East New York is located in the north-easternmost part of Brooklyn, just north of Canarsie. The neighborhood is bordered by Cypress Hill and the Cemetery of the Evergreens to the north (Jamaica Avenue), the neighborhood of City Line to the east, Canarsie and New Lots to the south (East 108th Street), and Brownsville and Bed-Stuy to the west (Rockaway Avenue).
Originally a commuter town that sprung up around mass-transit train lines in the 1830′s, East New York has witnessed waves of immigration throughout its history. As a result, the neighborhood offers a wide variety of multi-ethnic eateries and specialty shops.
East NY is home to the MTA’s ENY Bus Depot, which operates 13 bus lines in Brooklyn and 2 lines in Queens. The depot is a critical part of NYC’s mass-transit system, and an important part of the neighborhood’s economy. East New York also boasts one of only three Brooklyn stops on the Long Island Rail Road, providing direct access to Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties.
In the neighborhood of Cypress Hills, the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, a nonprofit group of activist residents and merchants, has revitalized the Cypress Hills community through economic development with grants to improve retail storefronts; housing preservation by renovating buildings to create affordable housing; and support for youth and families, including the creation of a community school.
The Dyker Heights community is famous for grandiose Christmas decorations. Visitors from all over the Tri-State Area come to see the stunning displays of lights, animatronic statues, and synchronized music. Many of the amazing decorations are motivated by complicated family stories, illustrating the long history of the neighborhood and the closeness of the families that live there. The displays have been the topic of several TV documentaries, most notably PBS’ “Dyker Lights”.
The East Brooklyn Business Improvement District, another important nonprofit, operates in an area bordered by Powell Street (in Brownsville), East New York Avenue, Atlantic Avenue, Sheffield Avenue, and Sutter Avenue. The district includes an industrial park featuring businesses engaged in light manufacturing or distribution and a commercial strip on the southern border.
The Local Development Corporation of East New York administers the State-designated Empire Zone in East New York, which offers financial incentives and tax credits, including wage tax credits for companies hiring full-time employees in newly created jobs, and utility discounts to businesses located within the zone. The organization also offers entrepreneur programs, including those targeted at women entrepreneurs, to encourage the development of small businesses.
Although East New York’s reputation, like that of several other nearby neighborhoods, had been tarnished in the 1980′s, the neighborhood is definitely on the way up. With multiple economic incentives, a steadily dropping crime rate, and a strategic position on the cross-roads of two major counties, East New York offers many opportunities for small- to medium-sized businesses, as well as residents looking for an economically stable area.
The neighborhood offers a selection of parks, playgrounds, and recreational facilities. The 3.3-acre Evergreen Park, adjoining Cemetery of the Evergreens, and the 4,000-plus-acre Jamaica Bay Wildlife Sanctuary are the crown jewels of this neighborhood’s natural areas. In addition, small and medium-sized parks and playgrounds are scattered throughout East New York, providing residents with plenty of space to relax, play sports, and enjoy themselves. The City has renovated and upgraded several parks in the last few years, one example being Linden Park, which had received a $3.5-million overhaul in 2005 and now features a world-class running track, 80,000-square-foot field multi-lined for football and soccer, basketball courts, a baseball diamond, and high-tech seating & lighting.
East New York’s premier shopping destination is the Gateway Center Shopping Mall, a modern 640,000-square-foot facility filled with shops, eateries, and entertainment venues.