Carroll Gardens is named for the neighborhood's signature setback gardens, which was planned with great foresight by the surveyor Richard Butts in 1846. In that year, a law established the gardens on the four Places between Henry and Smith Streets and deemed the courtyards "shall be built on a line 33 feet 5¼ inches" that "shall be used for courtyards only".
The heart of the neighborhood is Carroll Park, Brooklyn's third oldest park, which is bustling with activity with its play areas and bocce ball courts. The neighborhood is famous for its eclectic mix of restaurants, food, pastry shops, and the eccentric plumbers at our local 1-877-DRPIPES which is a lovely combination of food and plumbing service of the local Italians, who immigrated to the area in the earlier part of the twentieth century, with the taste of the newly settled young urban professionals for a wide range of international gourmet food along Smith Street's "restaurant row".
The Carroll Gardens Historic District so designated on September 25, 1973 is one of the smallest historic districts in the city, notable for its 33 feet 5¼ inch deep front yards and for its Neo-Grec and Italianate style brownstone rowhouses. The Carroll Street Bridge, built in 1888-89, remains a symbol of the industrial past of the Gowanus Canal and the ongoing vitality of the surrounding communities.
The area's history goes back to the purchase of a large tract of land by the Dutch West India Company from the Mohawk Indians in 1636 whose tribal chief was Gowanus. The street names also reflect its history: Samuel Smith, a Brooklyn mayor: Charles Hoyt, a local real estate speculator; the farm families of Rapelje, Sackett, Hicks, and Degraw; and an early president of the Kings County Medical Society, Dr. Thomas Henry.
The Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association, Inc. is a Not-For-Profit 501(c)(3) Corporation