Carroll Gardens’ charm can’t go unnoticed. This beautiful little neighborhood consists of many eye-catching brownstones and gorgeous trees. It also has unique front gardens adding texture and color to the trendy suburb.
Old-timers and young families enjoy the small-town feel of Carroll Gardens. It’s a friendly neighborhood where shop owners know your name and residents are always keen for a chat. No longer under the radar, the leafy and quiet enclave within the city attracts New Yorkers searching for a casual vibe and a more relaxed lifestyle.
Carroll Gardens shares a northern boundary with Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill. The three neighborhoods are sometimes shorthanded as “BoCoCa.” It also extends south to Hamilton Avenue and Red Hook.
Well-connected to public transport and chock-full of desirable schools, this small area packs a lot of punch and has become one of the city’s most sought-after neighborhoods.
In the late 19th century, Carroll Gardens was home to a thriving Scandinavian community due to the nearby seaport. The Scandinavian community’s original center was Hamilton Avenue, which brimmed with shops selling Scandinavian food, books, and newspapers. As they moved out of the neighborhood, Italians settled in. The area was still part of the Red Hook neighborhood back then.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the suburb was somewhat of a poor area known to be an Italian ghetto. One of the most notorious gangsters in US history, Al Capone, even got married there on Court Street! During the 60s, the neighborhood was renamed Carroll Gardens due to the unique front gardens that adorn many local houses.
In the 80s, New Yorkers, attracted by cheap housing prices, skyline Manhattan views, and proximity to the city, started to flock to the area. The suburb’s gentrification pushed out some old-timers no longer able to afford rising prices.
More recently, PS 58 Brooklyn – The Carroll School started offering a French-English curriculum attracting many French-speaking families to the middle-class neighborhood.
Education, Culture, and Lifestyle
The American-Italian roots of this charming neighborhood can be found in the traditional Italian family-run shops and cafes lining up Smith and Court Streets. Avenues and streets are sprinkled with hip boutiques, trendy cafes, and antique shops. Nowadays, bakeries and Italian-American butcher shops coexist with incredible Asian restaurants, reflecting cultural diversity. Some of the best addresses for foodies include Alsace-inspired restaurant La Cigogne, Argentinian restaurant El Mate and Thai iconic food spot Ugly Baby.
Despite its gentrification, Carroll Gardens has retained its original cachet and tight-knit community vibe.
On your day off, stroll along the many streets lined with heritage row houses built between the 1860s and 1880s before enjoying a coffee and knitting session at La Casita Yarn Shop. In the afternoon, unwind at Carroll Park, the oldest park in Brooklyn, and enjoy a theater performance at the Smith Street Stage.
Young families have more recently contributed to the neighborhood’s diversification inspired by the excellent standard of education. After all, Carroll Gardens is home to some of the best schools in NYC.
Transit and Real Estate
Carroll Gardens is the definition of proximity. You can literally walk to lower Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge. The neighborhood is also serviced by the F and the G trains on Carroll Street, which are great options if you’re heading downtown or midtown. The bus station on Court St/President St will also take you downtown. Love riding your bike? Bicycle lanes are available for active residents. Many cabs are also available in the area 24/7.
Sure, the area is not as affordable as it used to be. But skyline views, short commute, leafy streets filled with gorgeous heritage homes and blooming gardens, and excellent schools have turned this former ghetto into a haven for young families and professionals.