Named for Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Greene, Fort Greene was a garrison during the revolution and the War of 1812. After New York abolished slavery in 1827, the enclave became a haven for African Americans and the location of Brooklyn’s first black school. By the mid-19th century, construction was underway on the handsome Italianate brownstones that line the streets today. The Brooklyn Academy of Music opened in 1908, launching the cultural renaissance that continued throughout the century spurred by prominent local residents, such as Spike Lee, Branford Marsalis, and Betty Carter. In 1992, Entertainment Weekly called Fort Greene, “the New York neighborhood at the redhot center of a national black arts renaissance.”
Life in Fort Greene is centered on its namesake park, where residents enjoy a myriad of community events, including a bustling weekly greenmarket, regular kids’ activities, art exhibits and nature workshops. Designed in 1867 by the revered Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, Fort Greene Park features historical monuments and winding trails surrounding tennis courts, playgrounds and picnic areas.
The Brooklyn Cultural District brings world-class arts and entertainment to Fort Greene, including outstanding BAM spaces for performing and visual arts, BRIC’s media center and cultural programming, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts and more. Barclays Center and the burgeoning Pacific Park development fill the neighborhood’s southern edge with undulating new-construction high-rises.
Along its western border, Fort Greene blends into Downtown Brooklyn adding proximity to the borough’s employment center to its many attributes. Flanked by Pratt Institute, Long Island University, Brooklyn Technical High School, NYU’s engineering school and NYCC’s technology campus, Fort Greene is a haven for students and educators in the arts and sciences.
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