Brooklyn's toniest neighborhood offers residents something that wealthy Manhattanites will never have: a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. First developed in the mid-1800s as the business center of the then-independent city of Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights showcases historic cobblestone streets of pristine brownstones.
There is a lot of history in Brooklyn Heights itself. In the early to mid-20th century the Heights was a bohemian haven, home to a virtual "who’s who" of writers like Arthur Miller, Truman Capote, Henry Miller, Alfred Kazin, Carson McCullers, Paul Bowles, Marianne Moore, Norman Mailer, and W. E. B. Du Bois.
The majestic Brooklyn Bridge has one foot in Brooklyn Heights, near DUMBO, and a walk across it either to or from Lower Manhattan is one of the quintessential New York experiences.
Much of Brooklyn Heights’s early architecture has been preserved, thanks to its designation as New York's first historic district in the 1960s. Some 600 buildings built in the 19th century represent a wide range of American architecture styles. Many of the best line Columbia Heights, a residential street that runs parallel to the promenade, but any of its adjoining streets are also worth strolling. On Willow Street be sure to note No. 22, Henry Ward Beecher's prim Greek Revival brownstone, and Nos. 155–159. These three brick Federal row houses are said to have been stops on the Underground Railroad. The skylight in the pavement by the gate to No. 157 provided the light for an underground tunnel leading to an 1880 carriage house. Plymouth Church, where Beecher preached, saw the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Charles Dickens, and Ralph Waldo Emerson in its congregation.