HistoryIn the 17th century, Dutch colonists settled the land that ultimately became known as Brooklyn. The current name is an English variation of a small town in the Netherlands. Bushwick, Gravensend and Flatbush are some large neighbourhoods in the borough that highlight the early Dutch influence. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Brooklyn grew rapidly as an independent city with a heavy industrial base. It was only in 1898 that Brooklyn officially became a borough of New York City. The demographics of the borough have been dominated by Irish, Italian and Eastern European people for most of the 20th century. Today, the densely populated Brooklyn is one of the most ethnically diverse places in North America.
Attractions and SightseeingCovering more than 500 acres in the heart of Brooklyn, Prospect Park is a cultural and recreational hub. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is home to thousands of species of native and exotic plants that bloom seasonally. Neighbouring this urban oasis is the Brooklyn Museum, which has a permanent collection of more than 1.5 million pieces of fine art. The museum's Beaux-Arts facade is one of the most notable architectural landmarks in the borough. At the Prospect Park Zoo, you could spot more than 600 creatures in several themed exhibits, such as the World of Animals. Prospect Park is also anchored by other notable attractions, like the Grand Army Plaza and flagship location of the Brooklyn Public Library. Occupying the southern tip of Brooklyn, Coney Island is another popular destination. This oceanfront district has an extensive boardwalk that's lined with shops, vendors and amusement parks. During the summer, Coney Island attracts flocks of visitors for some fun on one of NYC's largest beaches. Appropriately integrated into the waterfront district, the New York Aquarium is another top attraction. Tropical fish, sea otters, penguins and sharks are among the hundreds of residents at this aquarium. Some other cultural hubs in Brooklyn include the New York Transit Museum and Brooklyn Children's Museum.
EntertainmentOpened in 2012, the Barclays Center has drastically transformed the entertainment and sports scenes in Brooklyn. This contemporary indoor arena is the official home of the NBA's New York Nets and NHL's New York Islanders. Boxing, music concerts and other shows are regularly hosted in this world-class venue that was initially funded by the Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. If you're looking for traditional entertainment in an intimate setting, head to the historic Brooklyn Academy of Music, which includes the Howard Gilman Opera House and Harvey Theater.
TransportationInstalled in the late 19th century, the Brooklyn Bridge has important status in Brooklyn's history, culture and transportation infrastructure. This historic suspension bridge connects Brooklyn Heights with Lower Manhattan. The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most recognizable water crossings in the United States. Another way to get between the two boroughs is through the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. Interstate 278 provides a convenient way to navigate most of Brooklyn by car. Of course, New York City subway system makes it easy to explore this heavily populated and frequently visited borough. Served by 10 lines, the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center is an important transit hub. Dozens of Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) buses also navigate the streets of Brooklyn.
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