"It'd take a guy a lifetime to know Brooklyn t'roo an' t'roo," wrote novelist Thomas Wolfe. "An' even den, yuh wouldn't know it all."

Brooklyn occupies a special place in the American imagination. The Brooklyn Bridge, Coney Island, Fulton's Ferry, and the Dodgers are just a few of the magical names associated with the borough's history, each conjuring up a thousand unforgettable images depicting the American experience.

It is also the quintessential city of immigrants. One out of every seven Americans can trace their family roots through the streets of Brooklyn. Today, the borough's streets ring with the accents of the newest Americans expressing themselves in Creole, Arabic, Spanish, Chinese, and Korean. If Brooklyn were still independent, it would be the fourth most populous city in the United States. Instead, it is best known as the largest of New York City's five boroughs -- and home to some 2.3 million people.