Community Board 8 Brooklyn

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Community Board 8 Brooklyn

Neighborhoods in Community Board 8

Crown Heights
Crown Heights, sandwiched between Park Slope and Bedford-Stuyvesant, East Flatbush and Prospect Park, was a quiet, sparsely populated early settlement in the original Dutch town of Breukelen. It was first known as Crow Hill; Crown Heights actually does include a succession of hills. In the early 1900s, for reasons that are unknown, Crow permanently picked up its "n."
In the mid- to late 1800s, Crown Heights was developed as a countrified suburb for the upper middle class. Prominent philanthropic residents included Abraham Abraham, a partner in Wechsler and Abraham, later Abraham & Straus, who founded Brooklyn Jewish Hospital (now part of Interfaith Medical Center at 555 Prospect Place).
Today, in addition to its longstanding African American population, Crown Heights is home to two very different and highly visible ethnic and cultural groups: Caribbean and West Indian blacks from Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados and Grenada;
and the Hasidic Jewish population, primarily the Lubavitch sect. The vitality and ambitions of these groups, their churches and synagogues, their celebrations and traditions, have given Crown Heights its unique atmosphere.
Crown Heights' main thoroughfare, Eastern Parkway, was designed in 1866 by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux as a "sister" boulevard to Ocean Parkway. Its broad median strips were built as promenades and equestrian paths, and its side
lanes as service roads for carriages. Some of Crown Heights' most spectacular 19th-century homes can still be seen on the two-block stretch along President Street between Brooklyn and New York Avenues. Known as "Doctor's Row," the first
doctors were white Protestants, followed by Jewish doctors; now, West Indian doctors make their home here.
The worldwide headquarters of the Lubavitch movement occupies a large Tudor-style brick building at 770 Eastern Parkway. The Crown Heights Jewish Community Council spearheads local neighborhood and housing improvement projects. Kingston
Avenue is the thriving shopping strip central to the Lubavitch community, and in addition to its food stores and religious institutions it also boasts the CHAI Gallery (Hasidic Art Institute, 375 Kingston Avenue), which regularly showcases the work
of Hasidic artists, and the Crown Palace Hotel (600 Crown Street), New York City's only glatt kosher hotel.
Crown Heights contains the largest Haitian community in the United States and is sometimes called La Saline, after a district in Port-au-Prince. At St. Bartholomew's Church (1227 Pacific Street), the Gospel is read in English, French and even in
Vietnamese for the community's newest members.
West Indian specialty stores are plentiful along Nostrand and Utica Avenues, where hungry shoppers can snack on spice breads and fish patties while picking up groceries. Another way to get the full flavor of the West Indian community is to visit
Crown Heights at Carnival time. Since 1969, Eastern Parkway has been home to the biggest celebration this side of the Caribbean, culminating on Labor Day in a spectacular parade which attracts more than a million spectators. Crown Heights
is home to a college -- Medgar Evers, part of the CUNY system -- and the world's first museum devoted exclusively to children. The Brooklyn Children's Museum (145 Brooklyn Avenue), founded in 1899 by the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and
Sciences (which also founded the Brooklyn Museum of Art and Brooklyn Botanic Garden), is famous for its touchy, feely exhibits that appeal to kids of all ages.

Prospect Heights and Weeksville
Prospect Heights is small but mighty. Measuring less than a quarter of a square mile, it is a "pioneering" northwest Brooklyn neighborhood where recently-arrived professionals live alongside blue-collar "old-timers" and the large community of Caribbean immigrants who arrived in the 1980s. Prospect Heights is a mix of richly crafted turn-of-the-century
brownstones (restored with zeal by the neighborhood's newcomers) and elegant 1920s
apartment buildings. It is a neighborhood with a renewed vigor.
Lying between Crown Heights and Park Slope, Prospect Heights is blessed with proximity to the borough's finest cultural and recreational institutions, including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Public Library's Central Library, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Prospect Park. Developed after Prospect Park was completed in the 1870s -- the neighborhood is situated on the park's glacial ridge, which inspired its name -- Prospect Heights consisted mostly of middle-class Italians, Irish and Jews until after World War II, when it became predominantly African-American. Following a decline, the city sold off clusters of abandoned buildings in the 1980s to encourage the development of middle-class housing. Over the next eight years a third of the neighborhood's housing was renovated. The middle class grew, and the 1980s and early '90s witnessed a veritable United Nations of immigration. Today, Prospect Heights is a multi-racial, multi-ethnic community.
Thanks in large part to Joan Maynard of the Weeksville Society, the former Brooklyn neighborhood of Weeksville is a living historical treasure. Settled by African-Americans shortly after the abolition of slavery in New York State in 1827, it grew during and after the Civil War. It was named for James Weeks, a settler who moved there from Virginia in 1838; his property was formerly part of the vast estate of the Lefferts family.

The area was once the site of the Howard Colored Orphanage Asylum, the Zion Home for Aged relief, and the African Civilization Society. While it lost its identity during the rapid growth of Brooklyn after the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge in
1883, the name was revived in 1968 amid a growing interest in local history, historic preservation and black heritage.
The Hunterfly Road Houses, a city landmark at 1698-1708 Bergen Street, are the only surviving houses of a group built parallel to a 17th century road. The Bethel Tabernacle African Methodist Episcopal Church (built in 1847) and the Berean Missionary Baptist Church (1851) still serve the neighborhood; Colored School No. 2 (1847) is today P.S. 243 (the Weeksville School).

Local Links

Brooklyn Museum of Art
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Brooklyn Academy of Music
Prospect Park

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