Walking Tour: Brownstones & Bridges

  • Start St George Hotel
  • End Jane’s Carousel
  • Length 2 miles; two hours

Studded with historic structures, the area around Brooklyn Heights also has sublime views of Manhattan. Start at the corner of Clark and Henry Sts, at the base of the 30-story St George Hotel. Built between 1885 and 1930, it was once the city’s largest hotel with 2632 rooms.

Two blocks to the north on Orange St is Plymouth Church. In the mid-19th century, Henry Ward Beecher gave abolitionist sermons here, and held ‘mock auctions’ to raise money to buy slaves their freedom.

Continue west on Orange and then south on Willow St. The yellow 11-bedroom mansion at 70 Willow served as Truman Capote’s house while he was writing Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Continue south, turning right on Pierrepont St, and follow as it bends to the left. The street turns into Montague Tce, a one-block lane lined with stately old brownstones. Thomas Wolfe penned Of Time and the River at No 5.

From here, follow Remsen St west to reach the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. This scenic walking park with staggering city views was built by planner Robert Moses in 1942, as a way of placating locals irritated by the construction of the roaring expressway underneath. Enjoy a stroll north along the promenade, then continue north along Columbia Heights, and take the pedestrian-only Squibb Park Bridge down into Brooklyn Bridge Park. Once there, you can keep admiring the view while meandering across the park's grassy Pier 1.

Nearby is Fulton Ferry Landing. George Washington made an important hasty retreat here during the Battle of Long Island in 1776. From here, follow Water St under the Brooklyn Bridge (completed 1883), and past the Civil War–era brick structures of the Empire Stores & Tobacco Warehouse, now a retail and office center (and a great place to grab a snack). The walk ends at Empire Fulton Ferry, a section of Brooklyn Bridge Park and home to the gleaming 1922 Jane's Carousel.