Clinton Hill, Long Island
Clinton Hill is a neighborhood located in north-central portion of the borough of Brooklyn, Long Island, New York. It is bounded by Classon, Atlantic and Vanderbilt avenues, and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Neighboring towns near Clinton Hill include Prospect Heights and Williamsburg.
Clinton Hill is a late-19th-century treasure trove of mansions and brownstones, wide, tree-lined boulevards with large scenes and a few smaller, amiable side streets. A pedestrian wandering its avenues can marvel at fluted and stripy Doric and Tuscan columns, bay windows and flower-bedecked balconies, bearded titans in the facades and pretend Loire Valley chateaus crested by conical towers.
The community is named after Gov. DeWitt Clinton who managed to get the Erie Canal built. He was also an abolitionist, and advocated public education, city planning, public sanitation, and assistance for the poor. Clinton became a mayor for ten times and Governor for three times. In 1832, he started the development of Clinton Hill and some of the houses along Clinton Avenue date back to1854. The neighborhood was also once called Brooklyn's Gold Coast, because of the large number of free-standing mansions built at the turn of the century by such a rich magnates as the Pratts, Singers, Bristols, and Underwoods. Clinton Hill furnishes a rare perspective on the gentrification process, one that is hugely stripped of racial tension because of the neighborhood's history of addition and the participation of middle-income blacks in the process.
There are several notable people living in Clinton Hill that includes Paul Robeson (actor/activist), Wynton Marsalis (jazz/classical trumpeter), and Brent Porter (architect and professor of architecture at Pratt Institute). Clinton Hill had become a fashionable neighborhood for the wealthy of Brooklyn, who could commute to Manhattan by way of stagecoach to the Fulton Ferry in nearby Brooklyn Heights. The Pratt Institute founded by Charles Pratt and St. Joseph's College are famous landmarks in Clinton Hill which create an atmosphere of a small university town, while the many grand churches take you back in time. Today the neighborhood maintains its elegance and variety and has a great sense of community. Clinton Hill was also designated a Historic District in November of 1981. The Clinton Hill Historic District with rows of historic brownstones, carriage houses and other links to the past stretches roughly from Willoughby Avenue to Fulton Street, and Vanderbilt Avenue to Grand Avenue. Italianate brownstones, Neo-Georgian, Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival houses have survived along with pre-Civil War farmhouses and elegant Beaux Arts apartments. The community has plans to expand their historic district. In fact, funds were already raised by the Landmarks Committee to support the necessary research and production costs.