• Photo: Mary Robnett

Fort Greene and Clinton Hill

Cultural and educational institutions, flatteringly lit cafés, and show-stopping architecture make today’s Fort Greene and Clinton Hill irresistible in many ways. Wedged between the Brooklyn Navy Yard to the north and Atlantic Avenue to the south, Fort Greene has leafy streets and an illustrious past: everyone from Walt Whitman to Spike Lee has called this area home, though the neighborhood has been through ups and downs. Significant landmarks in African American history occurred here, including the opening of Brooklyn’s first African American school, in 1847, after slavery was abolished in New York State. The Brooklyn Navy Yard brought prosperity, then decline in the middle of the 20th century. Crime and poverty impacted the area through the 1960s, '70s, and '80s, but by the 1990s, the neighborhood was reinvigorated once again. Fulton Street and DeKalb Avenue, for shopping and dining respectively, are important thoroughfares, and off Fulton on Lafayette Avenue are two neighborhood mainstays, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the seasonal Brooklyn Flea. Lafayette, Fulton, and DeKalb continue east into affluent, mostly residential Clinton Hill, which nestles comfortably between Fort Greene to the west and Bedford-Stuyvesant to the east. Here, tree-lined Clinton and Washington avenues please the eye with their 19th-century mansions in various architectural styles.

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