City Stories

Brooklyn, NY

brooklyn ghetto brooklyn neighborhoods

The Real Brooklyn Neighborhoods:

Inside the Brooklyn Ghetto

New York City’s largest borough, the community of Brooklyn has legendary neighborhoods like Bed-Stuy, Brownsville, Bushwick, Coney Island, and numerous others.

The Real History of Brooklyn Neighborhoods

In Brooklyn’s early days, most Brooklyn neighborhoods were home to white families with culture backgrounds from different countries in Europe.

As many of the areas in Brooklyn started to change the communities were becoming more of a home to African-Americans as many white families left for other areas in Brooklyn and New York City.

This would eventually make Flatbush Avenue to become somewhat of a dividing line between the Brooklyn black neighborhoods and the other communities of the borough.

After African-Americans established their own Brooklyn neighborhoods West Indians were added into the community, helping the Brooklyn black population to expand into places like Canarsie or the Flatlands.

Flatbush is home to a large West Indian population. Courtesy Clyde Adams III

Even though the majority of African-Americans came into Brooklyn during the early and mid-1900s and West Indians followed right after, both groups have been in Brooklyn for many generations.

The legendary neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant (Bed-Stuy), the former home of Jay-Z and Notorious B.I.G, had one of the largest black populations in the country while being a historic community that once rivaled Harlem for black businesses and entertainment.

The Brooklyn Hispanic population is based in sections like Bushwick and Sunset Park.

brooklyn neighborhoods brooklyn ghetto

Courtesy of Paul Stein / Flickr

Just like other Brooklyn neighborhoods, these areas were the former homes of European immigrants that later became one of the homes for the city’s Puerto Rican population, starting around the mid-1900s.

The movement of blacks and Latinos into many of the Brooklyn neighborhoods was with the help of blockbusting and redlining.

These practices are when banks and real estate companies would try to influence white families to sell their homes and force minority families to move to a specific location while having only a few choices on where they could live.


Streets of Today’s Brooklyn Ghetto

While the streets of today cannot be compared to the streets of the 1980s and 1990s, the communities in Brooklyn are still some of the most respected in the city.

Infamous neighborhoods like Brownsville, which some say was similar to the South Bronx and was known for housing projects that were built in the 1950s and 60s, have always been reputable communities.

The famous Coney Island, with the high-rise housing complexes in the background, that helped changed the neighborhood. Courtesy Rich Mitchell/Flickr

Other neighborhoods in the streets of the Brooklyn ghetto include Coney Island and complexes of the Gravesend Houses or the O Dwyer Projects, East New York and the Pink Houses, the 90z and the old Vanderveer apartments of Flatbush, or projects like Fort Greene and Red Hook.

Gentrification is currently affecting many Brooklyn neighborhoods especially Bushwick.  Courtesy of Ed/Flickr

Today, the Brooklyn ghetto of Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights, Bushwick and Brownsville are going through gentrification due to their close location to downtown Brooklyn helping the community to shift into different areas.


Check out more of Brooklyn and other New York City communities.

*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research.  Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.