For old television buffs, Brooklyn Heights holds a special significance. The Cosby Show, which was one of the first mainstream black family comedy, was based in this neighborhood within this famous borough. Yet it was also immortalized in the theme song for The Patty Duke Show. Haven’t many of us hummed the tune, “the sights a girl can see from Brooklyn Heights?”
Yet beyond its television historical significance, this area is also home to some very distinctive historical groups. One such group is Jehovah’s Witnesses. They have had a large presence in the area since the mid-twentieth century. The group restored several different historical buildings, including the Hotel Bossert, before announcing in 2010 that they would be selling their holdings to move to upstate New York.
The neighborhood is full of the famous Brooklyn brownstones, which is typically three to four stories high. The architecture includes the well-known stoop, usually several stairs where residents could sit and talk with neighbors strolling by. During the 1950s, individuals began to purchase brownstones, creating the Brownstone Revival. In 1965, the district was designated a historical district. The basement was typically half underground, which included the kitchen and servants’ work areas. The first floor was the public rooms, including the living room and study. The second floor was for bedrooms and the top floor usually held the servants’ sleeping quarters.
Another development that encouraged a community feel within this district was the building of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. The development offers amazing views of the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, as well as the fireworks display over the East River. Its construction also resulted in the rerouting of the expressway to the side of the bluff, thus creating the perfect spot for the Promenade.
The Brooklyn Dodgers also had their headquarters in Brooklyn Heights
Today, the building at 215 Montague Street has a plaque identifying this corner as the site were Jackie Robinson signed his major league contract. Another famous individual was Philip Livingston, the only signer of the Declaration of Independence from Brooklyn. This Yale graduate ran an import/export business, as well as speculating in real estate. He owned a 40-acre estate in Brooklyn Heights. Throughout his lifetime, he held a variety of political positions, including serving as an alderman and a senator in the New York State Congress. During this time period, he was also a delegate for New York to the Continental Congress. Livingston died while serving in the Continental Congress in 1978.
Today, the district is home to a large number of professionals. These residents enjoy the close proximity to the city nightlife, as well as appreciate the close knit community feel of their beautiful neighborhood. It is also home to a variety of shops, restaurants and even some entertainment venues. This area is also home to one of the most diverse colleges in the nation, St. Francis College.
Throughout this neighborhood, one can enjoy the beautiful architecture that Brooklyn is famous for, as well as the historical elements that truly make this district a one of a kind in the American story.