He smiled and said to us, "you look like tourists. Do you want to know something about the history of this area?"
We did. We were in a neighborhood called Red Hook (from the Dutch Roode Hoeck), one of six Dutch villages that became Breuklelen (Brooklyn). The "roode" came from the red soil. The "hoeck" means point, not "hook". If you look at a map, you'll see what they meant.
The young man continued, "did you notice how a lot of buildings have the name "Liberty" in them? Like the building you are standing next to?" Sure enough.....
Liberty Warehouse, dates from the 1850's. It is a wedding venue today.
In the 1850's and 1860's, Brooklyn was not part of New York City. It was a separate city.
During the Civil War, Brooklyn was the third largest city in the country. Prior to the Civil War, Robert E. Lee was stationed at Ft. Hamilton in Brooklyn. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was stationed at Ft. Hamilton also, and baptized in Brooklyn. Ft. Hamilton is still an active military base.
The ironclad U.S.S. Monitor was built in another neighborhood of Brooklyn, Greenpoint.
A fascinating book on Brooklyn and the Civil War was published earlier this year. Highly recommended if you want to read more on this topic.
No matter where we live, we walk in history.