Brooklyn is one of New York City's five boroughs. An independent city throughout the 19th century, Brooklyn retains a unique character of its own in its architecture, immigrant heritage, and contemporary art scene. Many students of New York's colleges and universities choose Brooklyn as their home base, drawn by the borough's funky charm and lower cost of living. Brooklyn, NY is, by one author's account, a "cradle of tough guys and Nobel laureates, homeland of America's most creative diasporic culture."
Brooklyn hosts some of New York City's most important colleges and universities. The Pratt Institute, a private art school, is considered by many to be the leading fashion institute in the nation. Brooklyn College is among the top colleges within the City University of New York system. Brooklyn's professional colleges and universities include the Brooklyn Law School and SUNY Downstate Medical Center.