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Thread: Carroll Gardens Revisited

  1. #1

    Default Carroll Gardens Revisited

    Also some Boerum Hill and Cobble Hill.

    No silly real estate acronyms, please. Attempts to unify the neighborhoods should use the historical South Brooklyn, the area south of Atlantic St (Atlantic Ave) that was the southern boundary of the city of Brooklyn. Carroll Gardens was also called Red Hook, even after the Gowanus Expressway isolated the rest of the Hook.

    The area around Gowanus Creek was purchased from the Mohawk tribe (Henry St was a Mohawk trail)in 1636 by the Dutch West India Company, and became farmland.

    One of the oldest houses in the area, the Greek revival John Rankin house at Clinton and Carroll Sts, was built c1849, before the present street grid was laid out.

    The neighborhood name was derived in the 1960s from the original plot of land near Carroll Park that was surveyed by Richard Butts in 1846. He designed streets with deep front yards, typical in the present historic district and the Place Sts (1st , 2nd, 3rd, 4th). Carrol Park was named for Charles Carroll, a Maryland signer of the Declaration of Independence, in honor of the Maryland Brigade that defended the Old Stone House during the Battle of Long Island.

    The Norwegian Seaman's Church at Clinton St and 1st Pl, now condos, was visited by the King of Norway. In 1900, there was a considerable Scandinavian presence in the area (Atlantic Ave was called Swedish Broadway), but it's all gone now.

    Parking is a problem

    Terrible addition

  2. #2


    The historic district, just two square blocks, is one of the smallest in the city, is partially closed off by the offset streets at Hoyt and Smith, and gives the area the character of an enclave. The mostly Italianate brownstones are typical of the Richard Butts plan.

    F train emerges from underground Carrol St station

    The MTA rubble strewn lot at the portal substation has been transformed into a garden.

  3. #3


    The Canal

    Doesn't smell bad anymore, but more vegetation and a lot less industrial activity.

    Some survivors down the hill from Smith St, and new construction across the street.

  4. #4


    View east toward the Carroll St Bridge and Park Slope in the distance.

    Historic Carroll St Bridge

    Built 1889, the oldest retractile bridge in the US.

  5. #5


    Lotus Elise


  6. #6


    Needs a big tower downtown.

    What happened to the monkey bars?

    View north on Hoyt St. Gowanus Houses on the right.

  7. #7


    St Agnes Church, I think the tallest building in the area. Decades ago, I walked in, and when I came out, people threw uncooked rice at me.

    Now condos, the parish school looks a lot more cheerful (and smaller) than when I was six, when it was sooty black brick and Sister Mary de Sade was standing in the doorway.

    They've even managed to make the old tower look friendly, a place we all imagined medieval acts of torture were conducted on those who didn't do their homework.

    Well, it's still not that friendly. The old schoolyard is now a private parking lot, and the inviting garden displays a KEEP OUT sign. The antithesis of a stoop and front yard neighborhood.

    Now a high school, the Cobble Hill School of American Studies, this was once a junior-high "600 school," where my mother said I might wind up if I didn't study. It was grimy, graffiti covered, and run-down then. Now revealed as an outstanding building.

    Housing designed around cars. Thankfully, not too much of this.

    Notable new construction

  8. #8


    The Brooklyn Inn on Hoyt St in Boerum Hill.

    PS 142, at the southwestern edge of the neighborhood.

  9. #9


    And here we arrive at an abrupt end of the neighborhood, and a stark change in landscape.

    Hamilton Ave, the Gowanus Expressway, and the BBT entrance. In the distance, the isolated Red Hook couldn't survive the separation, and is only now coming back.

    That's all folks.

  10. #10
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Manhattan - South Village

    Thumbs up

    Very cool - ZTC, you've outdone yourself. Thanks for such an intimate tour of this special part of Brooklyn. All those great buildings and houses, the bridge, the canal....there's so much going for this area yet it still seems to have even more potential. I learned a lot and now need to revisit, soon.

  11. #11


    Great shots and fantastic neighborhood!

    Nothing better than strolling these tree-lined streets (especially those just west of Court Street) on a lazy weekend.

  12. #12


    Just recalled a dim memory.

    There was an electric trolley-bus line (aka trackless trolley) that ran down Smith St. Actually it was the Bergen St route, originated on Union St near the waterfront, turned on Smith, then turned east on Bergen.

    They were silent except for the turbine like whirr of the motor. Two cables were needed to complete the circuit. The big kids (10 and older) would hitch rides on the back.

    Brooklyn Trackless Trolley

    The Court St Pastry shop hasn't changed at all since my grandmother sent me there on Sunday mornings.

  13. #13


    Excellent! The potential is there for the Gowanus Canal to become like the Highline, attracting the highest caliber of architects. Then again, it's Brooklyn.

  14. #14
    Forum Veteran macreator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    East Midtown


    Wow, those Gowanus Expressway viaducts are either very dirty or rusting over.

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