Carroll Gardens is a block-long area of playgrounds, walkways and sitting areas between Court and Smith Streets, with Carroll Street as its southern boundary and President Street on the northern side.
A long-standing Italian-American neighborhood of family run stores, Carroll Gardens is now sprinkled with cafes, boutiques and antique shops. It shares its northern boundary with Cobble Hill at Degraw Street and Boerum Hill at Warren Street, while extending south to Hamilton Avenue and Red Hook. Prior to the gentrification movement in the mid 1960’s, this part of South Brooklyn was considered by residents to be part of Red Hook. In the late 1940s, however, the southern tip of Red Hook was cut off from the rest of the neighborhood by the building of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and Gowanus Expressway, and the area now known as Carroll Gardens took on a separate and distinct character of its own. Today, Carroll Gardens is more middle class, while Red Hook, which had retained its working-class, waterfront ambiance, has only recently begun to feel the effects of gentrification.
In 1846, Richard Butt created the “front gardens” to the famous brownstone houses in the oldest section of the neighborhood. The brownstones are set back from the street by 30-40 feet, to create atypical (for Brooklyn) large front gardens. The Carroll Gardens Historic District, which includes some of the finest examples of these brownstones with large front gardens, is bounded roughly by 3rd Place to the south, President Street to the north, Hoyt Street to the east and Smith Street to the west.