Downtown Brooklyn, Brooklyn, New York City

Welcome to Downtown Brooklyn! one of the oldest cities in the United States and yet despite its history it’s a new city compared to the bustling Manhattan. As of 2010, Brooklyn houses over 2 million residents who all commute, live, and work in Downtown Brooklyn. The neighborhood is located Northwest of the Brooklyn Borough and has become New York City’s central tech hub over the years. Currently, Downtown Brooklyn contains 3 separate malls, its own arena, new high rise buildings, its own industrial zone along with plenty of schools to choose from and even has a couple of well known buildings in the area. This means that Downtown Brooklyn is currently filled with shops for visitors and even a stadium, this makes it an excellent choice for your next vacation! Two of its main buildings are the Williamsburgh Savings Bank and the MetroTech Center complex. One of the main reason that Brooklyn has began its ascension into the business side of New York is through how close Brooklyn is to Lower Manhattan. Downtown Brooklyn is one of the first neighborhoods you can go into right out of Manhattan, this has helped propel Brooklyn into the third largest central business district in New York City, this was later confirmed by a report done by the Regional Plan Association. The man who helped with Brooklyn’s new rise to dominance is Howard Golden, who believed that Downtown Brooklyn should work together with Manhattan because of its proximity.

Until about 1814, the Downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights are would remain sparsely populated. This would come to change due to a man named Robert Fulton, Who also believed in what Howard Golden did, helped Brooklyn rise to what it is today. To start, Brooklyn was made into a suburban area at first, though it would eventually become a new commercial center in the city. During the 1850’s certain Brooklyn churches went against slavery, some would even act as a safehouse in order to help the Underground Railroad movement. The 19th century growth of the Port of New York caused shipping to influence the City of Brooklyn. This led to Brooklyn being initially used as the manufacturing district of New York City, it would become filled with different warehouses and factories. This was a direct influence of the construction of the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridge, and helped further Brooklyn’s rise in business. There was a complete revamp of the area following World War 2, this was done to widen its streets, add major housing projects and allowed the Brooklyn Bridge to be modernized. During the late 1960’s a plan was completed by the city that was made in order to help Brooklyn have more commercial and office spaces available. The City Planning Commission then stated, “Downtown Brooklyn’s economy is vital to the borough and important to the entire metropolitan region.”.

Ariel view of Downtown Brooklyn during the middle of the day.

after Robert Fulton transformed the neighborhood to a commercial hub, Brooklyn was no longer meant for residential living, at first, this meant that a massive rezoning of the Downtown Brooklyn area had to be done. However the rezoning took a very long time to come through and was only really done in 2004, despite this it has allowed for more denser residential areas to develop. The area has seen the arrival of new condominium towers, townhouses, and office conversions and has led to more than 30,000 new residents to move into Downtown Brooklyn. The city was also seeking to improve the connections between downtown and the neighborhoods of Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, and Fort Greene. In March 2012 the area was going through heavy remodeling, 2 years later an affordable housing plan was put into place with over 400 new units put into place.

Downtown Brooklyn now features multiple well known shops, Most of which are located near the acclaimed Barclay’s Center. Which is smacked in the middle of Downtown Brooklyn.

The Downtown Brooklyn area contains multiple municipal buildings, halls, and courthouses along with a handful of schools to choose from. The Borough Hall at times is used as a farmers market and contains fresh produce from farmers around the New York area. Downtown Brooklyn also has multiple options for shopping, dining, and drinking with almost 200 options in bars and restaurants. Multiple 7-eleven’s, Multiple pizza shops, a variety of coffee shops and bakeries, and a lot of different Asian cuisine and burger places to choose from. Downtown Brooklyn also has multiple apparel and beauty shops to choose from along with a few art exhibits to enjoy. Adidas, Banana Republic, Burlington, H&M, GAP, Macy’s, Nordstrom Rack, Target, and even Uniqlo making a visit more than worth it. Downtown Brooklyn is also home to a few malls and even art exhibits for anyone looking for some inspiration.

Downtown Brooklyn is currently looking to expand its awareness through unique art and culture. Such is the case with Bradley McCallum’s “witnessing” art, which is on display in Downtown Brooklyn until January. With the help of Jacqueline Tarry “Witnessing” takes old emergency call boxes typically located on street corners and transforms them through the addition of light and video. The call boxes feature animated videos of victims of police brutality along with audio of their testimonies to educate those visiting from out of state..

City Point is a mix of both residential and commercial use for the Downtown Brooklyn area and it was completed as recently as 2020. City Point contains multiple books stores, apparel shops, and restaurants to choose from along with its own movie theater and even weekly giveaways. The mall had technically been established in 2004 but it wasn’t until an influx of tourist visiting Brooklyn that paved way for the opening of the mall back in 2015. This helped the neighborhood build a stronger community thanks to the explosion of vibrant culture in the area. While City Point is Downtown Brooklyn’s newest mall it’s not its biggest, that title belongs to Atlantic Terminal Mall. Atlantic Terminal Mall is a combination of two shopping malls into one which is why there appears to be two entrances. Both Malls are connected via an enclosed bridge from a Target inside. In addition, Atlantic Terminal Mall is also an office building and part of the ticket office of the Long Island Rail Road. The Downtown Brooklyn area was also approved for another rezoning project which allowed for the revamp of the Fulton Mall. The area is a walkable transit mall that has been around since the 1980’s and redesigned for the commercial and residential influx. The Fulton Mall was revamped once again during the mid 2000’s and now holds Macy’s, H&M, Gap, GameStop, Foot Locker, and Finish Line. The Fulton area is also going through its own revamp with the construction of the 625 Fulton, which aims to create in additional 79 floor mixed-use skyscraper. In total the mall contains over 230 stores and even has its own dedicated bus lanes, at the center is a mall and an open space known as Albee Square.

Shopping and dining are not the only options available to the public for entertainment. The Downtown Brooklyn area is also home to the Barclays Center, a multi-purpose indoor arena. The arena is home of the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Liberty basketball teams and also hosts concerts, conventions and other entertainment events. on occasion, the stadium will host graduations for its nearby universities and colleges. The Barclays Center was also a part of an over 4 billion dollar future business and residential complex. The arena was brought forward by Bruce Ratner, and despite it being stuck in development hell for almost a decade prior, the arena finally opened to public during September 2012. However if you’re looking for something more modest you can also visit the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). BAM is a performing arts venue, known as a center for progressive and avant-garde performances. The venue was originally located in the Brooklyn Heights and its first performance was in the early 1860’s. The facility was burned down in the early 1900’s which led to the facility being moved to Fort Greene and from 1906 to 1908 a series of openings would occur for the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Some areas in the neighborhood seem to be empty, this is due to the city of Brooklyn rapidly expanding.

Downtown Brooklyn also hosts the New York Transit Museum, which displays historical artifacts of New York City; subway, buses, and commuter rail systems in the greater New York City metropolitan region. The museum is located within a subway station which was originally called Court Street and on July 4, 1976, the New York City Transit Exhibit was opened in the decommissioned underground station as part of the United States Bicentennial celebration. Old subway cars as well as models and other exhibits are displayed in the museum, it had originally not been planned to be opened this long but so many people enjoyed the display that it remained. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority had acquired the museum during the mid 1990’s which helped expand the museum’s display of trains. While it seems that Downtown Brooklyn went through a major remodeling that changed the landscape entirely, it still holds some of its old industrial roots.

In the Northeastern corner of the neighborhood there is an area called Bridge Plaza. Previously connected to Vinegar Hill, it is a now an isolated region of Brooklyn that is a mix of garages and auto shops with a few warehouses scattered around the area. This was the effect of both the construction of the BQE and the surrounding area only allowing industrial zoning. Bridge Plaza is known for having a notable home (167 Concord Street) which is famous for being the only “pretty” house in that area.

Overall, Downtown Brooklyn has many shops and restaurants you can visit, not to mention the plethora of bars in the neighborhood. This makes transportation a priority when visiting the neighborhood and New York has many transportation options. The majority of New Yorkers opt to use the subway, and while the trains and buses might be the most commercially available system, New York offers far better options. By far the safest way to get around NYC is by car, and luckily New York City offers many car services and limo services to get around the city. New York City limo services are some of the most professional in the world, and they offer variety of services. If you’re planning a fun day of shopping, or simply exploring the city certain car services allow for an hourly service or even road shows. Other limo companies do long distance transportation, this can be from places such as New York to New Jersey, or even New York to Connecticut. There are also some car companies that can go from New York to Philadelphia, or even New York to Washington D.C.. If you happen to live even farther out, there are a handful of luxury car companies that can from New York to Massachusetts. Regardless of how far you may think you are, New York will always find a way to bring and tourist to visit, and the rising Downtown Brooklyn is a great place to find something new to do!