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The largest neighborhood in Queens, Long Island City is a bustling neighborhood that is constantly growing and expanding. Long Island City boasts the largest concentration of art galleries, institutions and studio space in any neighborhood in New York City. With a bustling art culture, Long Island city is a perfect place to shoot photos and to film in. And being bordered by both Manhattan and Brooklyn, it is an easy to get to central location.
The area of Long Island City was originally inhabited by the Native Americans, though after a land grant to the Dutch in the 1600’s, it became farmland. The farmland later industrialized in the 1860’s, with the advent of the Long Island Rail Road making the commute for many workers quite simple. This industrialization brought new life to the suburban farmland, and with the implementation of the Queensboro bridge it became even easier to travel to Long Island City. Despite losing many of the factories after the industrial revolution, many of the old buildings still remain even as Long Island City grows more into an artistic place to be.
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Downtown Brooklyn is located in the heart of Brooklyn, below DUMBO and situated right next to Brooklyn Heights. As one of the top three largest central business districts in New York City, it’s a great place to do filming and photo shoots. A block away from Fort Greene Park, and located in a busy metropolis, the area is dusted with hundreds of businesses, museums, convenience stores, and various attractions.
Originally occupied by the Lenape Native Americans, the area that is now Downtown Brooklyn sold to the Dutch in the 1600s. It remained quiet farmlands for the next two centuries, until the Fulton Ferry came and revolutionized travel into Manhattan. With the new, faster and safer method of travelling between Manhattan and Brooklyn, Downtown Brooklyn came to life, growing into the busy, bustling neighborhood we know today, and further expanded with the addition of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. Before and during the civil war this neighborhood hosted a slew of safe houses in the underground railroad, many of which are still standing today. The mix of old, historical buildings and new towering high-rises give Downtown Brooklyn a unique and different feeling than anywhere else in Brooklyn.
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Bought in 1638 by the Dutch West India Company, Williamsburg was first named the Town of Boswijck. Later, with England’s colonization of America, it became Anglicized to Bushwick, and then later to Bushwick Shore. Because Williamsburg is so close to Manhattan it became a great asset to farmers who wanted to ferry their goods across the East River to bring into Manhattan’s markets to sell. Williamsburg was brought within the Town of Bushwick in 1827, and grew increasingly urbanized since then. Colonel Jonathan Williams renamed the area to Williamsburgh, though the ‘h’ at the end was soon discarded at the end of 1852 when it became its own town once again. However, the town of Williamsburg lasted less than a decade, before it was incorporated into Brooklyn, becoming Brooklyn’s 13th ward.
As with most areas in Brooklyn, Williamsburg was also a place for factories and manufacturers to set up shop during the industrial revolution, and with easy ferry access to Manhattan it was no wonder that Williamsburg quickly became a hub of economic growth. The Williamsburg Bridge was added once Brooklyn was incorporated into New York City, providing even easier access to Manhattan. Once the industrial revolution started to die out, however, the area saw troubled times as the factories shut down, bringing in a wave of unemployment and crime. Fortunately, however, in the 1990’s the area started to see improvement, and began to gentrify with an explosion of rezoning and new housing. Since then, Williamsburg has become an influential hub for both culture and the arts, boasting a phenomenal local art community and housing many of Brooklyn’s greatest galleries. Its music scene is just as incredible, as Williamsburg is now known as the center for electroclash and indie rock.
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Originally named ‘Fulton Landing’, after the ferry stop in the area, DUMBO started out as a manufacturing district, with a multitude of warehouses and factories. Though it went by many names in its long history (including Gairsville after the invention of the cardboard box by Robert Gair in the area), it was finally renamed to DUMBO in 1978 by residents who thought such an ‘unattractive’ name might help stop development in the area. After the industrial revolution DUMBO quickly became a mainly residential district, host to artists who enjoyed the beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline. Bordering the East River, with some of its original cobblestone streets, and trolley tracks, DUMBO is both a beautiful and historic area to. While most of the warehouses and factories have been converted to offices and luxury lofts after the industrial revolution, they still boast the historic charm, with little change in the outward façade. Despite being mainly residential, there are dozens of shops in the area, and DUMBO itself is also known as Brooklyn’s tech-triangle, housing to 25% of New York City’s tech-firms.
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Greenpoint, Brooklyn is home to a long and rich history. Originally settled by the Keskachauge Native Americans, Greenpoint was bought in 1638 by Dutch settlers. Known for its excellent wildlife and greenery, the area was quickly made into farmland. By the time the revolutionary war hit, there were only five families living in the area, though that number would soon grow as a ferry was introduced and roads were built. By the 19th century, Greenpoint was quick to industrialize and became well known for its ship-building, its oil refineries and its factories, which brought in large numbers of immigrants, especially those of Polish descent. As time passed and ships grew in lower demand, these buildings became storage spaces, event spaces, or modernized into something else entirely. Because of its long history and early colonization, Greenpoint, like many parts of the northeast, is home to dozens of historical buildings and has a slew of varied architecture, making it an interesting and unique place to film. Despite being located against the East River, and thus being blessed with beautiful skyline views of Manhattan, Greenpoint is still relatively isolated from the rest of the big city. The only train that stops here, the G train, is the only train that does not go into Manhattan, and it leaves the area relatively quiet, with low street traffic. The neighborhood is spacious enough that buildings do not need to be stacked upon one another, which allows for open space that is hard to come by in New York City. Despite this, Greenpoint is a hip and trendy neighborhood, with a wide variety of shops and restaurants, and has been dubbed by some the ‘New Williamsburg”. It’s no wonder why many choose Greenpoint as a home to their films, shows and other projects.
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