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Similar to its neighbor Fort Greene, Clinton Hill is also surrounded by Crown Heights, Bed Stuy, Prospect Heights, and Williamsburg.
Clinton Hill was named for DeWitt Clinton, a former mayor of New York City and governor of New York State. Like much of Brooklyn, it was settled by the Dutch, which purchased the land from the Lenape tribe. After the American Revolution, the Dutch, attracted to the sloping land's views of the East River and Manhattan, continued to build in the area. By the mid 19th century, Clinton Hill was largely owned by George Washington Pine, who sold lots to wealthy Brooklynites in search of a quiet residence away from the city but close to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Today, Clinton Hill is experiencing a cultural and artistic revival, drawing an eclectic mix of people, from young families to artists, foodies and historic house-hunters. With various architectural styles and rehabbed brownstones, Clinton Hill boasts a number of hidden gems. And while prices are rising, Clinton Hill offers more affordability as compared to nearby areas. The neighbourhood's diversity is evident even in its famous residents, who include Susan Sarandon, "Entourage" actor Adrian Gernier and Mos Def.
Clinton Hill's Historic District was designated in 1985, and includes the mansions of Clinton Avenue -- most notably the ones that belonged to the neighborhood's most famous resident: Charles Pratt, an oil tycoon and philanthropist who built a mansion for himself, and three other mansions as wedding gifts for his sons. These mansions, known as the Pratt Mansions, are found between DeKalb and Willoughby Avenues.
Other significant landmarks include the Pratt Sculpture Park, which is the largest outdoor sculpture garden in the city; Emmanuel Baptist Church, a Gothic revival-style building known for its stained-glass interiors and floral stencils; and the Joseph Steele House, one of the oldest-surviving houses in Brooklyn. The neighborhood is distinguished by its signature Italianate and Beaux Arts style row houses, which are considered some of the nicest homes in the city.
Clinton Hill's most prominent institution is Pratt Institute, founded by Charles Pratt in 1887. It began as an engineering school for immigrants. Today, it has some of the highest-ranking programs in architecture, interior design, and industrial design. The school also boasts several famous alumni, including Robert Redford and Martin Landau. The Brooklyn campus of St. Joseph's College is also in the neighborhood.
Noteworthy shops include the eco-friendly boutique Green in BKLYN, and the price-conscious wine shop Gnarly Vines.