City of Brooklyn is justly considered one of the most delightful places in the Union. Its close proximity to New York, its beautiful, cleanly and well-shaded streets, its salubrious atmosphere, the reputation of its divines and professional men, and the general elevated character and public spirit of its citizens, all combine to give to this "City of Churches" advantages which, if we may judge from the remarkably rapid growth of its population, do not fail of appreciation. Brooklyn, as now consolidated, numbers 225,000 inhabitants, and is therefore the third city in point of population in the United States.
Several lines of steam ferries run from the principal thoroughfares of the city, and connect with various points on the New York side, boats starting every two or three minutes, the fares being from one to three cents for each passenger. From most of these ferries city railways diverge in every direction into the country, which give to the city great freedom and capacity for expansion and growth.
Brooklyn is one of the best built cities in the United States. Its site is considerably elevated, that prominent portion known as the "Heights" being 70 feet above the river, and affording a most magnificent view of New York, the harbour and the surrounding country. The streets, with but one or two exceptions, are straight and even, intersecting each other at right angles, and being generally of about 60 feet in width. Many of these streets, especially those lying on the south-west side of the city, are adorned with elegant and substantial private residences, surrounded by fine yards and tastefully arranged gardens, while long lines of magnificent trees stretch on either side as far as the eye can reach, giving a lovely rural appearance to the city, which is really delightful, especially during the summer season.
Brooklyn was first settled in 1625. In 1806 it was incorporated as a township, and in 1834 received a city charter. In January, 1855, by a legislative act, Brooklyn, Williamsburgh and Bushwick were consolidated into one city, which has been divided into eighteen wards, each one forming a township in King's County.
The public buildings of Brooklyn are numerous, and many of them are elegant and imposing structures. It numbers over seventy houses of Christian worship, which has given it the title of "The City of Churches."
Among the public charitable institutions, we may mention the City Hospital, which has accommodations for 175 patients; the Graham Institution, for the relief of aged and indigent females, with room for nearly 100 persons; the Orphan Asylum, which furnishes a home for 200 children; the Marine Hospital, for sailors, and several other smaller charities.
The principal literary institutions are the Brooklyn Athenĉum, which contains a free library, a reading-room, and a large hail for lectures, and was erected at a cost of $60,000; the City Library, containing a large number of valuable books; the Lyceum, a fine granite building, with a large lecture-room, and the United States Lyceum, which is situated in the Navy Yard, and contains a rare collection of curiosities, including geological and mineralogical cabinets.
The United States Navy Yard occupies forty acres of ground on the south side of Wallabout Bay, and is well worth visiting by strangers, who are readily admitted on application at the gates.
The Atlantic Dock is also worthy of note as being one of the most extensive works of the kind in the country. It was erected in 1840, at an expense of $1,000,000, and is of sufficient depth to accommodate ships of the largest class.
Quite a large number of fine buildings have been erected for educational purposes, among the finest of which are the Polytechnic Institute for the education of boys, now numbering between 400 and 500 pupils, and the Packer Institute for young ladies, having over 700 pupils.
Among the great improvements of this year, (1859,) the most important is the introduction of pure water into the city, which will add largely to the health, wealth, and growth of the population.
Some of the finest cemeteries on the continent are located in Brooklyn. The most noted of these are Greenwood, the Evergreens, Cypress Hills, and Calvary Cemeteries. A brief description of the first-mentioned will be found on the preceding page.