Alittle about The History of BROOKLYN A quick history of Breuckelen, Kings County & Brooklyn
In 1646, the Village of Breuckelen was authorized by the Dutch West India Company and became the first municipality in what is now New York State (the predecessors of the Cities of Albany and New York were numbers two and three, respectively). In 1683, almost 20 years after the English kicked out the Dutch (1664), the General Assembly of Freeholders reorganized the governmental structure in all of the province of New York into 12 counties, each of which was sub-divided into towns. Brooklyn was one of the original six towns of Kings County, an original county when the county/town system was established in 1683. Other local area original counties were New York, Richmond, Queens, Westchester and Suffolk. The Bronx was part of Westchester County until 1873, when the western Bronx was annexed by New York City/County, and 1895, when the eastern Bronx was annexed as well. The eastern two-thirds of Queens County seceded and became Nassau County in 1899, making Nassau the youngest county in New York State, although the Bronx "paper" county was established in 1914 when the Bronx "seceded" from New York County.) History of Breuckelen, Kings County & Brooklyn Village of Breuckelen (1646) preceded City of Nieuw Amsterdam (1653) by some 7 years. Brooklyn/Kings County has 2 names because it took some 200 years for Brooklyn to annex the other parts of Kings County. When the City of Brooklyn annexed the City of Williamsburgh and the Town of Bushwick, this area was then known as the 'Eastern District (E.D.) of the City of Brooklyn and Williamsburgh lost its final "h". The streets in Brooklyn do not line up because each of the 2 cities and 6 towns in Kings County were independent municipalities and purposely decided to create street grids with different naming systems that did not line up with the adjoining city or town. The Town of Gravesend was the only town where the streets run long north-to-south, all other cities and towns ran their streets long west-to-east. Gravesend was the only English town, all the others were Dutch. South Brooklyn is north of southern Brooklyn because until 1894 the Red Hook area (South Brooklyn) was the southernmost part of the City of Brooklyn. Bay Ridge was originally called "Yellow Hook" until a yellow fever epidemic struck and the name was changed.
Key Dates in the History of Kings County (Brooklyn)
1646 Village of Breuckelen granted charter by the Dutch West India Company. 1683 Kings County and 6 towns created: Brooklyn, Bushwick, Flatbush, Flatlands, Gravesend and New Utrecht. 1816 Village of Brooklyn incorporated within Town of Brooklyn. 1827 Village of Williamsburgh incorporated within Town of Bushwick. 1834 Town of Brooklyn (including Village of Brooklyn) becomes City of Brooklyn. Kings County now includes 1 city (Brooklyn) and 5 towns Bushwick, Flatbush, Flatlands, Gravesend and New Utrecht. 1851 Village of Williamsburgh secedes from Town of Bushwick and becomes City of Williamsburgh. Kings County now includes 2 cities (Brooklyn and Williamsburgh) and 5 towns Bushwick, Flatbush, Flatlands, Gravesend and New Utrecht. 1852 Town of New Lots secedes from Town of Flatbush. Kings County consists of 2 cities (Brooklyn and Williamsburgh) and 6 towns Bushwick, Flatbush, Flatlands, Gravesend, New Lots and New Utrecht. 1854 City of Williamsburgh and Town of Bushwick consolidated into City of Brooklyn. Kings County now 1 city (Brooklyn) and 5 towns Flatbush, Flatlands, Gravesend, New Lots and New Utrecht. 1886 Town of New Lots annexed into City of Brooklyn. Kings County now 1 city (Brooklyn) and 4 towns Flatbush, Flatlands, Gravesend and New Utrecht. 1894 Towns of Flatbush, Gravesend and New Utrecht annexed into City of Brooklyn. Kings County now 1 city (Brooklyn) and 1 town (Flatlands). 1896 Town of Flatlands annexed into City of Brooklyn. Kings County and City of Brooklyn become coterminous.
On May 4, 1897, the charter of "Greater New York" becomes law. It is entitled, "An act to unite into one municipality under the corporate name of the City of New York, the various communities lying in and about New York harbor, including the City and County of New York, the City of Brooklyn and the County of Kings, the County of Richmond, and part of the County of Queens, and to provide for the government thereof." The new city was comprised of five boroughs of Manhattan (New York County), Borough of The Bronx, Brooklyn (Kings County), Queens (Queens County), and Staten Island (Richmond County), totaling 359 square miles. The population around this time was 3.1 million and was expanding rapidly due to massive immigration and growing industries at the turn of the century. The future New York City was the second largest city in the world, exceeded only by London. A BRIEF HISTORY A call for consolidating the city and outlying communities first seriously began in 1868. Champions of consolidation feared that other booming urban areas would surpass New York City into second place among the nation's great cities. Advocates of independence argued that consolidation would cause Brooklyn to lose its identity, becoming a mere appendage of New York City. Brooklyn was the nation's third largest city at the time. A member of the Board of Commissioners of Central Park introduced the idea. Andrew H. Green, later known as "the Father of Greater New York" made an eloquent plea before the Legislature for the creation of a greater city. A commission to study consolidation was created as a result, and although the plan presented several bills for the creation, each was defeated. Finally, in 1894, Mayor Thomas F. Gilroy told the Common Council it was the destiny of the city to be enlarged to encompass the metropolitan area. After several vetoes, the Charter was finally approved by the new Governor Frank S. Black, on May 4, 1897. GOVERNMENT IN 1897 THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE is the Mayor, to be elected for a four-year term at the general election in November, 1897; it is to be noted that this is the "off-year," not the year for federal and state elections. Administrative departments under the Mayor include law, police, water supply, highways, street cleaning, sewers, public buildings, lighting and supplies, bridges, parks, buildings, public charities, correction, fire, docks and ferries, taxes and assessments, education, and health. At the head of each is a commissioner or a board. LEGISLATIVE POWER is vested in "The Municipal Assembly of the City of New York," comprising a council and a board of aldermen. The former is to have 28 members, elected from "council districts" for a term of four years, plus a president to be chosen on a general ticket. The latter is to receive $5,000 salary, the other members, $1,500. Every ex-Mayor of "The City of New York," so long as he remains a resident, shall be entitled to a seat in the Council without a vote. ALL ORDINANCES or resolutions are subject to the Mayor's veto, but may be passed over the veto by a two-thirds vote in each branch, provided that "in case the ordinance or resolution involves the expenditure of money, the creation of a debt, the laying of an assessment, or the grant of a franchise," it shall require a five-sixths vote. Among other powers specifically authorized are the acquisition of additional water-works, restricting the height of buildings to be hereafter erected, granting franchises (limited to 25 years) for street railways, and the maintenance and regulation of ferries. Thanks to Miriam Medina Walter Greenspan Back to BROOKLYN MAIN