WHEN in 1833 it was proposed that the village of Brooklyn become incorporated into the city of New York, community spirit was already strong enough to resist the overtures from across the river. "Between New-York and Brooklyn," General Jeremiah Johnson, of Wallabout, declared, speaking for the Brooklyn villagers, "there is nothing in common, either in object, interest, or feeling -- nothing that even apparently tends to their connexion, unless it be the waters that flow between them. And even those waters, instead of, in fact, uniting them, form a barrier between them which, however frequently passed, still form and must forever continue to form an unsurmountable obstacle to their union."
The general's defiance was fateful. Geographically and hence commercially, Brooklyn was bound to the island of Manhattan; yet it became a city and remained one for sixty-four years. When incorporation finally took place, in 1898, the "insurmountable obstacle" to the union had already been spanned by the mighty Brooklyn Bridge. The Williamsburg and the Manhattan bridges followed and the high-sounding words of General Johnson have long since been lost in the roar of three subways under the river.
So integrated is the borough with the metropolis that it is startling to realize that it is comparable to Chicago in size. Its population of about 2,800,000, like that of the midwestern city, occupies a vast area, some eighty square miles. Brooklyn is one of the greatest maritime and indus-