The Willowtown Association is a neighborhood-based organization in the southwest corner of Brooklyn Heights whose mission is “to address issues impacting the quality of life for the residents and to serve as their collective voice and advocate.”
The boundary of Willowtown is from Joralemon Street to Atlantic Avenue and from both sides of Hicks Street to Furman Street between Joralemon and Atlantic. Membership in the association is open to all residents of this area, long-standing and new.
Begun in 1953 as an informal gathering of residents, the association was incorporated in 1997 as a not-for-profit organization with bylaws and an annual meeting held in November. The main business of the meeting is to elect the 12-member board of directors. The board meets quarterly. The annual meeting usually takes place as part of a festive potluck dinner. The association’s other annual event is a spring fair held in May.
The association is represented by its president on the Community Advisory Council of Brooklyn Bridge Park on the waterfront to the west of Willowtown and by its secretary/treasurer on the board of the Alfred T. White Community Center at 26 Willow Place. The center is the association’s official address.
In 2010 the Willowtown Association established The Alfred Award to recognize residents of Willowtown who have made a notable contribution to either the immediate or wider community.
The award is named for Alfred T. White, 1846-1921, known as “the great heart and mastermind of Brooklyn’s better self” and a lifelong resident of Brooklyn Heights. His main legacy in Willowtown is the innovative Riverside apartment complex built under his leadership at Joralemon Street and Columbia Place in 1889-90. The complex was designed to make life more pleasant, safe and healthy for the working poor. From 1876 to the end of his life the present Alfred T. White Community Center on Willow Place housed a kindergarten of which White was the founder and superintendent. An addition built in 1905 provided more classrooms as well as space for a clubhouse for the children who lived in the Riverside apartments.