Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Guide
Aside from NYC’s Midtown and Lower Manhattan, Downtown Brooklyn is New York’s largest central business district, equipped with sky-high towers and abundant office space. The downtown district in the northwest section of Brooklyn is an evolving epicenter of business and technology. It’s also a convenient residential area with access to everything in and around New York’s most populated borough, such as restaurants, bars, gyms, shopping, entertainment venues, the waterfront, parks, and recreation. Downtown Brooklyn caters to a mix of career professionals, college students, families, and long-time residents who treasure the history and embrace the action-packed ambiance.
With its appealing assortment of first-rate eateries and casual cafés, the nightlife is popular and inviting yet quieter and milder than many of Brooklyn’s burgeoning hot spots. Downtown Brooklyn’s character and culture coincide with the diversity of New York and its iconic array of food, shopping, parks, and public transportation.
Downtown Brooklyn Real Estate Stats
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An Abbreviated History of Downtown Brooklyn
The land now known as Downtown Brooklyn was inhabited by the Lenape Native Americans through the mid-1600s. One of the earliest Dutch settlers and Councilmen, Joris Jansen Rapelje, purchased the waterfront land from the Lenape and utilized it for farming operations. The Dutch named the newly acquired region Breuckelen.
In 1814, a steam ferry invented by Robert Fulton began a convenient commute to and from Manhattan. The neighboring Brooklyn Heights became New York City’s first suburb and Downtown Brooklyn would incidentally emerge as a prominent business center.
Amid the days of slavery in the 1850s and 1860s, Downtown Brooklyn served as a safe haven during the Underground Railroad movement and was home to many abolitionists opposed to the legalization of slavery in New York. At the same time, business was blossoming, especially at the Port of New York. Brooklyn benefited by building factories and warehouses that catered to commercial opportunities. Advancements in industry and engineering led to the conceptualization and construction of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges and fueled opportunities across technology, transportation, and manufacturing.
In the 20th century following World War II, Downtown Brooklyn expanded roadways, established city and state agency buildings, and launched residential development projects. A comprehensive city development plan introduced in 1969 laid the framework for Downtown Brooklyn to maintain a steady central business district. The area was built up by a mix of public and private contributions despite Brooklyn and New York suffering fiscal challenges through much of the 1970s.
In the early 1980s, Downtown Brooklyn, in large part because of its access and proximity to Lower Manhattan, experienced a continual influx of businesses, residents, and retailers. In the early 2000s, the rezoning of the city limits led to the rapid growth of condominiums, high-rise apartment buildings, office space, and retail stores. Downtown Brooklyn’s population and popularity soared. Today, a mix of market rate and affordable housing options, diverse residents, and vibrant activity make it the borough’s booming commercial and civic center.
Cadman Plaza West to the West
East River to the North
Hudson Avenue/Navy Street to the East
Schermerhorn Street to the South
|Jay Street – MetroTech||A C F N R W|
|Court Street – Borough Hall||2 3 4 5 N R W|
|DeKalb Avenue ||B D N Q R W|
|Hoyt – Schermerhorn Streets ||A C G|
|Nevins Street ||2 3 4 5|
|Atlantic Avenue – Barclays Center ||2 3 4 5 B D N QR W|
Residents Love This Neighborhood Because
Access to Manhattan
Heritage and history
Greenspace amid the metropolitan marketplace
- Ground transportation availability
- Multicultural mix (cultural institutes, museums, ethnic restaurants)
- Shopping variety (boutiques, chains, discount shops)
- Waterfront views and activities
What to expect
|Community Gardens|| |
|Dog Runs|| |
|Yoga Studios|| |
Downtown Brooklyn Landmarks and Cultural Institutions
A NEIGHBORHOOD TOUR
Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)
Blending music, dance, opera, and film at its Downtown Brooklyn location since 1908, the BAM exhibits cutting edge, avant-garde productions. It showcases a revolving lineup of art and culture from the local community and all over the world. The facility provides membership, education, events, and year-round performances from innovative and emerging artists, composers, and directors.
Brooklyn Borough Hall
Brooklyn’s oldest public building and original City Hall, Brooklyn Borough Hall opened in 1848. It housed all city government functions including the offices of the mayor and city council, a courthouse, and a jail. This Greek Revival structure was developed by architectural pioneers Gamaliel King and Calvin Pollard. It has been restored over the years with iconic columns, wood paneling, marble flooring, and a domed rotunda. It remains a historic landmark and impressive government building iconic of Brooklyn’s Civic Center.
Connecting Manhattan to Downtown Brooklyn, this majestic bridge, with its symbolic stone arches, is a hybrid of stable-cable and suspension design spanning over 6,000 feet. The structure, designed by John A. Roebling and completed in 1883, offers a popular mile-long walk across the East River. Restored in the mid 1900s and revamped over the years to meet the demands of cars and cyclists, the bridge officially became a National Historic Monument in 1964. Each day, tens of thousands of passengers traverse across its six automobile lanes and protected bicycle and pedestrian pathways.
A Sunday staple since 2008, this popular, free-to-the-public flea market features hundreds of vendors offering a wide range of collectibles from vintage clothing, jewelry, and accessories to furnishings, antiques, arts, and crafts. The outdoor marketplace offers fresh food, savory spices, and local fare from Brooklyn’s flavorful food scene.
The Brooklyn Tabernacle, an evangelical non-denominational church, was originally established in 1847. Its famous, accompanying choir started with nine singers in the 1970s. Today, the church comprises a choir of 270 voices that tourists, locals, and music aficionados relish and respect. The church offers weekly services and has a seating capacity of 3,300. The Grammy Award-winning troupe has toured the country performing angelic melodies at renowned venues including Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, and Radio City Music Hall.
Cadman Plaza Park
This park positioned on the borders of Downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights features ten acres of green space, a section of natural scenery that stretches from Borough Hall to the Brooklyn Bridge. Renovated in XXXX by the New York City Parks Department, Acquired in 1935 by the City of New York and constructed in 1940 as part of a redevelopment effort to build an auto ramp onto the Brooklyn Bridge, the long-standing park contains a vast lawn for recreation and relaxation and shaded walkways for pedestrians and dog-walkers. Named after Brooklyn native and liberal Protestant clergyman S. Parkes Cadman, the park’s center contains the Brooklyn War Memorial. This monument pays tribute to Brooklyn’s 300,000+ brave men and women who served in World War II.
DeKalb Market Hall
Open since 2017, foodies have been flocking to this unique, eclectic selection of cuisines ever since. With over 40 vendors, variety is aplenty and the food is some of the finest in Brooklyn. Local vendors sell incredible Asian, Colombian, Italian, Middle Eastern, and Vegan food. The district also has several shops serving savory sweets as well as the second location of NYC’s famous Katz’s Delicatessen. The area also features bars, live music, and a vibrant scene day and night.
Fulton St Mall
This outdoor shopping center offers an abundance of chain stores, discount shops, and independent boutiques. The pedestrian promenade offers over 150 small businesses, national brands, restaurants, and cafés in a leisurely layout where consumers can shop, stroll, or sit outside and socialize.
Completed in 1909 , this suspension bridge hovers over the East River and connects Lower Manhattan’s Chinatown and Canal Street with Downtown Brooklyn. With seven vehicular lanes, four transit railways, a bike path, and separate pedestrian pathway, the bi-level bridge transports over 85,000 passengers per day. The Paris-inspired triumphal arch and Vatican City-like colonnade mark the Manhattan side’s entrance, designed as a gateway to the ocean extending down Brooklyn’s Flatbush Ave south toward the Atlantic Ocean.
Walt Whitman Park
Named for the Brooklyn native and American literary icon, the park offers open greenspace where visitors come to relax, reflect, and find recreation within Downtown Brooklyn’s bustling business and commercial center. Its close proximity to Cadman Plaza Park offers a peaceful, natural landscape alongside some of Brooklyn’s busiest buildings and most historic neighborhoods.
Architecture In Downtown Brooklyn
Popular Food & Drink
BREAD & SPREAD
151 Front Street
circa brewing co.
141 Lawrence Street
DEKALB MARKET HALL
445 Albee Square West
GAGE AND TOLLNER
372 Fulton Street
1 DeKalb Avenue
HOUSE OF WAX
445 Albee Square W # 4410
junior's restaurant & bakery
386 Flatbush Avenue
445 Albee Square West