It’s a pretty name for a pretty neighborhood. Located in the southern end of Brooklyn, Carroll Gardens has long been a destination for those in search of a little greenery to go with their city living. With its park, its tree-lined streets and the glorious gardens that fill the front yards of its brownstones, the neighborhood can be seen as an oasis of sorts. In recent years, it has grown in popularity and is a residential area of choice for families looking to settle down and commuters looking for a respite from the big city.
“Carroll Gardens is right at the heart of all the great things happening in Brooklyn,” says Craig Hammerman, district manager of Brooklyn Community Board 6, of which Carroll Gardens is a part. And increasingly, it’s becoming a destination in its own right.
Yesterday and Today
The area known today as Carroll Gardens once belonged to the Mohawk Indians whose tribal chief was Gowanus, after which the nearby Gowanus Canal was named. In 1636, the land was purchased by the Dutch West India Company. Two hundred years later, Carroll Gardens was settled by Irish immigrants who were later joined in the mid-19th century by Norwegians. Fifty years after that, Italian immigrants began arriving in the neighborhood. Today, although many younger residents have moved into Carroll Gardens from Manhattan or from other states, there is still a strong community of Italian-Americans living, working and raising families in the same buildings and on the same streets as their ancestors.
Originally named after Charles Carroll, a Revolutionary War veteran (and the only Roman Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence), Carroll Gardens is perhaps best known for its brownstones with their signature front gardens. The gardens create front yards that are 33 feet, 5 ¼-inches deep—nearly unheard of in New York City. The gardens were created by surveyor Richard Butts in 1846. Today, the best examples of those homes can be found in the Carroll Gardens Historic District, which was designated in 1973 and includes President Street and Carroll Street bordered by Smith and Hoyt streets.
As its name suggests, Carroll Gardens is a neighborhood that loves its green spaces, providing a welcome refuge for those in search of a bit of nature to go with their city living. Carroll Park, Brooklyn’s third oldest park, has been a focal point for families since 1867. It is nearly two acres in size and was renovated in 1993.