Brooklyn: Brownsville

Brownsville is a neighborhood in central Brooklyn, New York. The people living in the area are mostly Caribbean, Hispanic, and African-American. The 73rd precinct in Brownsville recorded the highest incidence of murders compared to all other precincts in New York City. Gang violence is common, and there was a certain level of organized crime in the area, most remarkably a group called “Murder, Inc.” This group was most famous in the 1920s and 1930s. The North of Brownsville runs from East New York Avenue, on the Bedford-Stuyvesant border, south to its border with Canarsie at the railroad; East New York begins at the railroad and continues east to the Queens line at Ozone Park, with the neighborhoods of Highland Park and Cypress Hills to its north and Jamaica Bay on its south. The southeast section of East New York is called New Lots after Dutch farmers who were getting crowded out in Flatbush struck east and formed the new community during the 1670s.

As of 2010 census, there were 58,300 people, 20,360 households, and 14,352 families residing in the area. The median income for a household in the village is $32,433.

The area of Brownsville lyes between the villages of East New York and Bushwick and was subdivided by Charles S. Brown in 1865. In 1883 there were 250 frame houses in Brownsville. A group of East Side realtors in 1887 purchased land and erected many abodes. They encouraged immigrants to move here from Manhattan’s congested East Side. The extension of the Fulton Street in 1889 and the IRT subway in 1920-22 made the district completely accessible from Manhattan, where many of the residents work. The area became dangerous in the 1970s, hitting rock bottom after the looting and riots during the 1977 blackout. Despite having bad times, the area slowly regained public trust with many major chain stores opening on Pitkin Avenue, joining Slavin’s Fish Market, which has been on Belmont Avenue for about 80 years. The Hyman Spitz Florists one of the last 19th Century florists has been in business for 105 years in Pitkin Avenue.

Brownsville has improved greatly since the 1960s though there are still feeble lots and abandoned buildings. It has seen plenty of housing developments in recent times. Many first developments were built by various non-profit groups but now for-profit traditional developers are becoming active. Some of the vacant sites have been turned into attractive community gardens. There are more than seventy orthodox synagogues in Brownsville. The well-known Beth Hamidrash Hagodal, at 337 Sackman Street, was organized in 1889.

In addition to having been home people like Joseph Papp, comedian actor Danny Kaye and boxing champion Mike Tyson, a street in the area Amboy Street even influenced the name of Ted Nugent’s bands, the Amboy Dukes.

This page is about Brooklyn. You can find a list of every city and hamlet on Long Island by visiting our Long Island towns section. This includes not only Brooklyn, but all of Queens, Suffolk and Nassau counties.

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