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Ask the Historian: Post Your Brooklyn Questions

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wonder how Brooklyn became the home of America's first fast food or what Flatbush was like at the turn of the 19th century?

All this week, WNYC is collecting your questions about Brooklyn and posing them to Brooklyn's borough historian, Ron Schweiger.

Check back here to see his answers and learn more about New York City's most populous borough.

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Comments [88]

Maek from Brooklyn Heights

Doctors Hospital (aka Boro Park Maternity and Boro Park General) at 4421 15th Avenue was built in 1925. Today the four-story building is Shalsheles Bais Yaaakov Yeshiva. Type address at Google Maps for photo.

Feb. 09 2014 07:50 PM
Mark from Brooklyn Heights

St. Charles Hospital at 277 Hicks Street, just south of Joralemon, is now co-op apartments.

Feb. 09 2014 07:20 PM
Dennis from NC

My father worked at the old 'Columbia Combining Co' (textile) in Brooklyn in 1952. I would like to know the address of this place. I have looked, and cannot find any info at all. Thanks.
Dennis

Nov. 11 2013 12:29 PM
sharon

does anybody remember what crown deli on 13th avenue and 50th street was called before? any pictures of that block from the late 50's or early 60's? like johns bargain store , millers appetizing, norman and fred hair stylists, elegante lamp store and the deli. need some pictures for my school reunion,

Aug. 13 2013 09:45 AM
debbie caine

my husband was born as Michael Aronoff at brooklyn Drs Hospital formerly at 15th Ave and 45th st I looking for info on this hospital and particularly if anyone recalls at Dr. Irving Chiteman

Jul. 14 2013 10:08 PM
Helen from brooklyn, ny

what was the name of the ice parlor on fort hamilton parkway between 70th street and 72 street in brooklyn

Apr. 25 2013 02:50 PM
Amy Madonna

Sheryl,

I was also interested in any information about Brooklyn Doctors Hospital. I too was born there in 1950 and lived on 51 street

Apr. 16 2013 08:57 AM
Bob P from Newton, MA

I am researching for my memoir the spelling of a doctor's name who lived and practiced on East 21st Street near Glenwood Road in Brooklyn during the 1950s. I am not sure if it was Dr. Chavelle or Dr. Shabelle or another spelling. Can anyone assist me?

Apr. 06 2013 11:05 AM
leah

wondering if you know of an endriconologist who was on argyle road in the 80's

Nov. 13 2012 11:59 AM
Andrea

In the 1950s, I remember playing on a girl's baseball or softball field. I thought it was the Little League but in my research it says that the Little League didn't accept girls until 1974. Does anyone remember any league or team where girl played on a field in the Flatbush area in the 1950s? Thanks

Sep. 16 2012 12:56 AM
Nikki from NY

So Ron.. I am wondering if you are related to the Schweiger's who owned a music store somewhere near flatbush I think.. the Post family was also involved throughout the 1900's at least until 1940..

Richard Schweiger was the owner at some point.. AKA Herman R Schweiger..

Sep. 01 2012 01:18 AM
Kathy Harnett

St. Charles Hospital was on Hicks Street. When I was a polio patient there in 1953, it was known as St. Charles Hospital for Crippled Children (that's what it says on one of the invoices). I suspect it merged with or was even then part of St. Charles Hospital in Jeffersontown.

May. 18 2012 03:25 PM
Nancy Boepple

Hi.. I was born in Brooklyn Doctors Hospital in 1953.. I cannot find anything about this hospital. Not even a picture online. Would you or anyone have a pic that I could use?
Thank you,
Nancy

May. 15 2012 03:15 PM
margaret from grrenpoint

my grandmother is going to be 104 years old in April 2012 she talks about nanny goat alley in greenpoint brooklyn can anyone tell me anything else about it - she doesn't really like to talk to much about her childhood she says it was a hard time a very hard time

Mar. 22 2012 03:21 PM
Denise

My grandparents owned a candy/newspaper store at 950 McDonald Ave. in the time period between 1920 and 1950, but the exact dates are unknown, as is the name of the store (if it had one). How would I find out more information about this business? I believe it is currently the MAJ Deli & Grocery. Thanks!

Oct. 18 2011 01:12 PM
Veronica Price from Ditmas Park Brooklyn NY

Ron,

We met on an Open House NY tour of Victorian Flatbush last Fall and I mentioned to you that I am planning to organize a small family focused scavenger hunt in Brooklyn for folks with young kids in strollers ( why should everyone else have the fun explloring) and you offered to help with your expertise and knowledge of neighborhoods. Whats the best way to connect with you?

thank you

Veronica

Jun. 03 2011 07:31 PM
millie from park slope brooklyn

how can you find the history of a home in park slope brooklyn

Nov. 25 2010 07:28 PM
Jo

What happened to St Charles Hospital that was located in Brooklyn in the 1930s & 1940s? I think it was on Hicks St.

Sep. 01 2010 08:51 PM
Brenda Mellowe from Deerfield Beach, Florisa

Was there a windmill on the corner of East 94th Street and Kings Highway in the 1940's?
I remember as a very little girl that there was a large field where a housing development is now located. I recall a relative pointing to the windmill and telling me what it was. PS 219 was just down the street where I later attended.

Aug. 07 2010 04:04 PM
George Rosa

I don't know if this is a Brooklyn or Queens question, because it's about places right on the border, but I had heard that the area that is today occupied by Evergreen Cemetery and Highland Park played an important role in the Battle of Long Island during the Revolutionary War. What happened there?

Aug. 03 2010 12:32 PM
Sheryl

Gary, I, too, was born at Brooklyn Doctors Hospital in 1950. We lived in Boro Park, on 49th Street and the hospital was right around the corner from us. We lived across the street from a Satmar shul.
Sheryl

Aug. 02 2010 11:01 PM
R

Where does the Brooklyn Accent come from? Did it ever exist? Is it endangered?

Aug. 01 2010 09:48 PM
Steven John Bosch from Westbury, NY

Not to be a kill joy, but regarding Nathan's Famous hot dogs -- I saw a documentary on American fast food and they spoke with the president of Nathan's.

He said they had never been able to find anything in writing that verified the story about Jimmy Durante and Eddie Cantor meeting Nathan Handwerker and suggesting he open his own stand.

Both men worked as entertainers on Coney Island, Durante played piano and Cantor was a singing waiter.

Aug. 01 2010 02:38 PM
AV from Flatbush

I'm curious, how did Flatbush look 100 years ago?

Aug. 01 2010 01:43 PM
David Krasnow

I grew up near the freight rail line that runs E-W through Brooklyn from Sunset Park toward the old terminal market in Flantlands. I believe it stopped running decades ago, but recently I went to view it with a friend and the rails appeared to be gleaming. What is the history of this line? If it's defunct, could it become an elevated/subgrade rail trail?

Aug. 01 2010 12:24 PM
jps from Bordeux France

When did the Italian - American community dissipate to other boroughs and or states. Was it after the 2nd WWar when the vets married and decided to get an education larger spaces or much later ? I am interested in migration of various ethnic groups and also Jewish - religious groups. I was born in Cumberland Hospital.

Jul. 31 2010 05:26 AM
Mark Peters from Park Slope

I live in Park Slope and have a view of the Eagle Clothing and Kentile Floors neon signs, easily seen by riders on the F train and drivers on the BQE. Both companies were operating when I moved to Brooklyn in the early 80's and the signs were lit, but neither is now and the signs are dark. Has there been any movement or discussion to restore these signs as landmarks?

Also, a friend once told me that the structure on the SW corner of 3rd St. and 3rd Ave. was once the carriage house for Litchfield Villa in Prospect Park. Is this true? If so, is there a chance it could also become a landmark?

Jul. 31 2010 12:25 AM

From Ron Schweiger:

Michael D.D. White from Brooklyn Heights wants to know if there were other events where eminent domain eliminated many homes and or businesses here in Brooklyn. This question of course is related to the current development at Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues.

Two instances comes to mind:

1. In the 1930's, a new expanded roadway leading onto the Brooklyn Bridge was planned. In order for this to happen, buildings and streets and homes were taken down. Today that area is Cadman Plaza East and West and where the WWll and Korean War Memorials are located.

2. In the mid 1950's, construction of the Verrazano Bridge began. The roadways off the Belt Parkway leading on and off the highway are where many homes once stood. Eminent domain removed these homes. The bridge opened in 1964.

Just for your information regarding the Verrazano Bridge: The Verrazano Bridge is so long that one tower is slightly taller than the other to take into account the curvature of the Earth.

Jul. 30 2010 03:34 PM

From Ron Schweiger:

Katy from Kensington wants to know why Kensington has an English sounding name. Also what about the streets in Victorian Flatbush.

When the developers were buying up the farmland at the end of the 19th and early 20th century, they wanted to attract the wealthy to come and buy their new homes. Giving English sounding names made it an attraction. Kensington is a suburb of London.

The streets in Victorian Flatbush were originally East 11th, East 12th, East 13th, East 14th, East 15th and East 16th Streets. In 1905, they were officially changed to Stratford, Westminster, Argyle, Rugby, Marlborough and Buckingham Roads. Albemarle Road was originally Avenue A and then Ausable Avenue. Beverley (or Beverly) Road was Avenue B. Cortelyou Road was Avenue C.

Katy, the Cortelyou and Beverley Road stations on the Q train are in fact the two closest stations in the NYC subway system. They are one block apart.

Jul. 30 2010 03:32 PM

From Ron Schweiger:

Bob from Bay Ridge or Bayridge wants to know if the Brooklyn Robins were the predecessors of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

The team went by several different names in the early years. In order for the fans to get to the ballpark (NOT EBBETS FIELD), they had to "dodge" the trolleys as they crossed the streets. The team in the 1880's were called the Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers. When they played well, they were called the Superbas. At one point, six members of the team got married in the same year and then they were known as the Bridegrooms. So where do the Robins come in?

Wilbert ROBINSon was hired as the manager. He was well liked and was called "Uncle Robby" by the fans. His team was affectionally called the "ROBINS." Eventually cute names disappeared and they were simply called the Brooklyn Dodgers. By the way, the Dodgers never moved, they are on an extended road trip!

Today, Bob, there are several little leagues scattered around the borough of Brooklyn. As these kids get older there are some sandlot teams around as well. The only minor league team is the Brooklyn Cyclones. They are a METS, class A team and play at MCU Park in Coney Island on the site of the old Steeplechase Park.

Jul. 30 2010 03:30 PM
Harriet

I was born in Brooklyn Jewish Hospital. Where was that and what is the history of that institution. Also, could you recommend books about Brooklyn in the 30s and 40s.

Jul. 30 2010 06:53 AM
Khris from Park Slope

We live in a Park Slope brownstone on Garfield Place between 7th & 8th Aves and heard that the wealthy family that originally lived here in the 1880s also occupied four other homes which sit adjacent to ours. (Apparently, a home was built for each daughter in the family.) Although the artistic embellisments on each of the facades are slightly different, a keen eye can tell which five brownstones were built as a grouping. How can I confirm and learn more about the history of this family and the brownstone in which I live? What archival records are available to the public and how do I access them? Thanks!

Jul. 30 2010 02:21 AM
Bill from Fulton Ferry

I read that the renaming of part of Fulton Street as Cadman Plaza was controversial, and that the locals wanted it to be renamed Walt Whitman Plaza. Is this true, and why did Cadman win out?

Jul. 29 2010 08:42 PM
Bob from Bay Ridge

Hi Ron,

Were The Brooklyn Robins Club predecessors of the The Brooklyn Dodgers? Is there a compendium of Brooklyn Minor and Sandlot leagues?

Jul. 29 2010 06:26 PM
Katy from Kensington

Is there a story behind the very English naming of the neighborhood Kensington and some of the streets there: Stratford, Rugby Rd, Courtelyou etc.?
Also, Beverley Road usually has an e on the end but sometimes not, did it change at one point?
Lastly, is it true that most of the subway lines originate from what were once people's private trains, and is the distance between the Beverley Road stop and the Courtelyou Rd stop (on the Q, B) the shortest in the whole transit system?

Jul. 29 2010 05:49 PM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn Heights

Forest City Ratner with government assistance has grabbed a monopoly on the development of about 50 of Brooklyn’s most prime acres. Most recently the 22-acres officially constituting the “Atlantic Yards” project have be added onto adjacent Forest City Ratner’s governmentally assisted ownership of immediately acres for a total of about 30 acres, then there are the not so far away MetroTech acres the government assisted Ratner to own also through the use if eminent domain and subsidies. Going back in time what historical precedent is there for this kind of governmentally assisted land grab in Brooklyn? Were there ever before so many acres grabbed with assistance from the government for a single developer? Were the acres ever comparably so prime in the most densely owned sections of the borough sitting atop the subways or most important mean of transportation? How far back into time do you have to go to find any comparable Brooklyn land grab with government assistance? Is there even any example at all? (To be clear we are talking about all of this being done without a proper bid.)

Michael D. D. White
Noticing New York

Jul. 29 2010 05:24 PM

From Ron Schweiger:

Abbe from Gravesend wants to know how Borough Park was named and is there a park there? There is a park in Sunset Park but not in Borough Park. The original name of the area was Blythebourne. Electus Litchfield established Blythebourne. It means "happy home" in Scottish where his family was from in Scotland. He purchased and developed the former farmland that he bought from the Kouwenhoven, Bergen and Lott families. Later, a state senator, William Reynolds, who was one of the owners of the Brooklyn, Bath and West End Railroad, expanded the Blythebourne community as his railroad traveled right through the community. The name lost prominence and Reynolds named it Borough Park. The post office at 12th Avenue and 50th Street still has the Blythebourne name on it. By the way, the community in Victorian Flatbush known as Ditmas Park also does not have a park.

Abbe from Gravesend:

I have some questions about Borough Park. Sunset Park has a park, does Borough Park? Do you know the origin of the name? The streets in Borough Park end at McDonald Avenue. To continue into towards Flatbush, you must make awkward turns into a different set of streets. Is there a reason for this?

Jul. 29 2010 02:28 PM

From Ron Schweiger:

Alan from Parkville and Kensington wants to know why the streets are at a different angle from the neighboring communities. In the middle to late 1800's, new street grids in Brooklyn, were mapped out by surveyors as developers began to purchase the farmland. It became more profitable for the farmers to sell their land than to farm it. Often, the street grids would coincide with the property of the farm . Also, there were railroad tracks that ran on the land before they were elevated. Steam railroads were common. The tracks on MacDonald Avenue (formerly Gravesend Avenue), were already in place when Parkville and Kensington were planned. Where today's B and Q train tracks are along East 16th street, was the Brooklyn, Flatbush and Coney Island Railroad. It was in place in 1878.

Alan from Parkville from Kensington:

I live in Kensington, the part that was formerly referred to as Parkville. The street grid is at a different angle than the surrounding neighborhoods. Does the different street grid pre-date the surrounding communities?

Jul. 29 2010 02:25 PM

From Ron Schweiger:

NPP asks about the origin of "Crow Hill" which became Crown Heights. There are a couple of possible answers as to the name "Crow Hill." Eastern Parkway is the highest point in the area. This is the result of the last ice age. The center of Long Island, stretching from Bay Ridge across Long Island was the southern terminus of the glaciers before they began to melt and recede. (If you know your geography, Brooklyn is on the western edge of Long Island). The melting ice deposited the "morraine" or rocks and boulders that the ice carried along. This left a ridge or high point on the land. Trees on the high ground often would have many crows sitting on the branches. Later, Crown Street was extended into the area. There also was a prison in Crow Hill. The name fell out of favor. An "N" was added to Crow and a Hill is a Height, hence the name, Crown Heights. Blacks living in the area were referred to as crows. Many of the first Black landowners in Crown Heights were former slaves that had lived in Weeksville.

NPP from Crown Heights, Brooklyn

I have heard conflicting accounts of the origins of the name "Crow Hill" in Crown Heights. I heard; the proximity to Weeksville played a role; that a tree at the top of a large hill attracted a lot of crows; and finally that free blacks congregated in the area hence the use of the old pejorative reference to black people as "crows."
Also, is it true Crow Hill became Crown Heights because real estate developers wanted to make the neighborhood more appealing?

Jul. 29 2010 02:19 PM

From Ron Schweiger:

Barney asks about the neighborhood called Kensington. Kensington is named after a suburb on the western part of London. It was initially developed at the end of the 19th century but most of the homes and apartment houses were erected by the 1920's.

Barney from Brooklyn, NY:

I live in Kensington, a neighborhood that gets little respect :) Is there any record of the area's history??

Jul. 29 2010 02:18 PM

From Ron Schweiger:

Andy Novick asked about Lundy's, the famous restaurant in Sheepshead Bay. Before Lundy's was a restaurant, the family had a wholesale business selling fish, oysters and clams. They had depots in Coney Island and Sheepshead Bay. That was as early as the 1880's. In 1907, they opened a restaurant built on wooden pilings right in Sheepshead Bay itself. It wasn't until 1934 that the cavernous, stucco covered restaurant opened across the street from the original. They also had their own boat at a dock on the Bay. Yes, Andy, the oysters were often the size of half dollars in the early years. Most people think that the letters on the Lundy brothers building, "F.W.I.L." stand for the initials of the brothers. NOT TRUE. They represent one man, Frederick, William, Irving, Lundy. Two of the brothers drowned in a boating accident early in the 20th century. The restaurant closed in 1979, two years after Mr. Lundy died. It re-opened in December, 1995 under new ownership. It lasted less than ten years after that. It is now the Cherry Hill Market, a high end produce, appetizing and baked goods establishment. There is a small restaurant on the mezzanine level. The building was landmarked in1992.

Jul. 29 2010 02:15 PM
mary from brooklyn

Our apartment faces the Parade Ground(s), but we know very little about its origins and how it got its name. Was it used for military purposes at one point?

Jul. 29 2010 12:11 PM
Adam from Prospect Heights

How can I find out which authors and/or musicians grew up in or lived in my neighborhood? (Prospect Heights, along Franklin Avenue.)
There is a mural project on Franklin and Eastern Parkway and I wanted to pay tribute to an artist from the neighborhood.

Jul. 29 2010 11:18 AM
R. M. Eichler from East Brunswick, NJ

Is it true that the Statue of Liberty faces Greenwood Cemetery?

If it's true, is this because the cemetery, as the site of the Battle of Long Island (Aug. 1777), was considered by some to be the "cradle of American liberty". (If Washington had been defeated in Brooklyn, the American Revolution would probably have been crushed.)

Jul. 29 2010 10:38 AM
Frances Rabinowitz from Park Slope

Walking north to Flatbush Ave on Fifth Ave in Park Slope the street names to the west say one thing, while the street names to the east say another, down to about Union St. In some cases the side streets are askew and do not run straight. What is the reason for this? Did these neighborhoods develop at different times?

Jul. 29 2010 09:00 AM
Jane Roth from Prospect Heights

I have come across a couple of fleeting references to the "Midget Village" at one of the Coney Island amusement parks. It is prominently figured in Kevin Baker's book Paradise, but not mentioned in most of the popular books on Coney Island History. What is its history, and is there any relation to the rumored "midget village" in New Jersey near Leonardo?

Jul. 29 2010 08:57 AM
Opal from Upper West Side

As a woman of a very certain age who grew up in Brownsville, I remember a store on Bedford Ave., the original Loehmann's (or was there one in the Bronx?). This Loehmann's was in what looked like an old mansion--very high decorative, wrought iron doors with brass fittings. The ceilings were very high and there was a marble staircase guarded by lions (marble), They had very beautiful clothes, usually one of a kind, very reasonably priced, rather than the off-the-rack clothes found in today's Loehmann's.
Do you know anything about the building. I doubt if it still stands. And did I pass Ebbets Field on the way from the subway?

Jul. 29 2010 08:16 AM
Brannon from Fort Greene

I've been trying to find out more information about where Walt Whitman lived in Brooklyn. Do you happen to know where he lived? I also heard that he was involved in the creation of Fort Greene Park? Is this correct?
Thanks!

Jul. 29 2010 07:20 AM
Steven Sabowitz

My grandmother was a registered nurse trained at the Jewish Hospital and Medical Center in Brooklyn. I recently came across a yearbook of hers, but it was not from her graduating year, so her picture was not in it. I have no pictures of her from that time, and I thought that if I found a yearbook from her graduating year, that might help me. Any other information about the institution from that time would also be welcome.

Jul. 28 2010 08:23 PM
Hope from Hastings-on-Hudson

As a child, in the 50's, I remember getting a Charlotte Russe from a vendor on the corner of 86th St. and 20th Ave in Bensonhurst. They were in a glass case, as I recall. I've never seen a Charlotte Russe anywhere else. How did they come to Brooklyn? Where did they come from?

Jul. 28 2010 08:11 PM
gary

- re The Egg Cream:
- i've read that it was invented in a jewish neighborhood in new york -- and although it never contained an egg, it was originally made with cream -- the customers wanted grade A cream, and when they requested that in a yiddish accent, saying "i want
the A cream", it came out sounding like "egg cream" --
-- sounds plausible to me --

Jul. 28 2010 07:22 PM
gary

- i was born in Brooklyn Doctors Hospital -- which no longer exists, at least under that name -- i've heard it was incorporated into a larger "medical center" -- can you tell me which one?
-- i'd also be interested in the location of Brooklyn Doctors Hospital -- somewhere near Sunset Park and/or Borough Park, i believe --
-- thank you -

Jul. 28 2010 07:14 PM
Jason Wicke from Park Slope

I know that the writer James Agee lived on St. James Place in Clinton Hill for a few months in the early Forties, but do you happen to know the exact street number?

Jul. 28 2010 04:20 PM
Terence M. O'Grady from The City of Gracious Living

What can you tell us about the Chardavoyne dairy- warehouse which around 1950, housed dairy cows in a 5 story warehouse on the corner of 60th st. and Fort Hamilton P'kway. I also recall seeing all-electric vehicles in use by both Dugan's Bakery and by Pilgrim Laundry trucks: this between 1950 & 1960. Any further info?

Jul. 28 2010 03:12 PM
Abbe from Gravesend

I have some questions about Borough Park. Sunset Park has a park, does Borough Park? Do you know the origin of the name? The streets in Borough Park end at McDonald Avenue. To continue into towards Flatbush, you must make awkward turns into a different set of streets. Is there a reason for this?

Jul. 28 2010 12:47 PM
Jolanta from Windsor Terrace

I live in Windsor Terrace and have heard that the neighborhood used to be called Nanny Goat Hill. True?

I'm guessing "Windsor Terrace" is just some developer's or real estate agent's idea of classy, but if the name has other roots I'd love to know about them. (Or, hey, what developer to blame for this eye-roller.)

Jul. 28 2010 11:56 AM
Kristin from Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

What happened to the public school (I think it was PS78) on Pacific Street between Court and Clinton? Why did it close? When did it close? The zone for PS261 in Boerum Hill is so weird that I wonder if this zone is largely comprised of the zone that used to be for PS78.

Jul. 28 2010 11:29 AM
Karl Junkersfeld from Brooklyn Heights

I love Brooklyn Heights and was wondering what the oldest house is in that area. Probably on Middagh or Willow Street is my guess.

Jul. 28 2010 11:21 AM
JR from Washington Plaza

In Washington Plaza (just at the off ramp of the Williamsburg Bridge) why does it say "Valley Forge" under Washington's statue? Battle of Valley Forge, PA is there some connection to Washington in Brooklyn?

Jul. 28 2010 10:22 AM
Sara from Crown Heights

My roommate and I are desperately trying to find out why so many of the streets in Central Brooklyn are named after former boomtown cities in Upstate New York, and also want to know when these streets were named as such. Help!?

Jul. 28 2010 08:04 AM
Tony from Brooklyn

A while back, I spoke with an old timer in Red Hook. He said when he was growing up, it was common to ask if you ate CAKE or PIE? What answer you gave depended on which neighborhood you were from. Pointers came from Red Hook and ate pie, while Creekers lived near the Gowanus and ate cake. Do you have any details on why that was so?

Jul. 27 2010 11:19 PM
Julia Newman from Prospect Heights

Is there a historical reason why the streets that go between Atlantic Avenues and Eastern Parkway are cut on an angle instead of the usual grid.? This causes the streets in between Underhill Avenue and Grand Avenues form triangles.

Looking at a map I think the triangles are formed from trying to keep the streets on a grid at Grand Army Plaza. Is it something more?

Jul. 27 2010 08:55 PM

From Ron Schweiger:

Elizabeth Comen-Kessler wasn't sure what neighborhood she lived in. Was it Midwood, Sheepshead Bay or Homecrest? She refers to East 13th Street between Avenues R and S. Boy do I know that area like the back of my hand. Elizabeth, I grew up on Avenue S and played baseball in Kelly Park on Avenue S and East 14th street.

The neighborhood is Homecrest. In fact, Homecrest Avenue is just a block or two over. Midwood would begin probably at Kings Highway and Sheepshead Bay begins around Avenue U.

Elizabeth Comen-Kessler:

I grew up on East 13th between Avenue R and Avenue S. When asked what neighborhood I lived in, I always say Flatbush. When asked more specifically what area I say, "Between Midwood and Sheepsead Bay, near Homecrest." Am I correct?

Jul. 27 2010 06:28 PM

From Ron Schweiger:

The original spelling was Luqueer. Somewhere along the way it became Luquer. It is named after the Luqueer family. They were large land owners. The father was Abraham Luqueer (1739-1823). His son, Nicholas (died in1864), was a wealthy miller. The mill stood on Hicks street.

Lisa:

Luquer Street was spelled Luqueer Street at one time (there is still a house on the street with the old spelling over the door). Do you know why and when the spelling was changed? And is there a definitive pronunciation?

Jul. 27 2010 06:24 PM

From Ron Schweiger:

It is named after one of the earliest Dutch farming families. The spelling was with a "k". (Van Sicklen). They farmed in Flatbush and in Gravesend where there is a street Van Sicklen street with the "k."

Carl Gordon:

I grew up on Van Siclen Avenue. I remember that there was a tombstone in the cemetery across from PS 72 next to the Duytch Reformed Church with the name of Van Siclen on it. Who was he?

Jul. 27 2010 06:22 PM

From Ron Schweiger:

Weeksville, located in the Bedford Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, was established by a free black man named James Weeks, in 1838. Keep in mind that slavery in NYS was abolished in 1827. During the draft riots of 1863, numerous blacks escaped from Manhattan to hide in Weeksville.

Weeksville became known in the South as well. One of the first African-American police officers in Brooklyn walked from North Carolina to live in Weeksville in 1856. By the 1890's he became a Brooklyn officer. His name was Moses Cobb. Cara, definitely go visit Weeksville. You will find out much more information from their very informative staff.

Cara Eisenpress from Park Slope:

I recently stumbled across a mention of Weeksville, Brooklyn. I was thinking of visiting the Weeksville Heritage Site, but in the meantime, I'd love to know more about the history of this little-known enclave.

Jul. 27 2010 06:21 PM

From Ron Schweiger:

Jane Roth asked about the origin of the egg cream. I made one for myself just last night. As far as I know, the egg cream originated here in NYC. Some say in Brooklyn. Either way it is a New York creation. According to David Fox (Fox's U-Bet Chocolate Syrup), his great grandfather, Harris, his grandfather Herman and his father Irving, all helped to build the U-Bet company beginning around 1900. The white foam on top resembles egg whites. Years ago, every neighborhood in Brooklyn had a candy store where you could sit at the counter and enjoy an ice cold egg cream. The milk must be COLD. First put chocolate syrup at the bottom of a tall glass. Add a little COLD milk. Then pour seltzer in while stirring at the same time. You should get a nice white foam on top. I learned from my grandmother and uncle in our family candy store in the 1950's on the corner of Avenue S and East 8th Street. Enjoy with a pretzel.

Jane Roth from Prospect Heights:

Did the egg cream really start in Brooklyn, what are the contenders for its birthplace, and what was the real, true, original recipe for the egg cream? Was one ingredient malt?

Jul. 27 2010 06:19 PM

From Ron Schweiger:

Idlewild asked about slavery in Brooklyn, the Canarsie Indians and what does "Brooklyn" mean?

Slavery officially ended in New York State in 1827.

Most of the land was "sold" in the 1600's to the Dutch. The first signed deed was on June 16,1636 when the Canarsie Indians sold land to Andries Hudde and Wolphert Gerritsen von Kouwenhoven. This land was centered where the two main Canarsie Indian trails crossed. It became the Dutch town of New Amersffort and is where Flatbush Avenue and Kings Highway meet. New Amersffort became Flatlands when the English took over in 1664.

Brooklyn comes from the Dutch "Breuckelen" which means broken land.

Idlewild: How about legalized slavery in Brooklyn until 1829 (?). Or, the six towns that made up Kings County before Incorporation (something you can see on your Jury Notice envelope). What does "Brooklyn" mean in Dutch? How did the Native Americans, such as Gowanus, Canarsie and others live before European settlement?

Jul. 27 2010 06:14 PM
David from Brooklyn

When I walk up and down the nicer and better preserved "Brownstone" blocks around and in Park Slope I often wonder: "Were these middle class for their time? Were they considered just blocks and blocks of "row houses?" Were they their own time's developers use of total square footage? Was the lack of alley's on purpose, to get the most out of the available land? Were their mews or stables near the houses?

Jul. 27 2010 05:11 PM
Alan from Parkville from Kensington

I live in Kensington, the part that was formerly referred to as Parkville. The street grid is at a different angle than the surrounding neighborhoods. Does the different street grid pre-date the surrounding communities?

Jul. 27 2010 04:57 PM
NPP from Crown Heights, Brooklyn

I have heard conflicting accounts of the origins of the name "Crow Hill" in Crown Heights. I heard; the proximity to Weeksville played a role; that a tree at the top of a large hill attracted a lot of crows; and finally that free blacks congregated in the area hence the use of the old pejorative reference to black people as "crows."
Also, is it true Crow Hill became Crown Heights because real estate developers wanted to make the neighborhood more appealing?

Jul. 27 2010 04:07 PM
Vanessa from NYVC

African Americans have contributed more to the cultural melting pot, "that M & M and new hand shakes"!!!! What a thing to say, really.
And NO, Mexicans don't just cross the border in Texas and are home, Mexico is a bit more complex than that. Like many immigrants they cannot leave the country for years because of their migratory status.

Jul. 27 2010 11:30 AM
a g from n j

i wonder how different the history of the area would be,if brooklyn remained a seperate city? i can think of endless,obviously speculative,ramifications. and by area,i do mean nyc,and our whole "mythology" in and around the great bourough of brooklyn.

Jul. 27 2010 10:50 AM
Erika from Crown Heights

My grandparents were born and raised in Brooklyn; I have lived in the borough for 17 years and last year moved to north Crown Heights. I live on St. John's Place, and am surrounded by St. Francis Place, St. Charles Place and, a little further away St. Mark's Avenue. Do you know the history of all of these "saint" streets? Also, is there a reason the official names are "St. Johns Place" and "St. Marks Avenue" rather than the grammatically correct St. John's and St. Mark's?

Thanks in advance for whatever light you can shed on this for me - Erika

Jul. 27 2010 08:48 AM
Barney from Brooklyn, NY

I live in Kensington, a neighborhood that gets little respect :) Is there any record of the area's history??

Jul. 27 2010 07:49 AM
Peter from Crown Heights

What can you tell me about Brooklyn's Civil War era beer brewing center in Crown Heights (near Dean and Franklin)?

I've heard of a movement to Landmark the "Brewery District" there, and live near a currently abandoned brewer's mansion, but don't know much more than that.

Was the district greater than just this block? When was it abandoned?

Jul. 27 2010 07:45 AM
Andy Novick from Sheepshead bay

I heard that Lundy's started out as a push cart selling oysters from Sheepshead bay...I heard the oysters were huge...like the size of dinner plates...is that true?

Jul. 26 2010 08:41 PM
Sharon Silverman

Where was the Brooklyn Ice Palace located? If memory serves, I either took a bus down Nostrand Avenue (past the original Loehmanns) or the Coney Island Avenue trolley.

Jul. 26 2010 05:54 PM

How about legalized slavery in Brooklyn until 1829 (?). Or, the six towns that made up Kings County before Incorporation (something you can see on your Jury Notice envelope). What does "Brooklyn" mean in Dutch? How did the Native Americans, such as Gowanus, Canarsie and others live before European settlement?

Jul. 26 2010 04:41 PM
robert

I was born on Rockaway Parkway and Willmohr Street. I've always wanted to know where the name Willmohr comes from.

Jul. 26 2010 03:59 PM
Jane Roth from Prospect Heights

Did the egg cream really start in Brooklyn, what are the contenders for its birthplace, and what was the real, true, original recipe for the egg cream? Was one ingredient malt?

Jul. 26 2010 12:48 PM
Chet Carlin from Brooklyn

The P.J. Carlin Construction Co. built the Brooklyn Museum and many of the churches in "The Borough of Churches." I think he came over from Ireland in the 1850's. What can you tell me about him?

Jul. 26 2010 10:08 AM
Deborah Elkan

In 1988 I photographed a mural under the Brooklyn approach (BQE) of the Williamsburg Bridge. It's no longer there.
What happened to it? When was it painted? Who painted it?
It was a great mural of heavy, strong men
holding up the bridge.

Jul. 26 2010 09:58 AM
Cara Eisenpress from Park Slope

I recently stumbled across a mention of Weeksville, Brooklyn. I was thinking of visiting the Weeksville Heritage Site, but in the meantime, I'd love to know more about the history of this little-known enclave.

Jul. 26 2010 09:49 AM

African-Americans have been in "Brooklyn" since the 1600's.
What African-American family has the longest continuous lineage/residence in Brooklyn?
It is clear to me that African-Americans have lived in "Brooklyn" under the Dutch,British and Americans as well as during the various incorporations from before modern day Brooklyn became a part of NYC.
I am an African-American Brooklynite from Old Williamsburg and Greenpoint. This area was "originally" given to Roderick and Anton de Neger, former Dutch subjects and it was named "Bostwyck".(the area of Bushwick,Willamsburgh and Greenpoint)

Jul. 26 2010 09:29 AM
Carl Gordon

I grew up on Van Siclen Avenue. I remembber that thtere was a tombstone in the cemetery across from PS 72 next to the Duytch Reformed Church with the name of Van Siclen on it. Who was he?

Jul. 26 2010 08:53 AM
Lisa

Luquer Street was spelled Luqueer Street at one time (there is still a house on the street with the old spelling over the door). Do you know why and when the spelling was changed? And is there a definitive pronunciation?

Thanks, Lisa

Jul. 26 2010 08:51 AM
Elizabeth Comen-Kessler

I grew up on East 13th between Avenue R and Avenue S. When asked what neighborhood I lived in, I always say Flatbush. When asked more specifically what area I say, "Between Midwood and Sheepsead Bay, near Homecrest." Am I correct?

Jul. 26 2010 08:47 AM

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