Brooklyn (named after the Dutch city Breukelen) is one of the five boroughs of New York City. An independent city until its consolidation into New York in 1898, Brooklyn is New York's most populous borough, with nearly 2.5 million residents. If all five boroughs were independent cities, Brooklyn would rank as the third most populous city in the United States, behind Los Angeles and Chicago. Brooklyn is coterminous with Kings County, which is the most populous county in New York State, and the second most densely populated county in the United States (after New York County, which is coterminous with Manhattan).
Though a part of New York City, Brooklyn maintains a distinct character of its own. Brooklyn is enriched by cultural diversity, an independent art scene, distinct neighborhoods, and a unique architectural heritage.
Colleges and Universities:
Brooklyn College is a senior college of the City University of New York, and was the first public co-ed liberal arts college in New York City. The College ranked in the top 10 nationally for the second consecutive year in Princeton Review’s 2006 guidebook, America’s Best Value Colleges.
Brooklyn Law School was founded in 1901 and is notable for its diverse student body.
Kingsborough Community College is a junior college in the City University of New York system, located in Manhattan Beach.
SUNY Downstate Medical Center, originally founded as the Long Island College Hospital in 1860, is the oldest hospital-based medical school in the United States.
Long Island University is a private university in Downtown Brooklyn with 6,417 undergraduate students.
Southern Brooklyn was once the premier resort destination for New York City. Coney Island developed as a playground for the rich in the early 1900s, when wealthy New Yorkers would bet on horses at the Gravesend or Sheepshead Bay Race Track and dined at high-class restaurants and seaside hotels. No trip to Sheepshead Bay would be complete without a stop at the docks and then dinner at Lundy's Restaurant. The introduction of the subway made Coney Island a vacation destination for the masses, and it evolved into one of America's first amusement grounds. The Cyclone rollercoaster, built in 1927, is on the National Register of Historic Places. The 1920 Wonder Wheel and other rides are still operational at Astroland. Coney Island went into decline in the 1950s, but is undergoing a renaissance. The annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade is a hipster costume-and-float parade which honored David Byrne, pre-punk music guru, as the head merman in 1998. Coney Island also hosts the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.
The New York Transit Museum is a museum which displays historical artifacts of the New York City Subway and bus systems; it is located in the unused Court Street subway station in Brooklyn Heights. The Brooklyn Children's Museum was the world's first museum for children and has many exhibits on culture and zoology. The 52 acre (210,000 m²) Brooklyn Botanic Garden includes a cherry tree esplanade, a one acre (4,000 m²) rose garden, a Japanese hill and pond garden, a fragrance garden for the blind, a water lily pond esplanade, several conservatories, a rock garden, a native flora garden, a bonsai tree collection, and children's gardens and discovery exhibits. Brooklyn's rich African American history can be seen at the Weeksville Houses, where the first freed black community was formed in the early 1800s, and the Simmons African Arts Museum.
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