Take a walk through Brooklyn's many neighborhoods.
The beauty of Brooklyn (and its 71 square miles!) is that it's an area made up of so many unique districts and cultural pockets. From Coney Island to Crown Heights, here are some of Brooklyn's most diverse neighborhoods.
Located in southwestern Brooklyn, Bay Ridge is filled with magnificent mansions and offers stunning views of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
When you think of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, images of John Travolta's dance moves in Saturday Night Fever may come to mind. The movie, which was filmed in Bay Ridge in 1977, is just one of the historic pieces of the neighborhood's past.
Developed in 1879 as a resort town for wealthy Manhattanites (before then, farmers controlled the land), Bay Ridge's harborside location became a popular destination for all once public transportation began to service the area. With its quaint streets and ample park space, Bay Ridge today maintains the peaceful charm of a waterfront resort. Its borders are 65th Street on the north, 101st Street on the south, I-278 on the east, and Shore Road (and the harbor) on its west.
The family-oriented neighborhood, historically Irish and Italian, is home to a large Arab community as well as groups of Russians, Greeks, and Chinese-American citizens. Standing at the edge of the neighborhood is the beautiful Verrazano-Narrow Bridge, which connects Brooklyn to Staten Island.
Bay Ridge is a neighborhood known for its historic mansions and homes. The building pictured, known locally as the "Gingerbread House," and officially as the Howard E. and Jessie Jones House, was built in 1916. This landmarked structure is an example of the "Arts & Crafts" architectural movement. Other famed Bay Ridge houses include a home built for the founder of the Red Cross in 1900 and the James Farrell House, built in 1847, the second-oldest structure in the area.
Brooklyn Heights attracts visitors and residents not only because of its proximity to Manhattan but also for its charming brownstones and tree-lined streets.
Brooklyn Heights, from its perch on the East River waterfront, offers stunning views of the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge. The best spot to take in the view? Make your way to the popular 1,826-foot long Brooklyn Heights promenade, where families, joggers, and tourists all come together to enjoy the waterfront.
A walk through the beautiful streets of Brooklyn Heights is rewarding, too. Bordered by Atlantic Avenue to the south, Cadman Park and Court Street to the east, the East River to the west, and Old Fulton Street to the north, Brooklyn Heights has long been an affluent area of Brooklyn. The neighborhood is filled with historic brownstone buildings and charming residential blocks.
Brooklyn Heights is also home to the Brooklyn Historical Society Museum; the St. George Hotel, which was once New York City's largest hotel; and a large open-air green market at Borough Hall, one of Brooklyn's largest transportation hubs.
Cobble Hill is marked by charming tree-lined streets and historic brownstones.
Located just south of Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill offers something for everyone. The neighborhood's two main thoroughfares, Court Street and Smith Street, boast hip shops and boutiques; popular restaurants like Bar Tabac, Café LULUc, and Patois; and the Cobble Hill Cinema, a neighborhood favorite. Court Street's Staubitz Market (established in 1917) is one of New York City's oldest and most popular butchers.
Once an Italian neighborhood, today Cobble Hill only consists of about 40 square blocks. Beautiful brownstones, a half-acre park, and historic buildings make the neighborhood a destination for New Yorkers of all ages.
Located on the Southern tip of Brooklyn, Coney Island boasts a beach; a historic amusement park; and--once a year--hundreds and hundreds of mermaids.
Coney Island has many claims to fame, and if you find yourself spending a day in this lively neighborhood, you'll find plenty to keep you busy. Whether you're interested in sunning on the beach, strolling the boardwalk, or taking a ride on the historic Wonder Wheel (built in 1920), you'll be taking part in long-standing New York traditions.
It's those traditions that give Coney Island its charm. No trip is complete without sampling a hot dog from the original "Nathan's Famous," which opened in 1916 and, every year on the Fourth of July, hosts a now-famous hot dog eating competition. During the annual Mermaid Parade, people dressed as mermaids and sea creatures flock the area, making for a bizarre scene that people love.
Home also to the New York Aquarium and Keyspan Park, Coney Island may not be the elite seaside resort it was in the 1800s, but it's one of Brooklyn's most extraordinary neighborhoods, and even today offers good times for all.
Crown Heights, with its large Hasidic Jewish population and thriving Caribbean community, may be one of Brooklyn's most diverse neighborhoods.
Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood has seen its share of ups and downs. Once a wealthy suburb, racial unrest between the area's Caribbean and Orthodox Jewish populations has long been a problem.
It's this diversity, though, that makes Crown Heights so unique. Kosher delis stand next to soul food restaurants. The neighborhood holds the worldwide headquarters of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic Jewish religion and hosts, too, the famed annual West Indian American Day Parade, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from throughout the country.
Home also to the Brooklyn Children's Museum and the Jewish Children's Museum, Crown Heights has no shortage of cultural attractions.
The word "DUMBO" actually comes from an acronym that stands for "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass."
Located between the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge, the spacious buildings and cobblestone streets that make up the once industrial DUMBO neighborhood now attract artists and families alike.
Why DUMBO? Besides its proximity to Manhattan (it's just one subway stop away), the neighborhood offers stylish shops and restaurants, several art galleries, and sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline.
DUMBO's Empire-Fulton Ferry Park is a waterfront green space perfect for picnicking and people watching. The park is especially popular during the summer when DUMBO hosts "Movies with a View," a free outdoor movie series that brings thousands of people to the area.
Dyker Heights is a residential neighborhood located between Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst in southwest Brooklyn.
Dyker Heights today is a mostly Italian-American area filled with families, landscaped gardens, and plenty of beautiful freestanding mansions. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge serves as a peaceful backdrop to the neighborhood, which remains a quiet and historically sought-after place to live in Brooklyn.
During the Christmas season, however, Dyker Heights is anything but quiet. Tourists and NYC residents alike come from near and far to see the elaborate Christmas light displays for which the area is known. Visitors are greeted by houses decked in thousands of blinding Christmas lights (the famed "Dyker Lights"), enormous inflatable Santa Clauses, and wildly over-the-top holiday decorations that have been featured in everything from a PBS documentary to a segment on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
Park Slope is a neighborhood known for its beautiful historic brownstones; charming restaurants, bars, and shops; and family-friendly atmosphere.
Park Slope stretches from Prospect Park West to Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn. The tree-lined neighborhood is relatively affluent, with residents that include many well-known artists, musicians, actors, and writers. The area's proximity to Prospect Park makes it a favorite among families.
Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood is an industrial waterfront gem.
Located on the East River in South Brooklyn, Red Hook has long had a history as one of New York City's largest industrial ports. Cobblestone streets and abandoned waterfront warehouses speak to the neighborhood's past, while newer developments, like a cruise ship terminal, an Ikea superstore, and a popular Fairway supermarket, are signs of changing times.
Red Hook offers beautiful views of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, and its waterfront parks (like this pictured one at Valentino Pier) are pretty and peaceful. During the summertime, New Yorkers flock to the Red Hook Ballfields, where vendors sell delicious Latin American street food (think grilled corn on the cob and hot quesadillas).
Home also to the Red Hook Houses, Brooklyn's largest housing project, Red Hook is somewhat isolated from the rest of Brooklyn because it doesn't have a subway line. Buses service the area, though, and while it may not be easy to get to the neighborhood, once you make the trip to Red Hook, you'll want to visit again and again.
Williamsburg, with its mix of immigrant families and young "hipster" artists and musicians, is a neighborhood with two very different sides.
When the Williamsburg Bridge opened in 1903, immigrants living in Manhattan quickly found their way to Williamsburg. Polish, Hasidic Jewish, and Latino communities developed in the then-industrial area. These diverse cultural groups still make up the neighborhood, despite its changing feel.
Williamsburg has been recognized in recent history as a new haven for young people. A popular destination for recent college graduates, Williamsburg has rapidly evolved, with luxury housing buildings and expensive boutiques cropping up throughout the neighborhood. The area's trendy bars and restaurants are some of the best in New York City, and a thriving arts scene is an homage to the artists who years ago paved the way for gentrification.