Its modern history dates back to the early 1800s, with the establishment of the Fulton Ferry. The first neighborhood in the city to receive “historic district” protection, it was deemed a National Historic Landmark in 1965. It has been home to a plethora of notables including author Truman Capote, playwright Arthur Miller, actress Mary Tyler Moore, model Tyra Banks and musician Björk.
It’s difficult to overstate just how iconic Brooklyn Heights is, and near impossible to describe it in such few words.
We’ve done our best to map out a 24-hour tour of the neighborhood, which lies between the East River and Court Street — south of the Brooklyn Bridge and North of Atlantic Avenue. We’ll pass a few historic sites as well as some younger culinary gems. However this is by no means a comprehensive guide. You owe it to yourself to revisit this small plot of Brooklyn again and again as the years go by. New York City will keep changing, but Brooklyn Heights will likely keep staying the same.
Take in nature at Walt Whitman Park
"A great city is that which has the greatest men and women, if it be a few ragged huts it is still the greatest city in the whole world," Walt Whitman wrote in "Leaves of Grass." While the quaint park bearing his namesake is far removed from any ragged huts -- in fact, it is surrounded by towering structures -- it still manages to provide a haven from the noise and bustle. Take a moment to calm your thoughts here and wander the streets of Brooklyn Heights with Whitman in your mind. (Cadman Plaza East, Adams Street between Red Cross Place and Tillary Street)
Smell the flowers at James Weir Floral Co.
You may not havee a green thumb, but this lush little flower shop is a can't-miss. James Weir Floral Company has been providing an array of flowers in Brooklyn since 1853, and is the oldest florist in Brooklyn, according to its website. The staff is friendly and ready to answer any questions you have about caring for the flowers you're sure to leave with. (155 Montague Street)
Get breakfast at Cranberry's
When you walk into Cranberry's, you'll swear you stepped into a quiet corner bakery on the Upper West Side. Grab breakfast before you set out on your tour of the Heights: Order one of their house-made muffins or scones, or go for the classic egg white sandwich for $3 bucks on your choice of 7 grain, whole wheat, rye, or pumpernickel bread or bagel. If you don't make it until later in the day, try the fan favorite curry chicken sandwich or "some of the best empanadas I've had in NYC," according to one Zagat reviewer. (48 Henry St.)
Stop by Brooklyn Borough Hall for a history lesson
The pride and joy of downtown Brooklyn, Borough Hall was designed by architect Gamaliel King and constructed from 1846 to 1851, according to nyc.gov. The building served as Brooklyn's original City Hall (Brooklyn was its own city until it became part of New York City in 1898) and is Brooklyn's oldest public building. In the 1980s, the city took on a massive restoration project that included the installation of a bronze statue of "justice" on the roof. The statue was part of the original designs and was created based on King's original drawings and documents. (209 Joralemon St.)
Stroll along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade
You've seen this picturesque path in classic movies such as "Moonstruck" and "Annie Hall," and once you see it for yourself you'll understand why filmmakers are so taken by the vistas the boardwalk has to offer. The wide walkway, conceived by master builder Robert Moses, was constructed in part to help insulate Brooklyn Heights from the Brooklyn Queens Expressway's noise below and opened to the public in 1950. Don't leave the neighborhood without taking in the Manhattan skyline from this vantage point. (East edge, from Remsen Street to Orange Street)
Sit where President Lincoln did at Plymouth Church
Founded in 1847, Plymouth Church has a beautiful history. Among its notable moments was a visit in February 1860 by then-unnannounced presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln. (If you want to sit where he sat, find pew 89.) His speech, in which he stated his position against slavery, is credited with winning him the Republican nomination for president, according to the church's website. Plymouth merged with nearby Church of the Pilgrims in 1934, and today stands as an open and inclusive community of faith. (57 Orange St.)
Grab a hot sandwich at Lassen and Hennigs
This classic purveyor of baked goodness has been operating since 1949, and if you're exploring Brooklyn Heights on a chilly day, step in and warm up. While it specializes in catering, the storefront has great options for a quick lunch. Try the grilled chicken mango salad with red peppers and pecans, or the field greens salad with raspberries, oranges, walnuts, goat cheese, carrots and cucumbers. If you need to eat on the run, ask for the new roasted beet and hummus sandwich with feta cheese and field greens on multigrain bread for $7.50. (114 Montague St.)
Trim up or get a shave at Clinton Street Barber Shop
You may already have your go-to barber or stylist, but if you're in the neighborhood why not get cleaned up a little? The staff at family-owned Clinton Street does things the old-fashioned way, complete with the straightedge razor and warm towel treatment. Plus, you just can't beat the rates: $8 for a shape-up, $20 for a fade and $33 for a women's haircut. Plus they throw in complimentary coffee and snacks. If you've had a long day, ask for a cold beer. They'll hook you up. (104 Clinton St.)
Finish the day at Bevacco
Now that you've gotten yourself cleaned up after a long day, it's time for some impeccably prepared Italian food -- or at the very least a cocktail. Start off with some grilled octopus with cauliflower rice and pumpkin seed pesto, then get straight to the handmade pastas. There are several beef and boar options with which you can't go wrong, but if you're in the mood for seafood, try the house-made linguine with clams, fresno chili, leeks, fresh oregano and bread crumbs. For a veggie option, order the butternut squash tortelloni with grana padano fondue, sage, pumpkin seed and balsamic vinegar. (60 Henry St.)