Brooklyn, New York reigns supreme as the largest of New York City’s five boroughs. Also known as Kings County, Brooklyn is home to almost 2.5 million people from a vast variety of ethnic cultures. By population, this is the seventh largest county in the U.S., and contains the third largest Afro-American population. Brooklyn is the most populated region in New York State.
Brooklyn lies on the western end of Long Island. NY’s East River, Jamaica Bay, and Upper New York Bay form Brooklyn’s borders. A series of bridges connect Brooklyn with the rest of New York City, including the famous Brooklyn Bridge, completed in 1883 and considered an engineering marvel at the time. It remains the oldest suspension bridge in America.
Brooklyn, often called the ‘Borough of Homes and Churches’, revels in its ethnic diversity. Originally settled by the Dutch in 1636, Brooklyn has become home to New York immigrants for centuries. Sixty-three distinct neighborhoods comprise Brooklyn, which is primarily residential. The largest Hasidic population in the world lives in the neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Crown Heights. Sunset Park has the second largest Chinatown in New York City, along with Latino residents, and Flatbush, a large Caribbean population. A thriving Pakistani population calls Midwood home, and African Americans settled in Bedford – Stuyvesant as freed slaves, when New York abolished slavery in 1827. A walk through Brooklyn can feel like a walk around the world, with the exciting array of ethnic restaurants and costumes, languages and atmospheres.
Census 2000 recorded Brooklyn’s racial make-up as 41% Caucasian, 37% Black, 20% Hispanic and a variety of others. Today, 10% reported Italian descent, though in the early 1900’s, Brooklyn’s claim to fame was the hotbed of Mafia that operated here. Lucky Luciano, Albert Anastasia and Meyer Lansky all came from Brooklyn.
While a vital part of dynamic New York City, Brooklyn holds a surprising amount of the great outdoors to offer. Thousands of acres of parkland contain hiking and biking trails. Miles of oceanfront beckon fishermen and shell collectors. Brooklyn’s Manhattan Beach and Marine Park are the egg-laying sites for thousands of horseshoe crabs each year. The world famous Coney Island draws visitors from all over to partake in Brooklyn’s distinct flavor of family fun.
Art and culture form an important of Brooklyn lifestyle. The Brooklyn Museum of Art is second only to the Met. The Waterfront Museum and the MTA Transit Museum preserve much of New York’s colorful history. Brooklyn comes alive at night as music from round the world plays in the numerous nightclubs and lounges. The Brooklyn Philharmonic and Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra satisfy those with classical taste. The lovely Brooklyn Botanical Garden contains stunning arrays of exotic plants.
Brooklyn, New York captures the exciting spirit and culture diversity of New York City. With its wonderful waterfront, world-class institutions, the vibrant and colorful Coney Island, Brooklyn offers something for everyone.