Boerum Hill – A New York Community

As Boerum Hill celebrates its 50th Anniversary, I’ve been looking in our old files.

Here is a college paper by T.G. Butson, submitted to Long Island Universary in 1971. I’ve broken this three-and-one-half century history into 4 files. There’s good reason he received an “A” for this work.






(July 14th, 2014)

The Making of Boerum Hill

This is an article from the 1977 New Yorker that tells that tale of how Boerum Hill came to be. Its a wonderful story and an amazing tribute to the early neighbors who believed they could create a great place to live. How right they were!


(July 14th, 2014)

Battle Pass Project at Bergen & Smith Streets

This is the third year the Boerum Hill Association has supported an art installation at this intersection. We’re proud to present a Boerum Hill artist’s work and offer a place to sit and contemplate art. Here is the artist’s explanation of the work. We hope you enjoy it.

Battle Pass – Revolution II by Sasha Chavchavadze

“Battle Pass – Revolution II” was inspired by the Liberty Pole, a ship’s mast erected in Lower Manhattan as a symbol of protest in the years leading up to the Revolutionary War and by Walt Whitman’s poem about the battle, “The Centenarian’s Story.” The Battle Pass project, a series of public art installations, performances and workshops, draws parallels between past and present as it explores the complexity and devastation of war.

In the spring of 1776, Brooklyn prepared for war; farmers abandoned their homes and fields. Soldiers from other colonies arrived, and built a string of forts from Brooklyn Heights to Red Hook to defend Manhattan from British attack. Cobble Hill Fort stood almost due north of Bergen and Smith Streets, on a hill that once rose near the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Court Street.

From this vantage point in Cobble Hill, George Washington watched the Battle of Brooklyn unfold on the morning of August 27, 1776. He saw a small band of soldiers from Maryland fight, and die, at the Old Stone House to the southeast – in what in now Park Slope. And he saw his fledgling army, outmaneuvered and overwhelmed by British and Hessian forces make a hasty, desperate retreat across Gowanus Creek.

When the battle ended, Washington’s army was cornered, trapped between enemy troops and the East River in the very forts they had constructed to defend the city. The American Revolution could easily have ended here, in Brooklyn, if Washington had not made a daring escape to Manhattan by boat. Approximately nine thousand soldiers were ferried from Fulton Landing – to the north west of this spot – and across the East River to safety.

Eighty years later, Walt Whitman published “The Centenarian’s Story,” recalling the Battle of Brooklyn in the voice of an elderly veteran – remembering what happened here before these streets and brownstones were built:

The years recede, pavements and stately houses disappear.
Rude forts appear again, the old hoop’d guns are mounted,
I see the lines of rais’d earth stretching from river to bay,
I mark the vista of waters, I mark the uplands and slopes;
Here we lay encamp’d, it was this time in summer also.

Battle Pass is an initiative of Proteus Gowanus Interdisciplinary Gallery in Partnership with the NYC Department of Transportation Urban Art Program and the Boerum Hill Association.

Battle Pass Collaborators: Angela Kramer Murphy, educator; Eva Melas and Robyn Love, workshop artists; and Paul Benney, performer.

Proteus Gowanus, 543 Union Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215,

Battle Pass dedication

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(April 6th, 2012)

Living in Boerum Hill

While shopping for dinner recently I ran into an old friend and neighbor, Joe Mobilia, and we started talking about the growth of Boerum Hill. He reminded me about an article his wife, Wendy Smith, had written about why we choose to live here. It was written in 1998 but holds true today. Click on the link below.


(March 1st, 2012)

The kind of development we need.

I love the story of Hoyt/Schermerhorn. No — not this bad story. This awesome bringing-the-neighborhood-together story. How it took years of dialogue among residents and politicians. How a plan came together that made sense, fit into the neighborhood, made its strengths stronger and erased its weaknesses. Unlike other developments.

(August 31st, 2009)

Brownstone history in a nutshell

A brilliant article written by veteran Boerum Hill resident (is he still? idk) L.J. Davis. Reminds me that I need to read his book, “A Meaningful Life.”

(August 24th, 2009)

Pub Walks rule. More please.

Our original Boerum Hill Pub Walk is repeating itself: on July 14th and August 11th – both Tuesday nights, at 7:30. Same route as last time. Same awesome commentary and historic photos from Erik. Same inane witty banter from Chuck the tour guide. And most important, the same great bars. 

If you missed out on the first one, now’s your chance. Just $10. 7:30pm at the corner of Court & Atlantic. Call 646-320-5657 or email for more info. Or read the original post/press release


PS: This tour will not run in September or October so we can prepare for our next great, all-new pub walk — Haunted Boerum Hill — so act now or miss it forever!

(July 1st, 2009)

NYT “Thinking of Living in Boerum Hill”

Reminder – this was in the Times in 2003 – It’s still a great place to live!

(June 30th, 2009)

Our First Ever PUB WALK!

Yes — an event so important, I had to use the CAPS LOCK button. Forgive me. I don’t use it often. 

Tuesday, June 23rd – 7:30pm: It begins outside Trader Joe’s, at Atlantic & Court. The BHA’s first historical Pub Walk through Boerum Hill. A mere $10, accepted at start of walk. With drink specials coming from the three pubs we’ll visit: Brazen Head, Brooklyn Inn and Hanks. 

Join us for a fun night of  interesting tid-bits about Boerum Hill, as you pass by famous addresses, historical sites and stop in for a drink at three cool local pubs. It’s not a pub crawl, but a chance to see and hear history come alive as we pass through the heart of Boerum Hill (with, of course, a civilized drink or three along the way). 

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The Boerum Hill Association announced plans today for its first Boerum Hill Pub Walk, a series of 2-hour guided tours through the neighborhood it expects to host throughout the year for residents interested in learning about its rich history.


Modeled after “Original London” Pub Walks, the association’s first pub walk on June 23rd will follow a trail highlighting Boerum Hill’s role in history, from key revolutionary war battles to the home of Mohawk Indian steelworkers, all centered around short pit stops at 3 history-laden local pubs along the route – the Brazen Head, the Brooklyn Inn, and Hanks Saloon.


Board member and tour organizer Chuck Wells said, “These Pub Walks are going to be a fun way to discover (or rediscover) Boerum Hill as a small group taking a relaxed walk. If there’s strong interest we can always add more dates to accommodate more people. And for later in the year, we’re planning a second Pub Walk to focus on the history of haunted spots in the neighborhood. If nothing else, it’ll be a great way to meet neighbors and soak up the amazing history of our little part of Brooklyn.”


Tickets for the Tuesday, June 23 Boerum Hill Pub Walk are a mere $10, but do not include drinks (some pubs have promised us special discounts). Walk begins at 7:30pm sharp, and is limited to 20 participants. Meet outside Trader Joe’s at SW corner of Court & Atlantic. 

For more information, please call 646-320-5657 or email, (or come to the BHA General Meeting on June 18, 7pm, Belarusan Church at Atlantic and Bond)

(June 18th, 2009)

Brooklyn Eagle Reviews BHA Calendar

“It’s a must-have for all Boerum Hillers. The 28-page full-color 2006 Boerum Hill Calendar was just published by the Boerum Hill Association, and it’s a real looker. The seasonal photographs range from Victorian lookalikes now-covered streetscapes to those depicting Boerum Hill’s famous street fairs—the Atlantic Antic and Smith Street’s Bastille Day. Holidays are all noted as well as the all-important days that alternate-side- of-the-street parking restrictions are lifted.”

Read more (950KB PDF)

(October 31st, 2005)
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