Fort Greene is a popular neighborhood in northwestern Brooklyn located near Clinton Hill and Boerum Hill. Known for its historic architecture, expansive green space, and delicious restaurants, Fort Greene has developed into one of Brooklyn’s trendier neighborhoods. Many know the neighborhood for its namesake park, while others know it for Brooklyn Technical High School, one of the best and most elite high schools in New York City. Fort Greene has plenty of secrets to explore, such as the fascinating history of its Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument, its celebrity presence, and a strange and rarely mentioned chocolate flood that was disastrous for the neighborhood. Here are our 12 secrets of Fort Greene!
1. Fort Greene takes its name from a Revolutionary War-era fort
Fort Greene was a Revolutionary War-era fort built in 1776 under the supervision of Nathanael Greene, a Continental Army General from Rhode Island. The fort was first called Fort Putnam after Rufus Putnam, Washington’s Chief of Engineers, and was the largest on Long Island, with star-shaped earthwork and six cannons. Greene aided George Washington during the Battle of Long Island, which was ultimately a defeat for American forces. Though, after the battle, Washington withdrew his troops from the fort in darkness, which saved the Americans from total defeat. The fort deteriorated in the following years, though it was repaired in advance of an attack during the War of 1812.
The fort was located near present-day Fort Greene Park, which was a lesser-known collaboration between Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. One of the main proponents for the construction of the park was none other than poet Walt Whitman. The park is the oldest in Brooklyn designated by the city.