Brooklyn, New York, the second largest and the most heavily populated borough of New York City. It is at the extreme southwestern tip of Long Island and is separated from downtown Manhattan by the East River. Brooklyn's boundaries are the same as those of Kings County. A belt highway system runs along Brooklyn's shores. The Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg bridges, the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, and subway tunnels are major links with Manhattan. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge leads to Staten Island.
Although the borough is largely residential, it has a number of industrial plants. Much of the foreign commerce arriving in New York City is handled in Brooklyn's port facilities.
Institutions of higher education include the Polytechnic University of New York, Pratt Institute, St. Joseph's College, and branches of the City University of New York, the State University of New York, and Long Island University. Among major attractions are Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Children's Museum, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Coney Island is famous for its long, sandy beach, boardwalk, aquarium, and amusement park.
Dutch farmers began settling what is now Brooklyn in 1636. Numerous communities arose; one of them, Breuckelen (also spelled Breucklyn), eventually gave its name to the entire area. In 1776, during the Revolutionary War struggle for Long Island, the British defeated Washington's troops on Brooklyn Heights. Brooklyn was incorporated as a village in 1816 and as a city in 1834. It was merged with New York City in 1898. The population peaked at roughly 2,738,000 in 1950. In the 1980's and 1990's, skyrocketing housing costs in Manhattan fueled a middle-class housing boom in Brooklyn, where costs were somewhat cheaper.