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A family friendly community, Carroll Gardens -- surrounded by Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Gowanus and Red Hook -- is an idyllic small-town neighborhood with a strong Italian-American influence. It was named after Charles Carroll, the only Roman Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, and for its iconic, sweeping iconic front-yard gardens.
Settled by the Irish-Americans, and later, by the Norwegian-Americans, Carroll Gardens was once considered part of Red Hook. Following the construction of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway and the Gowanus Expressway, Red Hook was severed from the rest of the area -- and Carroll Gardens developed its own distinct identity. The neighborhood's lush gardens developed in the late 19th century, when surveyor Richard Butt planted gardens on area front lawns, which sit farther back than most Brooklyn homes. The lush foliage became so iconic that a law was passed stating that all homes between Henry and Smith Streets must have a "courtyard".
In the 20th century, the neighborhood became home to a growing Italian-American community whose influence is still prevalent in the area's local businesses.
Today, the upscale neighborhood is home to many professionals, young families and Italian-American families that have lived in the area for the generations. The area has also seen a growth in the French population. In July, Smith Street hosts its annual Bastille Day celebration. In addition, P.S. 58 in Carroll Gardens offers a highly coveted French/English dual language program.
Carroll Gardens has a rich history and interesting landmarks. Norwegian Seamen's Church was once visited by the King of Norway and is now a condominium; and St. Mary's Star of the Sea Church is where Al Capone married Mae Josephine Coughlin. Neighborhood institution Carroll Park was constructed as a private park in the 1940s and purchased by the state in the 1950s. The neighborhood also has many streets named for historical figures, namely Smith Street, named after Brooklyn Mayor Samuel Smith, and Hoyt Street, named after real estate speculator Charles Hoyt.
While the area is mostly known for its single-family homes, Carroll Gardens is seeing a large increase in condominium development, with projects such as Third & Bond, a 44- unit development designed by Rogers Marvel Architects.
Carroll Garden's small-town vibe lends itself perfectly to an afternoon stroll to take in the Historic District's beautiful gardens. There are plenty of boutiques and shops in the neighborhood's social hubs of Court and Smith streets, including Smith Street's famed "Restaurant Row," with such favorites as Battersby, Bar Tabac and Char No. 4.