With 2.5 million residents, Brooklyn packs in a lot of punch. This is New York City's most populous borough and its second largest. Immigrants have long flocked here-waves of Europeans, Latinos, Asians, Africans, and, yes, Midwesterners, too. Since the subways started running, Brooklyn has fed Manhattan with a steady diet of commuters. Now, many of those movers and shakers are considering Brooklyn apartments and rentals more than just a home base. Who needs Manhattan when Brooklyn offers so much? Its culture, its economy, and its more reasonable rents all combine to produce a pretty sweet sounding Brooklyn accent.
The Dutch were the first Europeans to plant a flag on this end of Long Island. The Village of Breukelen was what they called it in 1646. Twenty years later, the British stepped in, reorganizing the town into their Province of New York. It served as a base for the British during the Revolutionary War but then, as part of the new United States, it really found its footing. From 1800 to 1820, Brooklyn's population tripled, then it doubled again, and again by 1840. It enveloped the surrounding towns and reached its current boundaries by 1896. When the Brooklyn Bridge went up, residents voted to become a borough of New York City.
Brooklyn's modern history is a crisscrossing map of movement. Ethnic enclaves appear in one bit of the borough then shift to another as different waves arrive. Still, it's famous for how well everyone gets along. That's the Brooklyn motto-"Unity makes strength." Bedford-Stuyvesant is a cultural hub for African-Americans and the Caribbean community. Italians and Arabs congregate in Bay Ridge. Russians and Ukrainians choose Sheepshead Bay. Bushwick is largely Latino. And the latest wave? Say hi to the hipsters in Williamsburg.
Brooklyn is a borough with a wealth of opportunity, both for study and work. City College of New York's Brooklyn College is considered one of the great bargains of higher education. It delivers academic excellence at an affordable price. You can find Brooklyn Law School downtown. The Pratt Institute, over in Clinton Hill, ranks as one of the leading arts, design, and architecture schools in the country.
Brooklyn's popularity is partially due to having cheaper rents and more space than in Manhattan. Studios in Brooklyn average $1,686 a month. In Tribeca, across the bridge, they can be $4,000. Of course, you'll find rents vary widely across this large borough. The cheapest areas are Bedford-Stuyvesant and Bay Ridge. The most expensive neighborhood of late is DUMBO, which stands for "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass."
Brooklyn doesn't skimp when it comes to culture. The Brooklyn Academy of Music has an opera house, theater, and cinemas. The Brooklyn Museum presents America's second largest public art collection. Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens keep the borough breathing easy. Need a thrill? Coney Island, one of America's first amusement parks, will take you on a spin-but hopefully not right after you've competed in Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. For sports, things are looking up. The Brooklyn Dodgers may have moved to LA-still a sore point for locals-but the New Jersey Nets are packing their bags for Park Slope. They'll be the Brooklyn Nets in 2012 when the Barclay Center opens.
Year-round, something's happening on the streets of Brooklyn. Don't miss the Coney Island Mermaid Parade in June or the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival in July. The West Indian American Day Carnival is the largest annual parade in New York City. Easier still, just grab a slice of pizza and watch the sun set over the city skyline. Take a stroll over the Brooklyn Bridge and try and believe that this is where you're lucky enough to live.
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