Hill is named for the colonial farm of the Boerum family, which
occupied most of the area during early European-American settlement.
Most of the housing consists of three-story row houses built between
1840 and 1870. In the early twentieth century, many of the buildings
were run as boarding houses. Nearby was the union hall for ironworkers, attracted to the city to work on bridges and skyscrapers. The population today is middle and upper-middle class. Despite the name, this area, formerly "North Gowanus" and built on landfill in the former Gowanus Swamp, is of lower elevation than most nearby land.
The north end of Smith Street was the center of New York City's Mohawk community, who came mostly from Akwesasne and Kahnawake, Mohawk reserves in Quebec, Canada.
(Akewesasne straddles the boundary of New York and Canada.) Many of the
Mohawk men were ironworkers. The women worked at a variety of jobs and
created the community for their families. For 50 years, the Mohawk
families called their neighborhood "Little Caughnawaga," after the
homeland of Kahnawake.
The Brooklyn House of Detention for Men is located at Boerum Place
(Adams Street and Atlantic Avenue). Constructed in 1957, it was closed
in 2003 and used only as a holding area, because of the need for
renovations of the outdated facility, a city effort to revitalize retail
and other uses in the area, and community concerns. In 2008 the city
re-opened the facility amid controversy over future uses, to allow the
beginning of work to upgrade it. The city plans expansion and renovation of the facility to allow the demolition of outdated facilities at Riker's Island.
The neighborhood also includes NYCHA-run
housing, the Gowanus Houses, constructed in 1949, and Wyckoff Gardens,
completed in 1966. Gowanus Houses includes 14 buildings, of 4-, 6-, 9-,
13 and 14-stories high. Wyckoff Gardens has three tall, multi-story buildings.
During the early twentieth century, some of the Boerum Hill area was
developed into light-industrial spaces. With increasing gentrification, a
variety of retail stores and restaurants have opened in the area along
the commercial streets.
The neighborhood has been featured in several contemporary creative works. It is the setting of Spike Lee's movie, Clockers (1995), which was filmed in the Gowanus Houses. It is also featured in two of Jonathan Lethem's books: Motherless Brooklyn (1999), a crime mystery set on Bergen Street between Smith and Hoyt streets, and The Fortress of Solitude
(2002), set primarily on one block in Boerum Hill (Dean Street between
Nevins and Bond streets). In the latter novel, Lethem suggests that the
neighborhood was renamed from North Gowanus in the wake of gentrification beginning in the early 1970s, the period for his lead characters' childhoods.
It is unclear whether this is accurate; a 2003 profile of the community The Village Voice confirms it, but a 2005 article in the "Close Up On" column disputes the renaming story.
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We also provide a complete array of chimney maintenance , chimney cleaning, and fireplace cleaning services in Brooklyn and Manhattan, our professional chimney sweeps, and chimney service technicians can help you to prevent creosote build-up, chimney fires, chimney violations, fire code violations and increase and help to ensure your family’s safety from carbon monoxide poisoning. (all homes are required to have CO detectors and smoke alarms installed)
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