Brooklyn (its name as borough of the city of New York; it is also King's County, a county of the state of New York), the "Borough of Homes and Churches", is one of the five Boroughs of New York and used to be and still feels much like a city in its own right, with 2.5 million inhabitants. If separate from the rest of New York City, Brooklyn would be the 4th largest American city.
Brooklyn is situated on the westernmost point of Long Island and shares a land boundary with Queens which partially encircles Brooklyn to the north, east and south; Manhattan lies across the East River to the west and north of Brooklyn and Staten Island is across the Verazzano Narrows to the southwest.
Brooklyn is currently enjoying a period of growth and affluence not seen since before World War II. There's world-class theater at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the center of a proposed new arts district that will include a new art museum and a highly controversial Frank Gehry-designed sports area home for the NBA's (Brooklyn) Nets. Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Brooklyn's Prospect Park as well as Manhattan's Central Park, thought his Brooklyn creation the finer of the two. Elsewhere in the borough, Williamsburg is a hipster neighborhood and burgeoning art colony, and Brighton Beach is home to New York's largest concentration of Russian immigrants.
Burgeoning new restaurants have lead to a new burgeoning political climate. Due to the near universal localized hatred of the proposed Ratner project for the Atlantic Yards, the local communities are organizing in surprising new ways.
Brooklyn and The Bronx were once separate from Manhattan, which was New York City. The cities merged in 1898. Frequently however, Manhattan is referred to as "the city" by residents of the other boroughs--for example "I´m going to the city" even though Brooklyn and the Bronx are basically cities on their own.
There are a variety of neighborhoods in Brooklyn Small Town Brooklyn has a scrollable map of many of them:
- Brooklyn Heights
- Cobble Hill
- DUMBO, an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge. Popular with artists for loft space.
- Park Slope Long a haven for interracial families, lesbians and gays, and everyone else with a certain kind of groovy in NYC, this upscale but downhome neighborhood can be joked about as the Berkeley of New York City. Boutiques, cafés, bars, health food stores like the 30 year old Park Slope Food Coop . . . and attractive young people pushing strollers. Also home to a sizeable lesbian community since the 1970's. Take the Q to 7th Ave or the F to 8th Ave and walk the neighbourhood. Prospect Park is large, beautiful and green. Ice-skate here in the winter. Fly kites and enjoy free weekend concerts in the summer. Check out 5th Ave for the resturants and bars.
- Carroll Gardens Historians date the name to the 1960's and the real estate people like to enlarge it's borders. Includes part of Smith St and the nearby areas. In the 1950's and further back in time, this area was known as (to the dismay of many!) Red Hook and (as it still is) South Brooklyn. Smith St has a newly charged restaurant row, but there's still plenty of oldschool Italian-American gems to be found.
- Williamsburg Take L train from Manhattan to Bedford or Lorimer. Many restaurants, several popular music clubs and burgeoning art gallery district. This is where all the artsy people went after they couldn't afford Manhattan anymore.
- East Williamsburg Centered around the Morgan Ave stop on the L train. Seemingly a desolate industrial area, this neighborhood has a strong developing music scene. It is also home to the swinger's club Grego's. Brooklyn's natural food store can be found here.
- Prospect Heights just north of Prospect Park, features the Brooklyn Museum, which is first-rate but often overlooked due to the museums in nearby Manhattan; a block away from the museum is the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Take the 2 or 3 train to Eastern Parkway.
- Red Hook is a formerly-bustling industrial area which may be on the upswing. Settled in 1636 by the Dutch, has seen many a boom and bust is today caught between those who like it as the sleepy part of town that time forgot vs. those who seek to restore its crown as the Queen of Kings Country Commerce.
- Cypress Hills
- Fort Greene has some great restaurants and the Brooklyn Academy of Music which features an art-house cinema, theater, and concerts such as the Next Wave Festival.
- Coney Island Ah the famous Coney Island. Take the D, F, N, or Q trains to the end to enjoy the beach or amusements or just get your official Nathan's hot dog. The Cyclone, a 1927 roller coaster, is the most famous of the amusement park rides at Coney Island, for good reason; it packs a lot of thrill into a small lot. Otherwise the amusement park is somewhat seedy, which is part of its appeal. http://www.coneyislandusa.com/
- Brighton Beach The (most famous) Russian enclave of Brooklyn. Not necessarily a tourist destination, there is not much set up for tourists. The people speak mostly Russian to each other, the store signs are practically all in cyrillic. An interesting experience. Good food that is not over-priced can be found here.
- Bay Ridge Traditionally an Irish neighborhood, Bay Ridge has recently sen an influx of Greek and Russian families as well. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge connects to here from Staten Island, and Fort Hamilton, a United States Army Base, is here as well.
- Sunset Park
- Greenpoint At the north-western tip of brooklyn, a large Polish population calls this neighborhood home.
- Sheepshead Bay
- Bensonhurst Italian, as far as the eye can see.
You can cross the Brooklyn Bridge on foot
- Brooklyn Bridge  - work started in 1870 on the first bridge crossing of the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn, finally completing in 1883 - a 1,595 ft suspension bridge
- Grand Army Plaza  - the gateway to Prospect Park, laid out in 1870. The Soldiers' and Sailors' Arch were added in 1892 as a memorial to the victorious Union Army. Each June, Grand Army Plaza is the focus for the Welcome Back to Brooklyn Festival for those born in the borough.
- Park Slope Historic District 
Museums and galleries
- Brooklyn Museum , 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, Subway: 2, 3, Eastern Parkway / Brooklyn Museum, tel (718) 638-5000, admission: suggested contribution adults $8, students with valid ID $4, adults 65 and over $4, members and children under 12 free, open We-Fr 10am-5pm, Sa-Su 11am-6pm - housed in a 560,000-square-foot, Beaux-Arts building, the Brooklyn is the 2nd largest art museum in New York City and one of the largest in the USA. Its world-renowned permanent collections include more than one million objects, from ancient Egyptian masterpieces to contemporary art, and represent a wide range of cultures. Only a 30-minute subway ride from midtown Manhattan, with its own newly renovated subway station, the Museum is part of a complex of 19th century parks and gardens that also includes Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and the Prospect Park Zoo
- Brooklyn Children's Museum , 145 Brooklyn Avenue
- Hogar Collection , 111 Grand Avenue (L train to Bedford Ave., located between Berry and Wythe), Phone: 718 388 5022, Hours: 12:00-7:00 Thursday through Monday (and/or by appointment), founded and run by artists (Todd Rosenbaum and Cecilia Biagini) American and International (especially from South America) emerging artists working in all contemporary artmaking practices including painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, installation, sound and video.
Parks and gardens
- Prospect Park  - established in 1867 and laid out by Olmstead and Vaux, the designers of Manhattan's Central Park. The Long Meadow is the largest continuous band of green space in New York.
- Brooklyn Botanic Garden , 1000 Washington Avenue - not vast at 50 acres, but well worth a visit. Designed by the Olmstead Brothers in 1910.
- Coney Island 
- New York Aquarium , Boardwalk and West 8th St, Coney Island
- Brooklyn Academy of Music
- Hunan Delight Neighborhood Chinese restaurant; excellent Vegetarian options (fake meat, etc) and sweet and sour soup. 748 Union St (between 5th and 6th Ave) in Park Slope. Subway F to 7th Ave. Delivers, 718-789-1400.
- Schnack 122 Union St "Gateway to Red Hook". Very yummy, very affordable burgers, dogs, sausages, and of course beer. Check out the menu online. Everything is fresh and well-chosen, the owner a big friendly guy (who likes to edit wikis), even if the waiters/waitresses are a bit abrupt (hopefully nicer now!). DIRECTIONS: From Smith St walk along UNION St. Against the traffic about 5 Blocks. From Altantic walk down towards the water, left on Columbia, (go about 10 blocks) and then Left on Union. Or call 718 855 2879. Schnack has Free WIFI.
- Geido Restaurant 331 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217. Excellent sushi bar in Prospect Heights. (718) 638-8866
- Scopello 63 Lafayette Ave at Fulton St, near BAM in Fort Greene. Delicious Sicilian / Italian food, also influenced by Greek, Spanish, and Arabic cuisines. Warm atmosphere. Dinner is usually under $20. The sardine appetizer is incredible. (718) 852-1100
- Tea Lounge, 837 Union St. (Park Slope). +1 718 789 2762. By now it's a tried and true formula: a big room with lots of thrift-shop couches, an italian coffee machine and the expertise to use it to make a well crafted mocha, pastries, bagels etc. and a nice selection of wine. It works great here as it should everywhere. Through in cool ceiling fans and free wireless internet access and you're set for a great morning windup to NYC site-seeing. $2 regular coffee
- South Paw, 125 5th Ave, Park Slope, .
- The Hook, 18 Commerce St, Red Hook, .
- Northsix, Williamsburg, .