WILLIAMSBURG -- GREENPOINT -- BUSHWICK
AND RIDGEWOOD -- STUYVESANT HEIGHTS
Area: East River and Clinton Ave. on the west to Evergreen Cemetery and the borough line on the east; Fulton St. north to Newtown Creek.
Principal highways: Broadway, Bushwick Ave., and Fulton St.
Transportation: BMT Jamaica subway, Marcy Ave. to Eastern Parkway stations; 8th Ave. (Independent) Queens-Brooklyn crosstown subway, Fulton St. to Greenpoint Ave. stations; Fulton St. el, Nostrand to Ralph Ave. stations.
NORTH BROOKLYN is an old, neglected, working-class residential area, built largely around the industrial centers along the East River and Newtown Creek -- where Havemeyer, Bliss, Pratt, Arbuckle, Bossert, and Cooper made fortunes in sugar, coffee, lumber, ships, oil, and glue. Williamsburg and Greenpoint are virtually unrelieved slums; Bushwick, Ridgewood, and parts of Stuyvesant Heights achieve a slightly genteel air, a reminder of their more prosperous days in the late nineteenth century.
WILLIAMSBURG, the area extending fanwise from the Williamsburg Bridge to Flushing and Bushwick Avenues, has a large polyglot population. The neighborhood, formerly the most congested residential area in Brooklyn, has lost some sixty thousand inhabitants since the 1920's. Here, with the erection in 1936-7 of Williamsburg Houses, a PWA construction project, began Brooklyn's first experiment in large-scale low-rent housing.
Originally part of the town of Bushwick, Williamsburg was founded about 1810 and named for a Colonel Williams, the engineer who surveyed it. About 1819 Noah Waterbury established a distillery at the foot of South Second Street, the first industrial plant in the locality. Williamsburg in the middle-nineteenth century was a popular resort; its hotels near the Brooklyn Ferry attracted a wealthy, cosmopolitan crowd, including such gourmets and sportsmen as Commodore Vanderbilt, Jim Fisk, and William C. Whitney. With the opening of the Williamsburg Bridge in 1903 and the resultant influx of immigrant families from overcrowded Manhattan, the district's affluence vanished.