823, farms begin to be sub-divided into 25-by-100-foot (7.6 by 30.5 m) lots, which were advertised as suitable for a "country retreat" for Manhattanites, leading to a building boom that resulted in Brooklyn Heights becoming the "first commuter suburb", since it was easier and faster to get to Manhattan by ferry than it was to commute from upper Manhattan by ground transportation. A resident of the Heights could leave the office at three o'clock, have dinner at home at four o'clock, and still have time for a "leisurely drive to the outskirts of town", a "middle class paradise". The community's development was helped by the yellow fever epidemic of 1822, when many of the rich from the city abandoned it for an area that was advertised as "elevated and perfectly healthy at all seasons ... a select neighborhood and circle of society."
Where there had been only seven houses in the Heights in 1807, by 1860 there were over six hundred of them, and by 1890 the area was almost completely developed. The buildings were designed in a wide variety of styles; development started in the northern part, and moved southward, so the architecture general changes in that direction as the preferred style of the time changed over the decades. Throughout the 19th century, Brooklyn Heights remained an elegant neighborhood, and became Brooklyn's cultural and financial center. Its development gave rise to offshoots such as Cobble Hill and, later, Carroll Gardens.
Prior to the Civil War, Brooklyn Heights was a locus of the Abolitionist movement, due to the speeches and activities of Henry Ward Beecher, the pastor of Plymouth Church, now the Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims. Beecher was a nationally known figure famous on the lecture circuit for his novel oratorical style, in which he employed humor, dialect, and slang. Under Beecher, so many slaves passed through Plymouth Church on their way to freedom in Canada that later generations have referred to the church as the "Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad". To dramatize the plight of those held in captivity, Beecher once brought a female slave to the church and held an auction, with the highest bidder purchasing not the slave, but her freedom. Beecher also raised money to buy other slaves out of captivity, and shipped rifles to abolitionists in Kansas and Nebraska in crates labelled "Bibles", which gave the rifles the nickname "Beecher's Bibles".
The completion of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883, the Brooklyn end of which was near Brooklyn Heights' eastern boundary, began the process of making the neighborhood more accessible from places such as Manhattan. The Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT)'s Lexington Avenue subway line, which reached Brooklyn Heights in 1908, was an even more powerful catalyst in the neighborhood's development. The resulting ease of transportation into the neighborhood and the perceived loss of the specialness and "quality" began to drive out the merchants and patricians who lived there; in time their mansions were divided to become apartment houses and boarding houses. Artists began to move into the neighborhood, as well as writers, and a number of large hotels – the St. George (1885), the Margaret (1889), the Bossert (1909), Leverich Towers (1928), and the Pierrepont (1928), among others – were constructed. By the beginning of the Great Depression, most of the middle class had left the area. Boarding houses had become rooming houses, and the neighborhood began to have the appearance of a slum.
During the 1940s and 1950s, the building of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) badly affected the neighborhood, as it took away the neighborhood's northwest corner, destroying whole rows of brownstones. At about the same time, plans began to be developed by New York's "master builder", Robert Moses, wielding the Housing Act of 1949, to replace brownstone rowhouses – which were the typical building form in the neighborhood – with large luxury apartment buildings. A prominent example of the intended outcome is the Cadman Plaza development of housing cooperatives in the northern part of the neighborhood, located on the site where the Brooklyn Bridge trolley terminal once stood. In 1959, the North Heights Community Group was formed to oppose destroying cheap low-rise housing in order to build the high-rise Cadman Plaza towers. Architect Percival Goodman presented an alternate plan to maintain all sound structures, which garnered 25,000 supporters. In early 1961, a compromise proposal came from City Hall calling for two 22-story towers with over 1,200 luxury and middle income units. The Brooklyn Heights Association fully supported the compromise plan despite strong opposition from the preservation community, including the North Heights Community Group. As a result, 1,200 residents were removed from their houses and apartments in late 1961 and early 1962 as construction began on the modified plan.
One positive development came about when community groups – prominently the Brooklyn Heights Association, founded in 1910 – joined with Moses in the creation of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, also called the Esplanade, which was cantilevered over the BQE. It became a favorite spot among locals, offering magnificent vistas of the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan skyline across the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, and spectacular fireworks displays over the East River. 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.
By the mid-1950s, a new generation of property owners had begun moving into the Heights, pioneering the "Brownstone Revival" by buying and renovating pre-Civil War period houses, which became part of the preservationist movement which culminated in the passage in 1965 of the Landmarks Preservation Law. In 1965, community groups which later became the Brooklyn Heights Association, succeeded in having the neighborhood designated the Brooklyn Heights Historic District by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, the first such district in the city. This was followed in the following decades by the further gentrification of the neighborhood into a firmly middle-class area, which became "one of New York City's most pleasant and attractive neighborhoods."
Starting in 2008, Brooklyn Bridge Park was built along the shoreline of the East River. As of 2018[update] the park was 90% complete. The Squibb Park Bridge was constructed in 2013 to provide access between the park and the rest of Brooklyn Heights, but had to be demolished in 2019 due to various structural issues.
Architecture and places of interest
Brooklyn Heights was the first neighborhood protected by the 1965 Landmarks Preservation Law of New York City. The neighborhood is largely composed of blocks of picturesque rowhouses and a few mansions. A great range of architectural styles is represented, including Greek Revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Victorian Gothic, Romanesque, Neo-Grec, and Classical Revival, as well as a few 2/1/2-story late Federal houses from the early 19th century in the northern part of the neighborhood. Some houses were constructed of brick, but the dominant building material was brownstone or "Jersey freestone", a reddish-brown stone from Passaic County, New Jersey.
A typical brownstone rowhouse was three or four stories tall, with the main floor above the street level and reached by stairs, referred to as a "stoop", a word derived from Dutch. The basement is typically a half-flight down from the street, and was used as the work area for servants, including the kitchen. The first floor would be the location of the public rooms, bedrooms were on the second floor, and servants' quarters were on the top floor. The rear of the lot would feature a private garden. Aside from rowhouses, a number of houses, particularly along Pierrepont Street and Pierrepont Place, are authentic mansions.
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 a 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 had its world headquarters in the northern part of Brooklyn Heights at 25 Columbia Heights. The organization 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 organization announced plans to begin selling off its numerous properties in the Heights and nearby downtown Brooklyn, given that it plans to relocate itself in upstate New York.
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.
Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims and Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Cathedral are located in Brooklyn Heights, as are the First Unitarian Congregational Society, the Long Island Historical Society, Packer Collegiate Institute, and St. Ann's and the Holy Trinity Church, among other historically notable buildings.
Middagh Street, one of the oldest streets in Brooklyn Heights, contains most of the remaining wood houses; this is #24, the best preserved of the group (all c.1817)
155–159 Willow Street, early 19th-century Federal houses (c.1826)
Rowhouses on Remsen Street
Appellate Division Courthouse
(Slee & Bryson, 1938)
Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of Brooklyn Heights was 22,887, a change of 339 (1.5%) from the 22,548 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 235.86 acres (95.45 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 97 inhabitants per acre (62,000/sq mi; 24,000/km2). The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 75.2% (17,210) White, 5.5% (1,259) African American, 0.2% (37) Native American, 8.8% (2,003) Asian, 0% (3) Pacific Islander, 0.4% (82) from other races, and 2.7% (618) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.3% (1,675) of the population.
The entirety of Community Board 2, which comprises Brooklyn Heights and Fort Greene, had 117,046 inhabitants as of NYC Health's 2018 Community Health Profile, with an average life expectancy of 80.6 years.:2, 20 This is slightly lower than the median life expectancy of 81.2 for all New York City neighborhoods.:53 (PDF p. 84) Most inhabitants are middle-aged adults and youth: 15% are between the ages of 0–17, 44% between 25–44, and 20% between 45–64. The ratio of college-aged and elderly residents was lower, at 9% and 12% respectively.:2
As of 2016, the median household income in Community Board 2 was $56,599. In 2018, an estimated 22% of Brooklyn Heights and Fort Greene residents lived in poverty, compared to 21% in all of Brooklyn and 20% in all of New York City. One in twelve residents (8%) were unemployed, compared to 9% in the rest of both Brooklyn and New York City. Rent burden, or the percentage of residents who have difficulty paying their rent, is 39% in Brooklyn Heights and Fort Greene, lower than the citywide and boroughwide rates of 52% and 51% respectively. Based on this calculation, as of 2018[update], Brooklyn Heights and Fort Greene are considered to be high-income relative to the rest of the city and not gentrifying.:7
Police and crime
Brooklyn Heights is patrolled by the 84th Precinct of the NYPD, located at 301 Gold Street. The 84th Precinct ranked 60th-safest out of 69 patrol areas for per-capita crime in 2010. This was attributed to a high rate of property crimes in the neighborhood. With a non-fatal assault rate of 40 per 100,000 people, Brooklyn Heights and Fort Greene's rate of violent crimes per capita is less than that of the city as a whole. The incarceration rate of 401 per 100,000 people is lower than that of the city as a whole.:8
The 84th Precinct has a lower crime rate than in the 1990s, with crimes across all categories having decreased by 82.3% between 1990 and 2018. The precinct reported 2 murders, 18 rapes, 147 robberies, 184 felony assaults, 126 burglaries, 650 grand larcenies, and 31 grand larcenies auto in 2018.
Brooklyn Heights is served by two New York City Fire Department (FDNY) fire stations. Engine Co. 205/Ladder Co. 118 is located at 74 Middagh Street, serving the northern part of the neighborhood, while Engine Co. 224 is located at 274 Hicks Street, serving the southern part of the neighborhood.
Preterm and teenage births are less common in Brooklyn Heights and Fort Greene than in other places citywide. In Brooklyn Heights and Fort Greene, there were 74 preterm births per 1,000 live births (compared to 87 per 1,000 citywide), and 11.6 teenage births per 1,000 live births (compared to 19.3 per 1,000 citywide).:11 Brooklyn Heights and Fort Greene have a relatively low population of residents who are uninsured, or who receive healthcare through Medicaid. In 2018, this population of uninsured residents was estimated to be 4%, which is lower than the citywide rate of 12%. However, this estimate was based on a small sample size.:14
The concentration of fine particulate matter, the deadliest type of air pollutant, in Brooklyn Heights and Fort Greene is 0.0088 milligrams per cubic metre (8.8×10−9 oz/cu ft), lower than the citywide and boroughwide averages.:9 Eleven percent of Brooklyn Heights and Fort Greene residents are smokers, which is slightly lower than the city average of 14% of residents being smokers.:13 In Brooklyn Heights and Fort Greene, 24% of residents are obese, 6% are diabetic, and 25% have high blood pressure—compared to the citywide averages of 24%, 11%, and 28% respectively.:16 In addition, 14% of children are obese, compared to the citywide average of 20%.:12
Eighty-eight percent of residents eat some fruits and vegetables every day, which is slightly higher than the city's average of 87%. In 2018, 86% of residents described their health as "good," "very good," or "excellent," more than the city's average of 78%.:13 For every supermarket in Brooklyn Heights and Fort Greene, there are 12 bodegas.:10
Post offices and ZIP Code
Brooklyn Heights is covered by ZIP Code 11201. The United States Post Office operates three locations nearby: the DUMBO Automated Postal Center at 84 Front Street, the Cadman Plaza Station at 271 Cadman Plaza East, and the Municipal Station at 210 Joralemon Street.
Brooklyn Heights and Fort Greene generally have a higher ratio of college-educated residents than the rest of the city. The majority of residents (64%) have a college education or higher, while 11% have less than a high school education and 25% are high school graduates or have some college education. By contrast, 40% of Brooklynites and 38% of city residents have a college education or higher.:6 The percentage of Brooklyn Heights and Fort Greene students excelling in math rose from 27 percent in 2000 to 50 percent in 2011, and reading achievement rose from 34% to 41% during the same time period.
Brooklyn Heights and Fort Greene's rate of elementary school student absenteeism is about equal to the rest of New York City. In Brooklyn Heights and Fort Greene, 20% of elementary school students missed twenty or more days per school year, the same as the citywide average.:24 (PDF p. 55):6 Additionally, 75% of high school students in Brooklyn Heights and Fort Greene graduate on time, equal to the citywide average.:6
St. Ann's School, a K–12 school, is located in the neighborhood, with the main campus at 129 Pierrepont Street. Packer Collegiate Institute, a K-12 school, has also been located in the neighborhood, at 170 Joralemon Street, since its 1845 founding.
St. 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[update], 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. The college has also been ranked by both Forbes magazine and U.S. News & World Report as one of the top baccalaureate colleges in the north.
Brooklyn Heights is also the location of Brooklyn Law School, founded in 1901.
The Brooklyn Public Library (BPL)'s Brooklyn Heights branch is located at 109 Remsen Street. The branch was formerly located at 280 Cadman Plaza West, which was shared with the Business & Career Library, but that site was sold to a developer and demolished.
Brooklyn Heights' first library was founded in 1857 by the Mercantile Library Association of the City of Brooklyn. The first BPL branch in the neighborhood, the Montague Street branch, was opened in 1903. The Brooklyn Heights branch building at 280 Cadman Plaza West opened in 1962 and originally contained an auditorium and children's room. It was renovated and expanded from 1990 to 1993, and upon the completion of the renovation, the Brooklyn Heights branch shared the site with the Business & Career Library. In 2013, BPL announced its intent to sell 280 Cadman Plaza West, and as part of this announcement, the Business and Career Library's functions were relocated to BPL's Central Branch. BPL then sold the Brooklyn Heights branch to developer Hudson Companies. Hudson Companies then demolished the structure and replaced it with a 34-story condominium, which would contain a smaller library at its base when it is completed in 2020. In the interim, the BPL branch moved to the temporary 109 Remsen Street location.
Brooklyn Heights is serviced by numerous subway services, specifically the A, C, F, <F>, N, R, and W trains at Jay Street–MetroTech; the 2 and 3 trains at Clark Street; and the 2, 3, 4, 5, N, R, and W trains at Borough Hall/Court Street.
Although no bus routes actually stop in Brooklyn Heights, many MTA Regional Bus Operations bus routes are located nearby in Downtown Brooklyn. The B25 also stops in Dumbo/Fulton Ferry, while the B61 and B63 serve Cobble Hill.
Many of the streets in Brooklyn Heights are named after people who figured prominently in the neighborhood's history.
- Adams Street – John Adams, second President of the United States; originally named "Congress Street"
- Aitken Place – Monsignor Ambrose Aitken of St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Church
- Cadman Plaza – Samuel Parkes Cadman, pastor of the Central Congregational Church
- Clark Street – William Clark, ship's captain
- Clinton Street – DeWitt Clinton, mayor of New York City, governor of New York state, three time Presidential candidate
- College Place – named after the Brooklyn Collegiate Institute for Young Ladies (1829-1842); the building became the Mansion House Hotel in 1875
- Court Street – renamed from "George Street" in 1835, even though there were no courts nearby
- Doughty Street – Charles Doughty, 18th century lawyer, helped create the Village of Brooklyn
- Elizabeth Place – Elizabeth Cornell, built the first Pierrepont mansion
- Fulton Street, Old Fulton Street – Robert Fulton, introduced steam ferry service between Brooklyn Heights and Manhattan; Old Fulton Street was originally to have been named "Kings Highway", and Fulton Street was "Main Street"
- Furman Street – William Furman, state legislator
- Garden Place – originally part of Philip Livingston's garden
- Grace Court, Grace Court Alley – named after Grace Church
- Henry Street – Dr. Thomas Henry, president of the Kings County Medical Society
- Hicks Street – John and Jacob Hicks, 17th century ferry operators
- Hunts Lane – John Hunt, early purchaser of land from Hezekiah Pierrepont
- Joralemon Street – Teunis Joralemon, saddle maker
- Livingston Street – Philip Livingston, the only signer of the Declaration of Independence who was from Brooklyn
- Middagh Street – the Middaghs, a pre-Revolutionary War family
- Monroe Place – James Monroe, fifth President of the United States; the widest street in Brooklyn Heights
- Montague Street – Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, English feminist and activist for smallpox inoculation, a member of the Pierrepont family; originally named "Constable Street" after Anna Marie Constable Pierrepoint
- Pierrepont Street, Pierrepont Place – Hezekiah Pierrepoint, the "founder" of Brooklyn Heights
- Remsen Street – Henry Remsen, son of Ram Jensen Vanderbeeck, a 17th-century blacksmith
- Schermerhorn Street – Peter and Andrew Schermerhorn, merchants and landowners
- Sidney Place – Sir Philip Sidney; originally "Monroe Place" until 1853
- Tillary Street – James Tillary, who worked on finding a cure for yellow fever
Concerning the "fruit streets" in Brooklyn Heights – Cranberry, Orange and Pineapple Streets – the WPA Guide to New York City reports that before the Civil War, these streets, along with Poplar and Willow Streets, were named after prominent families, but that a member of the Middagh family expressed her dislike of these families by replacing the street signs with botanical names. The city would restore the proper names, and Middagh would put back her own signs. Several iterations of this game ended when Middagh's new names were given official status by a resolution of the alderman. In Historically Speaking, Brooklyn borough historian John B. Manbeck says only that these street names "have questionable origins," as does Love Lane, which reputedly gets its name from the meetings that took place there between a pretty girl who lived nearby and her suitors.
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There have been many noted residents of Brooklyn Heights. The dates listed are their respective birth and death dates. Famous residents include:
- W. H. Auden (1907–1973), poet, lived with Benjamin Britten and Carson McCullers at 7 Middagh Street
- Tyra Banks (born 1973), television personality, producer, author, actress, and former model
- Javier Bardem (born 1969), actor
- Alfred Smith Barnes (1817-1888), publisher and philanthropist
- James Purdy (1924–2009), novelist, poet, playwright
- Haley Bennett (born 1988), actress, singer and dancer
- Matthew Barney (born 1967), artist
- John Ries Bartels (1897-1997), United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
- Henry Ward Beecher (1813–1887), clergyman, social reformer and abolitionist
- Paul Bettany (born 1971), actor
- Björk (born 1965), musician
- Alexis Bledel (born 1981), actress
- Emily Blunt (born 1983), actress.
- Lee Breuer (born 1937), playwright and theater director
- Benjamin Britten (1913-1976), composer, lived with W. H. Auden and Carson McCullers at 7 Middagh Street
- Matthew Broderick (born 1962), actor
- Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996), Nobel Prize winner and U.S. Poet Laureate
- Gabriel Byrne (born 1950), actor
- Truman Capote (1924–1984), author, lived at 70 Willow Street
- Ron Chernow (born 1949), Pulitzer prize-winning author and historian
- Jennifer Connelly (born 1970), actress
- Hart Crane (1899–1932), poet
- Scott Crary (born 1978), director and producer
- Penélope Cruz (born 1974), actress
- Michelle Williams (born 1980), actress
- Matt Damon (born 1970), actor
- Pete Davidson (born 1993), stand-up comedian
- Adam Driver (born 1983), actor who appeared as Kylo Ren in the Star Wars sequel trilogy.
- W. E. B. Du Bois (1868–1963), sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, author and editor
- Lena Dunham (born 1986), actress, writer and director
- Andrea Dworkin (1946–2005), author
- Bonnie Erickson (born 1941), designer of puppets, costumes, toys, and graphics, best known for her work with Jim Henson and The Muppets where her creations include Miss Piggy.
- William Everdell (born 1941), historian, author and teacher
- Abram Fitkin (1878–1933), investment banker and philanthropist
- Tom Frieden, infectious disease and public health expert, who was director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Elizabeth Gaffney (born 1966), novelist
- Jason Gedrick (born 1965), actor
- Paul Giamatti (born 1967), actor
- Hetty Green (1834–1916), businesswoman known for both her wealth and her miserliness
- Peter Hedges (born 1962), novelist, playwright, screenwriter and film director
- John Krasinski (born 1979), actor
- Amy Lee (born 1981) singer and musician
- Philip Levine (1928–2015), poet
- Joe Lhota (born 1954), public servant and a former politician, who served as the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
- Grace Denio Litchfield (1849–1944), poet and novelist
- Philip Livingston (1716–1778), one of New York's four signers of the United States Declaration of Independence.
- H. P. Lovecraft (1890–1937), short-story writer, editor, novelist and poet.
- Norman Mailer (1923–2007), novelist.
- Norris Church Mailer (1949-2010), author who was the wife of Norman Mailer.
- Carson McCullers (1917–1967), writer, lived with W. H. Auden and Benjamin Britten at 7 Middagh Street
- Arthur Miller (1915–2005), playwright, essayist
- Henry Miller (1891–1980), author
- Marilyn Monroe (1926–1962), actress, model, singer, film producer
- Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689–1762), a cousin of the Pierrepont family, best remembered for bringing the concept of inoculation against smallpox to the attention of the British public; Montague Street was named after her
- Mary Tyler Moore (1936–2017), actress
- Errol Morris (born 1948), film director
- Gary Oldman (born 1958), English actor and filmmaker
- Mary-Louise Parker (born 1964), actress and writer.
- Sarah Jessica Parker (born 1965), actress
- Joseph Pennell (1857–1926), painter
- Hezekiah Pierrepont (1768–1838), merchant, farmer, landowner and land developer in Brooklyn and New York State
- Suzanne Pleshette (1937–2008), actress and voice actress
- John Podhoretz (born 1961), commentator
- Ernest Poole (1880–1950), novelist
- Vasant Rai (1942–1985), musician
- Marky Ramone (born 1952), former drummer of punk rock band the Ramones.
- Noel Rockmore (1928–1995), American painter, draughtsman, and sculptor
- John A. Roebling (1806–1869), civil engineer and designer of the Brooklyn Bridge
- John A. Roebling II (1867-1952), engineer and philanthropist
- Washington Roebling (1837–1926), civil engineer best known for his work on the Brooklyn Bridge, son of John Roebling
- Keri Russell (born 1976), actress
- Amy Ryan (born 1969), actress
- Matthew Rhys (born 1974), actor
- Mia Sara (born 1967), actress
- Alexander Skarsgard (born 1976), actor
- Oliver Smith (1918–1984), stage designer, owned 60 Willow Street
- Peter Steele (1962–2010), musician, ex-Brooklyn Heights Promenade park supervisor
- Dan Stevens (born 1982), actor
- William C. Thompson (1924-2018), New York State Senator and Justice of the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division
- Sigrid Undset (1882–1949), Norwegian author, resided in the U.S. in exile during World War II
- John Utendahl (born 1962), owner of the Utendahl Group, one of the largest African American-owned investment banking groups in the United States
- Andrew VanWyngarden (born 1983), musician, MGMT
- Vincent Kartheiser (born 1979), actor
- Walt Whitman (1819–1892), poet and editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
- Bill W. (1895–1971 as William Griffith Wilson), co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous in a town house at 182 Clinton Street.
- Thomas Wolfe (1900–1938), novelist
- Joe Wright (born 1972), English film director
- Thomas Kail (born 1977), American film director
- David Yassky (born 1964), Dean Emeritus of Pace University School of Law
- Adam Yauch (1964–2012), founding member of the Beastie Boys
- Thaddeus Young (born 1988), power forward for the Indiana Pacers.
- Louis Zukofsky (1904–1978), poet
In popular culture
- The 1960s TV show The Patty Duke Show was set at 8 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, and the neighborhood received a name check in the theme song, in which "Patty's only seen the sights a girl can see from Brooklyn Heights."
- The 1975 movie Three Days of the Condor, directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway, had the fictional residence of Dunaway's character located at 9 Cranberry Street in Brooklyn Heights.
- The 1977 horror film The Sentinel featured exterior shots along the Promenade, most notably of the southernmost building at 13 Remsen Street. 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.
- The area was also the main setting of The Cosby Show (1984–1992) where the Huxtable family resided in a two-story brownstone at 10 Stigwood Avenue, a fictional address in Brooklyn Heights.
- The 1987 romantic comedy film Moonstruck, starring Cher and Nicolas Cage, is set in the neighborhood.
- Canadian drag queen Brooke Lynn Hytes’s name comes from the neighborhood. She was a runner-up on the eleventh season of RuPaul's Drag Race.
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- See Schneider, Martin L. Battling for Brooklyn Heights: The Fight for New York's First Historic District Brooklyn, New York: Brooklyn Heights Press, 2010; and Schneider, Martin L. and Junkersfeld, Karl. "Brooklyn Is My Neighborhood: The Story of New York’s First Historic District" (video) Brooklyn, New York: Brooklyn Heights Press, 2010
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- "How a New Generation of Designers Is Shaking Up Storied Fashion Houses", Vogue (magazine), February 13, 2018. Accessed June 3, 2018. "Back in Brooklyn Heights with her rescue dog, River, Bennett’s personal goal is about 'transforming and decorating my house. I have 60 pairs of shoes—and no forks.'"
- Plitt, Amy. "Björk Nabs Brooklyn Heights Penthouse From Her Ex for $1.6M", Curbed New York, January 5, 2016. Accessed June 20, 2017. "In 2009, Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk and her now ex-husband, artist Matthew Barney, snagged the penthouse apartment at 160 Henry Street on a quiet stretch in Brooklyn Heights. But the couple has since split up, and now Luxury Listings NYC reports that the delightfully kooky musician has bought her ex out of the 3,000-square-foot pad, to the tune of $1,611,325."
- Rasmussen, Fred. "John Bartels, 99, nation's oldest sitting federal judge", The Baltimore Sun, February 20, 1997. Accessed January 6, 2019. "John R. Bartels, a senior federal judge of the Eastern District of New York and former Baltimorean, died Feb. 13 of heart failure in Brooklyn, N.Y.... He made his home in Brooklyn Heights."
- Huget, Jennifer LaRue. "On the trail of Henry Ward Beecher in Brooklyn, with stuffed doll in tow", The Washington Post, October 24, 2013. Accessed October 22, 2017. "This year marks the 200th anniversary of Beecher’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, for which he fervently pressed. So we Hugets decided to pay homage to 'The Great Divine' by visiting his spiritual home base in leafy, brownstone-lined Brooklyn Heights."
- "The Truth About Vincent Kartheiser". BlackBook. June 20, 2013.
- Walker, Ameena. "Emily Blunt and John Krasinski buy $11M Brooklyn Heights condo 13 The couple purchased two adjacent units that can be combined to create a full-floor residence", Curbed New York, January 9, 2019. Accessed January 17, 2019.
- Grode, Eric. "Pigs, Ants, Karma, Dogs, Love and LossLee Breuer Prepares La Divina Caricatura", The New York Times, December 5, 2013. Accessed October 22, 2017. "The hallway leading into Lee Breuer’s Brooklyn Heights studio apartment isn’t particularly wide, but room has been made for an entire bookcase devoted to travel guides."
- Wikipedia Joseph Brodsky Accessed April 24, 2019. "Brodsky died of a heart attack aged 55, at his apartment in Brooklyn Heights, a neighborhood of Brooklyn borough of New York City, on January 28, 1996. Citation from NY Times.
- Polsky, Sara. "Gabriel Byrne's $4.7M Brooklyn Heights Townhouse in Contract", Curbed, April 8, 2010. Accessed October 22, 2017. "Is Brooklyn Heights resident, In Treatment star, and Dock Street Dumbo hater Gabriel Byrne planning a move out of the neighborhood? Maybe so! Brooklyn Heights Blog notices that Byrne's on-the-market townhouse at 14 Garden Place has gone into contract."
- Manbeck (2008), p.107
- Taylor, Chuck. "Brooklyn Heights Resident & Pulitzer Winner Ron Chernow Receives BIO Award", Brooklyn Heights Blog, May 20, 2013. Accessed June 20, 2017. "Brooklyn Heights resident Ron Chernow, who won a 2011 Pulitzer Prize for his biography Washington: A Life, as well as a place in the Brooklyn Heights Blog's Top 10 that year, has received the BIO award from the non-profit Biographers International Organization."
- Shone, Tom. "Jennifer Connelly: A Beautiful MindShe may not submit to Hollywood's sunny, mostly blond formula for stardom, but maybe that's because after her years at Saint Ann's and Yale, Jennifer Connelly knows better.", Variety (magazine), May 14, 2015. Accessed October 22, 2017. "Something similar, one suspects, is true of Connelly herself, who grew up primarily in Brooklyn Heights, where she attended the prestigious Saint Ann's School."
- Crary, Scott (November 14, 2014). Kill Your Idols 10th Anniversary Q&A (Speech). Nitehawk Cinema. New York City. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
- Mason, Wyatt. "Adam Driver Is A Force To Be Reckoned With", Esquire, November 20, 2017. Accessed January 6, 2019. "On a summery afternoon in late September, I arranged to meet Adam Driver near his home in Brooklyn Heights."
- Staff. "W. E. B. DuBois Dies in Ghana; Negro Leader and Author, 95", The New York Times, October 23, 1963. Accessed October 22, 2017. "Dr. DuBois' home in this country was at 31 Grace Court, Brooklyn."
- Staff. "Girls creator Lena Dunham's guide to New York City", AM New York, February 20, 2016. Accessed June 20, 2017. "The quaint neighborhood spot Iris Cafe in Brooklyn Heights is a favorite brunch spot for locals. Dunham has long ties to the Heights: She lived in the neighborhood in her youth, went to school at nearby St. Ann's and moved into the neighborhood in 2012."
- O'Neill, Gail. "Miss Piggy’s creator, Bonnie Erickson, speaks about her work as a woman of The Muppets", ArtsATL, February 27, 2018. accessed January 6, 2019. "In advance of the event, ArtsATL reached out to Erickson at her home in Brooklyn Heights, New York, to discuss her work as a female creator in the Muppet Workshop and to learn more about the origins of her most famous female creation, Miss Piggy."
- via CNN Wire. "Former CDC head Tom Frieden charged with forcibly touching woman", WTVR-TV, August 24, 2018. Accessed January 6, 2019. "Dr. Thomas Frieden, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was arrested Friday and charged with forcible touching, according to the New York Police Department. A law enforcement official told CNN that authorities filed three charges against Frieden stemming from an alleged incident in his home in Brooklyn Heights in October."
- Patalano, Heidi. "The Subway is One of Paul Giamatti's 'Favorite Things'" Archived 2016-01-01 at the Wayback Machine, DNAinfo.com, October 3, 2013. Accessed June 30, 2017. "How did you settle on Brooklyn Heights? I think it was just something pretty mellow and different from where I had lived, which was in the Lower East Side.... I had had a kid at that point, so it was just somewhere more mellow for the kid."
- Rosenblum, Constance. "'Hetty': Scrooge in Hoboken", The New York Times, December 19, 2004. Accessed October 22, 2017. "Through it all she lived in small apartments in Brooklyn Heights and even -- horror of horrors! -- Hoboken."
- Agresta, Michael. "Peter Hedges in Real LifeThe writer/director returns to his roots with new novel The Heights", The Austin Chronicle, March 19, 2010. Accessed October 22, 2017. "[AC]: You live in Brooklyn Heights. Did you find yourself borrowing details from your own life? More or less than in your Iowa novels? [PH]: No, actually. My second novel, An Ocean in Iowa, is the closest thing I've written to my own life. There may be little details – descriptions of what's in a sock drawer, or the architecture of an apartment, the smell of a meal – but no, I was very determined to not write about the people in my neighborhood."
- Kan, Elianna. "My Lost Poet", The Paris Review, February 23, 2015. Accessed January 17, 2019. "In the spring of 2012, Philip Levine delivered a lecture at the Library of Congress called “My Lost Poets,” marking the end of his tenure as the eighteenth U.S. poet laureate.... I arrived at his home on Willow Street in Brooklyn Heights just as he and his wife, Franny, were finishing lunch."
- Rose, Joel. "New York's Next Mayor, Bound To Be A Brooklynite", WNPR, September 21, 2013. Accessed January 6, 2019. "On Thursday, Republican candidate Joe Lhota shook hands with voters pouring out of the subway a few blocks from his home in Brooklyn Heights."
- "Litchfield, Grace Denio (1849-1944)", Woman's Literary Club of Baltimore. Accessed January 17, 2019. "Grace Denio Litchfield was born in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn."
- Kiemer, Cynthia A. "Philip Livingston", New York State Museum. Accessed January 17, 2019. "Livingston also speculated heavily in real estate, accumulating more than 120,000 acres of unimproved land in New York and lesser holdings in New Jersey and Connecticut. He owned urban property in Albany and New York City, including his Manhattan home on Duke Street and a country estate in Brooklyn Heights."
- "H. P. Lovecraft's Brooklyn Heights Home", Poets & Writers. Accessed January 17, 2019. "Novelist H. P. Lovecraft moved to the first-floor apartment at 169 Clinton Street in 1925 after separating from his wife Sonia Greene."
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- Berger, Joseph. "Norris Church Mailer, Artist and Ally, Dies at 61", The New York Times, November 21, 2010. Accessed January 6, 2019. "Norris Church Mailer, a woman bred in the rural poverty of Arkansas who married Norman Mailer and managed his career and family life over three decades while carving out her own niche as a writer, died on Sunday at her home in Brooklyn Heights."
- Tippins, Sherill (February 6, 2005). "Genius and High Jinks at 7 Middagh Street". The New York Times. Retrieved June 21, 2008.
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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.
- Plitt, Amy. "Director Errol Morris lists his lovely Brooklyn Heights duplex for $2M; The duplex, located in a 19th-century townhouse, has quite the artistic pedigree", Curbed New York, August 5, 2016. Accesssed January 17, 2019. "The listing for this Brooklyn Heights co-op touts that it was "once owned by an important artist," but it’s unclear if the broker is referring to its former occupant, Nobel Prize-winner and former Poet Laureate Joseph Brodsky, or the current seller: director Errol Morris, the mind behind such films as The Thin Blue Line, The Fog of War, and Standard Operating Procedure."
- Morris, Bob. "Mary-Louise Parker on Life With and Without Men", The New York Times, November 15, 2015. Accessed January 6, 2018. "The other day in the Brooklyn Heights duplex Mary-Louise Parker shares with her two children and Mrs. Roosevelt, a cocker spaniel in a red diaper, the actress was stroking one of the oyster shells she keeps in a bowl in her living room."
- Gates, Anita. "Suzanne Pleshette, Actress, Dies at 70", The New York Times, January 21, 2008. Accessed January 18, 2020. "Suzanne Pleshette was born Jan. 31, 1937, in Brooklyn Heights, to Eugene Pleshette, who managed the Paramount and Brooklyn Paramount theaters, and Gloria Kaplan Pleshette, a former dancer."
- Kelly, Brendan. "Heavy Montréal: Marky Ramone pays tribute to his fallen brothers with Blitzkrieg", Montreal Gazette, August 5, 2015. Accessed January 6, 2019. "On the phone from his home in Brooklyn Heights this week, Marky said he knew the band had it from the very first time he saw them at the Manhattan punk hot spot CBGB in 1974."
- Lohrer, Fred E. "John A. Roebling, II (1867-1952), Builder of the Red Hill Estate (1929-1941), Lake Placid, Florida" Archived 2018-04-02 at the Wayback Machine, Archbold Biological Station, October 2, 2006, last updated July 17, 2017. Accessed October 24, 2018.
- Price, Lydia. "Keri Russell & Matthew Rhys: Inside Their Love Story", People (magazine), January 16, 2016. Accessed June 20, 2017. "Evidence began to pile up in favor of the former when the twosome was spotted walking around Russell’s neighborhood in Brooklyn Heights a few days before Christmas 2013."
- Anderson, Jack. "Oliver Smith, Set Designer, Dead at 75", The New York Times, January 25, 1994. Accessed October 22, 2017. "Oliver Smith, one of the most prolific and imaginative designers in the history of the American theater and a former co-director of American Ballet Theater, died on Sunday at his home in Brooklyn Heights."
- Roberts, Sam. "William C. Thompson, Pioneering Black Legislator and Judge, Dies at 94", The New York Times, January 3, 2019. Accessed January 6, 2019. "William C. Thompson, a former Brooklyn legislator and judge who was in the vanguard of the black Democrats who staked their claim to elective office beginning in the mid-1960s, died on Dec. 24 at his home in Brooklyn Heights."
- "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.
- Pollak, Michael. "Dancing in the Street", The New York Times, February 12, 2010. Accessed January 6, 2019. "Not exactly, but close. The town house at 182 Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights, which is for sale for just under $3 million, was the birthplace and childhood home of Lois B. Wilson, and it was where she and her husband, Bill Wilson, moved back in with her parents when his drinking had left him unable to support his family. In his speeches and writings, Mr. Wilson, known as Bill W. until his death in 1971, traced the history of the movement to 1934 and 'the kitchen table at Clinton Street,' where he and a former drinking buddy discussed the principles that led to the program's influential 12 steps to health."
- Kaminer, Ariel. "Pace Picks Yassky, Ex-Taxi Chief, as Its Law School Dean", The New York Times, February 26, 2014. Accessed January 6, 2019. "Starting in April, its law school will be led by David S. Yassky, who served as taxi commissioner under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and greeted all riders from their seat-back televisions.... He plans to commute to his new job by subway from his home in Brooklyn Heights."
- Carlson, Jen. "Adam 'MCA' Yauch Will Get Brooklyn Heights Playground Named After Him On Friday" Archived 2015-04-08 at the Wayback Machine, Gothamist, May 1, 2013. Accessed May 25, 2017. "This Saturday will mark one year since Adam 'MCA' Yauch died at 47-years-old, following a three year battle with cancer. After his death, word spread that Squibb Park in Brooklyn Heights (where Yauch grew up) may be renamed for him, but Kathleen Hanna soon stopped that rumor."
- Kell, Jennifer Gould. "Nets star Thaddeus Young buys home court in Brooklyn Heights", New York Post, September 20, 2015. Accessed May 25, 2017. "Welcome to Brooklyn! Thaddeus Young may be from Memphis, but ritzy Brooklyn Heights is the Nets star’s new home."
- Scroggins, Mark. "A Biographical Essay on Louis Zukofsky", University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. Accessed May 25, 2017. "The 'matter' of the movement is the daily life of the Zukofsky family, including a walk by Paul and Louis across the Brooklyn Bridge to the Duane Street Fire Museum and back to their Brooklyn Heights apartment."
- "The Patty Duke Show" TV.com
- Freudenheim, Ellen. The Brooklyn Experience: The Ultimate Guide to Neighborhoods & Noshes, Culture & the Cutting Edge, p. 110. Rutgers University Press, 2016. ISBN 9780813577449 Accessed October 22, 2017. "A scene in Robert Redford's film Three Days of the Condor was shot at 9 Cranberry Street."
- Fink, Homer. "Give the Gift of Movies Filmed in Brooklyn Heights" Brooklyn Heights (November 23, 2014)
- Carlson, Jen. "TV Flashback: The Cosby Show" Archived 2010-03-29 at the Wayback Machine, Gothamist, February 21, 2010. Accessed October 22, 2017. "On the show, the Huxtable family lived in a brownstone at 10 Stigwood Avenue in Brooklyn Heights—however, exterior shots of their home were taken at 10 Leroy Street in Greenwich Village."
- Sullivan, J. Courtney. "Moonstruck House Sells, Recalling Fight for Preservation", The New York Times, August 30, 2008. Accessed October 22, 2017. "The locals know the four-story Federal-style brownstone at Cranberry and Willow Streets in Brooklyn Heights as the Moonstruck House because it was the setting for the 1987 movie starring Cher and Nicolas Cage."
- Burrows, Edwin G. & Wallace, Mike (1999). Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-195-11634-8.
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- Applegate, Debby. The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher. Doubleday, 2006.
- Capote, Truman. A House On the Heights, with a new introduction by George Plimpton. Little Bookroom, 2002.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Brooklyn Heights.|
- "Living in Brooklyn Heights" slideshow from The New York Times