Wallabout is either a dressed-up name for the gritty area abutting the Brooklyn Navy Yard and sliced by the BQE. Or it’s a true neighborhood with a vibe distinct from Fort Greene and Clinton Hill to the south.
Whatever your take, Wallabout is a stronghold of Brooklyn history that’s worth a look. The name comes from the Dutch word Waal-bogt, which means a bend in the river. This bend is Wallabout Bay. Here, the British docked 12 prison ships holding captured Revolutionary War soldiers.
More than 11,000 men died on ships like the one in the engraving above. Some of their remains are entombed in the haunting Prison Ship Martyrs Monument in nearby Fort Greene Park.
Wallabout grew into a residential district in the mid-19th century, housing workers who toiled along Brooklyn’s thriving waterfront. These workers lived in wood frame houses, some of which still stand.
These 2- and 3-story houses, with lovely porches, are modest and charming—especially compared to the mansions up the hill closer to the Pratt campus.
In fact, historic Wallabout, which the Historic District Council defines as eight blocks roughly between Myrtle and Park Avenues, has the largest concentration of pre-Civil War wood frame homes in the city.
Wallabout has literary cred as well. Walt Whitman is believed to have lived in the nabe; his former home is supposedly 99 Ryerson Street (not pictured, since it’s covered in cheap siding).
Tags: 18th Century Brooklyn, clinton hill, Dutch in Brooklyn, Fort Greene, Fort Greene Park, Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, Revolutionary War in New York City, Wallabout, Wallabout Bay, Wallabout Brooklyn, Walt Whitman, Walt Whitman in Brooklyn