Prospect Heights is a neighborhood in the northwest of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. The traditional boundaries are Flatbush Avenue to the west, Atlantic Avenue to the north, Eastern Parkway to the south, and Washington Avenue to the east.
In the northern section of Prospect Heights are the Vanderbilt
Railyards, which could become part of the massive and controversial Atlantic Yards project.
Compared to other Brooklyn neighborhoods, Prospect Heights is
relatively small and is notable for its cultural diversity as well as
its tree-lined streets. Prospect Heights has seen rapid demographic
changes over the last decade, and its shifts are exemplified by a
mixture of older buildings under reconstruction, rows of classic 1890s
brownstones, and newly built luxury condominiums. The neighborhood is served by the New York Police Department's 77th Precinct.
Along the southern boundary, Eastern Parkway, from Grand Army Plaza to Washington Avenue is reminiscent of Manhattan's Fifth Avenue "Museum Mile". Immense, opulent buildings line the north side of the parkway, and the south side features the Brooklyn Public Library, Mount Prospect Park (not to be confused with Prospect Park), the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the recently renovated Brooklyn Museum. To its north lies Fort Greene, to the south, Prospect Park, to its west, Park Slope and to its east, Crown Heights.
The interior portion of the neighborhood consists mostly of brownstone-style
residential rowhouse buildings, some built as early as 1890, although
some blocks, such as Lincoln and St. Johns Place between Underhill and
Washington Avenues, include larger multi-unit apartment buildings. A
number of new condominium complexes are under construction in many parts
of the neighborhood.
Defunct bakeries and factory spaces line Pacific Street from
Vanderbilt Avenue to Carlton Avenue, and some have recently been
renovated and converted into lofts; still others have recently been
purchased by developer Bruce Ratner in anticipation of his Atlantic Yards Project. Recently, a number of these have begun to be demolished.
Ratner's company Forest City Ratner
has planned a controversial development on top of the neighborhood, the
plans for which would include a basketball arena and luxury housing. An
upscale, glass high-rise residential building designed by the architect
Richard Meier and located off of Grand Army Plaza was completed in 2008.
As demand for housing within Prospect Heights increased, some
residents of Crown Heights came to consider Franklin Avenue the western
border with Prospect Heights rather than Washington Avenue. However, most residents continue to consider Washington Ave the border,
and Washington Ave remains the eastern border of Prospect Heights as
recognized by major New York City media such as The New York Times, The
New York Post and the Wall Street Journal.
The name "Prospect Heights" can be traced as far back as 1889 to a letter to the editor published in the Brooklyn Eagle,
although at that time it was one of several potential names for the
neighborhood that has since come to be known as Park Slope. The letter
began by noting that it was "amusing to see the attempts made to fix
upon a name for the rapidly growing part of Brooklyn near Prospect Park,
bounded by Flatbush, Fifth and Ninth avenues, Some call it Park Slope, some Park Hill Side, some Prospect Heights and others Prospect Hill..."
widely diverse ethnic neighborhood in the 1910s through the 1950s,
consisting of Italian, Irish, Jewish, German, Greek and Yankee
residents, among others, Prospect Heights is currently well known for
its mixed black and white culture. Every year the West Indian Day Parade, the largest annual parade in New York City, follows Eastern Parkway, beginning in Crown Heights and ending at Grand Army Plaza
in Prospect Heights. During the last thirty years, the neighborhood has
seen an influx of new residents, more frequently young and white than
in the recent past, perhaps due to its having had slightly lower real
estate prices than neighboring Park Slope.
A thriving commercial zone has emerged along Vanderbilt Avenue, which
in just the last few years has been the location for new bars,
restaurants and specialty shops.
Recently, controversy has erupted in the neighborhood over a massive development project proposed by developer Bruce Ratner and designed by the architect Frank Gehry for the portion of the neighborhood known as Atlantic Yards. It seeks to construct an arena which would house the Brooklyn Nets
basketball team and an undetermined amount of housing and commercial
space, including a cluster of high-rise buildings that would tower over
most of the borough's existing low-rise architecture.
A number of community groups oppose the project, claiming, among other things, that it abuses the principles of eminent domain.
They further argue that the development will change the character of
the neighborhood by introducing out-of-scale architecture and increased
traffic to an already very congested intersection. Community groups also
dispute Ratner's suggestions that residents meaningfully participated
in the development of a Community Benefit Agreement.
Supporters of the project believe in its potential for reinvigorating what is now an unused, unattractive space.
It is also favored by local unions for its potential to create
construction jobs during and after its development. Residents of
Prospect Heights have been leaders in opposing the project, and block
associations have been uniformly active in raising funds to support the
grassroots resistance to the project.
The controversy over the project and its impact on the neighborhood
was a major factor in the decision to turn much of Prospect Heights into
a landmark district.
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WE ARE A FULL SERVICE GENERAL CONTRACTING FIRM [H.I.C.L. 1174732/ H.I.S.L.1174729] Business Integrity Commission Registration #2590
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