The Dugout cocktail lounge – discernible on the far right of the title picture of this post – once lorded over the corner of Empire Boulevard and Flatbush Avenue like a swaggering street tough. Aflame in the tawdry glow of its neon sign, the saloon’s front door stood immediately next to the current Prospect Park subway station entrance. A few paces towards Lincoln Road, with a primitive wheelchair serving as its logo, the “Holmes Ambulance and Oxygen Service” hawked its solemn expertise on the side of the building that now hosts the Drink wine shop in its bottom floor. Offering dining



For reasons that I’m likely too aged to fathom, the press has anointed as the internet’s premier forum for comment, analysis, and anonymous recrimination. Aside from an oddly alluring logo, I don’t quite understand what distinguishes the visually nondescript site from any other online bellowing hall. Anyway. I suppose it was but a matter of time before our increasingly high profile neighborhood was tossed out onto the dusty Coliseum floor for a ravenous Reddit vetting. Here are some highlights. ———– “Anywhere east of Flatbush over there is pretty scary at night.” “For better or worse, it’s a dangerous neighborhood around there now, and will before a



Behold the former PLG residence of one Cornelius “Corneel” Vanderbilt, the hapless, epileptic second son of the celebrated railway czar of the same name. The shot was taken in 1909, 27 years after his death. Predictably, the seizure-prone scion was considered distastefully infirm by his old man and he was banished to this relatively modest structure at 610 Flatbush at the corner of Chester Court to contemplate his failures. For a family that was setting new standards in New York City square footage and ostentation, ‘Neel’s ostensibly handsome home was considered nothing more than a passable hovel. Addled by a gambling habit and a penchant for catastrophic business failures, Vanderbilt’s father disowned



PLG old timers can recall when asking prices above $1.3 million sparked pitched comment combat on historic cyber battlefields like Brownstoner Hill. Screen pundits scoffed at brokers and homeowners who believed that Park Slope’s delinquent foster child could actually command numbers in that bracket. With inordinate relish, PLG critics lampooned the quadrant as a vice and crime-ridden Fallujah populated by a deluded legion of ragtag boosters. Ask PLG’s Patton,  Bob Marvin, about those days. Keyboard cocked, the sergeant-at-arms was always there on the frontlines, ready to defend the realm with vigor and class. But that was way back in the late aughts, when K-Dog served as the  lone source of decent brain petrol and 626


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Behold G. Fullings and Sons Tavern at the corner of Parkside  and Nostrand in 1916. This starchy looking establishment – complete with a “sitting room” – offered thirsty patrons a wide range of ales, porters, and “Teutonic” beers. Now hosting a deli and sitting immediately next to a subway stop, the building looks remarkably similar a century later.  



Rogers Avenue looking north to Sterling Street, 1947. Note the once ubiquitous trolley car trundling towards some pomade slicked toughs and a young Jean Stapleton in the red overcoat.   That corner, today.


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Police barricades didn’t always announce freshly perpetrated mayhem at the corner of Church and Flatbush. On a wet, overcast day back in 1952, the cordons were set up to keep a crowd of 2,000 jubilant “Flatbushites” at a sensible distance from an internationally famous monarch. Dutch Queen Juliana, pictured above, magnanimously agreed to grace our fair settlement to mark the 400th birthday of the Village of Flatbush. Rocking a silk dress, silver fox cape and black hat with a pink flower, Queen J stepped out of a black limousine in the middle of Flatbush Avenue at 4:40 p.m. along with her princely boo and offered that wilting


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Even by the medieval standards of 1980s Brooklyn, the apartment building at 320 Sterling Street managed to distinguish itself as a brick and mortar atrocity. The blighted 113-unit behemoth between Nostrand and New York Avenues would have scandalized the Bucharest housing authority. Paint peeled from walls as if the entire structure had been dunked in napalm. Gangs of free range rodents annexed corridors and mounds of low-rent detritus provided an unyielding stink. Dripping in Gucci and Fila, crack merchants indulged in dark commerce with relative impunity. Heat was considered a luxury back then and Nor’easters were known to turn bone marrow slushy. Like so many other diseased buildings at the time, 320 Sterling Street was lorded over by an almost comically