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Get to know Carroll Gardens

South of Cobble Hill and north of Red Hook, Carroll Gardens was long simply part of the latter neighborhood. Then the Gowanus Expressway opened in 1941 and the two areas diverged, though it wasn’t until the 1960s that the name Carroll Gardens was coined and took hold. The area’s history as part of Red Hook helps explain its demographics. In the late 19th century Italian-American dockworkers from Red Hook, and later from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, settled here. While today only about a quarter of the neighborhood is still Italian-American, restaurants, bakeries, and coffeeshops maintain the Italian feel of the neighborhood. Carroll Gardens is also known for the unusual shape of the lots on many streets, with houses having large front yards thanks to the original 1846 street plan for the development. Many of them are lush and green with plants, hence the “gardens” in the neighborhood’s name.
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Commerce & Culture

For a small neighborhood, Carroll Gardens can boast that it has three busy commercial streets. One of the best-known restaurant rows of Brooklyn, Smith Street, runs near its eastern edge. Court Street, which is a major thoroughfare of both Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens, has not only old-school restaurants that have been open for generations, but also others that arrived with the wave of gentrification that began in earnest in the 1990s. Union Street, which runs perpendicular to Court and Smith, is more of a mix of residential and commercial, but a few local favorites can be found on Union or just off of it. If you are exploring Carroll Gardens, visit some of the businesses that maintain the area’s Italian-American flavor, like Mazzola Bakery (satisfying customers with its famous lard bread since 1928), Lucali (Beyonce is a fan of the brick-oven pizza), and Fragole (serving Italian comfort-food favorites).

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