The picturesque Brooklyn Heights neighborhood is perched on a plateau overlooking Manhattan and the New York harbor. Dutch farmers bought the land from the Canarsie in the 1630s and named the settlement Breukelen. In the mid-1960s, Brooklyn Heights was the first neighborhood to be designated an historic district in New York City.
Brooklyn Heights Tour Highlights:
Doug Fox’s Brooklyn Heights tour includes visits to both famous historical sites as well as compelling recent developments:
- General George Washington led a successful escape of 9,500 continental soldiers under the cover of darkness and early morning fog from Fulton Landing (today just under the Brooklyn Bridge) after the disastrous loss to the British at the Battle of Brooklyn in August 1776.
- Steamboat pioneer Robert Fulton received an exclusive charter to transport ferry passengers back and forth between Manhattan and Brooklyn starting in 1814 using his mechanized ferry boats. On the Brooklyn side, the boats landed at Fulton Landing turning Brooklyn Heights into a residential neighborhood and the first commuter town.
- Brooklyn Heights features an eclectic mix of brownstones and carriage houses in many different architectural styles — some of which date back to the early 1800s and many predate the Civil War.
- In the 1800s Brooklyn was known as the City of Churches. Among these is the Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims that was led by abolitionist and preacher Henry Ward Beecher, the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe who wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Henry Ward Beecher was famous for conducting his mock slave auctions where slaves were released after the bidding was completed. Plymouth Church was known as the Grand Central Depot of the Underground Railroad because escaped slaves slept in the basement on their way to Canada.
- Robert Moses, the master builder in New York City during the mid-20th Century, had plans afoot in the 1950s to sever Brooklyn Heights in two by having the new Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) cut through the middle of the neighborhood. But community opposition prevailed, and the BQE was instead constructed along the neighborhood’s western edge facing the East River. The famous Brooklyn Heights Promenade is built on top of the stacked BQE and offers wonderful views of the Manhattan skyline.
- Brooklyn Bridge Park is a sustainable and resilient addition to the neighborhood that is being built in stages on the remains of old shipping piers. In part, this new park generates revenue by leasing park land to real estate developers who then develop residential properties. But a controversy has arisen because the new Pierhouse, a combination of luxury condominiums and hotel, is 30-feet higher than expected and blocks views of the Brooklyn Bridge for people walking along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.
- Many famous people have lived in Brooklyn Heights including the poet Walt Whitman and the writer Truman Capote. And many films have been shot here including Moonstruck and Prizzi’s Honor.
This Brooklyn Heights tour is likely to include visits to additional sites based upon your interests.
If you have questions about Doug’s Brooklyn Heights tour or other tours, please contact him: