Quote Of The Day: Heights Is “Brooklyn’s De Facto Gold Coast”

A long, luxurious article in Business Insider profiles South Brooklyn’s “BoCoCa” neighborhoods lining Brooklyn Heights: Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens.

The piece, headlined “Gentrification Has Made This Old Brooklyn Neighborhood Unrecognizable,” discusses how those nabes have evolved as Brooklyn Heights became financially unobtainable, with some respectful perspective about the Heights…

Brownstone houses are classic Brooklyn. They are as ubiquitous in NYC as dirty-water hot dog vendors and rats on the subway tracks, though much more beautiful, with majestic stoops and thick banisters impressive enough to usher in a new era of Brooklyn living.

It began as as a trickle in the 1940s: white collar professionals crossing the river in search of cheaper rents and settling in Brooklyn Heights—which is now Brooklyn’s de facto Gold Coast—later the home of the borough’s financial district. As they moved into and began renovating their new homes, a ‘do-it-yourself’ attitude and pride in their new community developed. Paint was stripped, gardens were planted, floorboards were laid and the area’s popularity grew.

By the 1960s, the area just south of Brooklyn Heights (known as South Brooklyn to that point) began to fill up with spillover from the Heights, and new names were given to revitalized areas. “Cobble Hill” was one, “Boerum Hill” another, and “Red Hook” included the slab of land that is now “Carroll Gardens” (Red Hook can still be found on the other side of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway). Each neighborhood began to take on its own identity, while they remained close enough to one another to foster a larger sense of togetherness.

The Business Insider article is smart, detailed, positive and an exceptional read about Brooklyn Heights’ bordering neighborhoods. Highly recommended reading.

(Photo: Chuck Taylor)

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  • Karl Junkersfeld


    Thanks for the link. Enjoyed the read.

  • BklynJace

    Did Smith Street’s revitalization/hotness/whatever you want to call it really begin in the 1980s? I remember that as starting in the late 90s, but perhaps that’s my faulty memory….

  • BronxKid

    I think BklynJace is correct. Smith Street didn’t start becoming upscale until the late ’90s. In the ’80s, it was mostly small bodegas, hardware stores and stores selling religious statues.

  • bornhere

    I agree with BronxKid and BklynJace; add to the bodegas and other long-lived, sadly gone businesses, Johnnie’s Bootery, the best shoe store for kids — ever. (I’m also not so sure the areas south of Atlantic Avenue were beginning to “fill up” as early as the 1960s.)
    And if the ridiculous “BoCoCa” is ever uttered by Vincent Mazzone, I will be … disappointed. The author of the “Business Insider” piece was, evidently, born in Brooklyn — he should know better.

  • stuart

    Smith Street was one of the saddest down at the heels commercial strips in the vicinity. It had Chinese take out places with bullet proof panels to protect the cashier and liquor stores with similar glass panels where you had to ask for what you wanted rather than pulling from the shelves yourself. It was classic ghetto. Brooklyn ghetto.
    Well known to all Americans.
    Its turnaround has been remarkable.

  • http://selfabsorbedboomer.blogspot.com Claude Scales

    I remember Smith Street in its transition period, in 1999, when I took Liz, my then five year old daughter, to a birthday party for one of her kindergarten classmates held in a storefront somewhere around Carroll Street that had been made into a kids’ arts and crafts space (that must not have lasted too long). It was the first time I’d walked on Smith, and what caught my eye on the way was the Rite Aid store that had a pylon painted turquoise with bright red lettering. It looked like a bit of South Beach plopped down in South Brooklyn. On the way back we walked with one of Liz’s classmates, her mom and younger sister, and they had to stop in Johnnie’s for shoes. It was indeed a remarkable store. I don’t recall if Liz talked me into buying her a pair; knowing her, I’m pretty sure she did.

  • Hicks on hicks

    Buddy – I think your confusing “artist” with intolerant jerk.

  • http://selfabsorbedboomer.blogspot.com Claude Scales
  • PBL

    Buddy, which part of Smith Street “$uck$” the worst? The quality dining? The fun bars? The safe streets? Terrible I tell you, just awful …

  • David on Middagh


    I wasn’t born here, but I’m with you. “BoCoCa” is just insufferable. Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, and Carroll Gardens–they’re all South Brooklyn, right? And the Carroll Gardens section was part of Red Hook? I don’t think it was fair to the rest of Red Hook that one of the nicest parts was renamed.

    For something less prissy, and more South Brooklyn, let’s use the posterior parts. BoeRUM… CobBLE… Red HOOK…


  • El

    @David “RUMBLE HOOK” honestly made me choke on my sandwich at work. Well played.

  • Wrennie

    And so much more fun to say!

  • bornhere

    David — I love it!! And I didn’t realize until just now how unspeakably hip Danny (“The Shining”) was when he said, “REDRUM!” Evidently, he gave no thought to Cobble Hill….