History & Culture
Though Crown Heights was settled by Dutch farmers as early as the 17th century, and by Lenape Indians even earlier, it wasn’t until the 1910s that the neighborhood began to be seriously developed. As with many parts of Brooklyn, Crown Heights’ boom can be credited to mass transit projects. When the IRT’s Eastern Parkway Line (used today by the 2, 3, 4, and 5 trains) opened, it stood out from other Brooklyn train routes for its underground instead of elevated tracks. Beginning in the 1960s, Crown Heights’ demographics began to shift, with the area becoming increasingly Caribbean and African-American. While many Hasidic communities chose to move upstate, Lubavitch residents kept their headquarters in Crown Heights, contributing to the diversity of the area today. Cultural institutions of note include the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, the Jewish Children’s Museum, and the Weeksville Heritage Center, on the site of an early free-black settlement.