THE COLONY INN

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With little sentimentality or resistance, the stately homes that had long graced Flatbush Avenue were being pulverized into the granules of history. By the early 1920s, the pastoral compounds between Malbone Street – now Empire Boulevard – and Parkside Avenue were being swept into extinction one by one. For more than a century, famously obstinate Flatbush had managed to repel the incursions that had rendered Manhattan a nerve-jangling human hive. But, much like today, pressure from acquisitive developers slowly eroded the area’s will – and desire – to resist. And as the local population began to swell and urbanize with working-class immigrants, Flatbush’s patrician clans began

MIDWOOD IS FOR CLOSERS

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It’s remarkable how little the frantic tone of New York City real estate brokerage has changed over the past century. Take this February 1899 Brooklyn Eagle ad for a row of freshly constructed homes on Midwood Street between Flatbush and Bedford Avenues. Offered for up to $11,500, the copy tantalizes readers by noting that comparable homes in Manhattan would run them anywhere from $30,000 to $35,ooo at the time. The language is just as nakedly solicitous as anything you might run across on Realtor.com 119 years later. Noting the budding neighborhood’s proximity to Prospect Park and New York City Hall, the ad shuns genteel

SAME OL’ SAME OL’

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Flatbush Avenue between Hawthorne and Fenimore Streets. The black and white image was taken in roughly 1910. The color image was taken in March 2015. Note the original dollar vans – horses and carriages – doddering past the site of the 626 Flatbush development.    

SUMMERING ON PARKSIDE

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Believe it or not, wealthy 18th-Century Manhattanites once considered the pastoral expanse of Flatbush – and PLG in particular –  to be a prime spot for tranquil summer cribs.  Remarkably, former Loyalist NYC mayor David Mathews (served between 1776-1783)  would often bounce to a little sugar shack at the corner of  Parkside and Flatbush when he needed a breather from the taxing bustle of Manhattan. From Wikipedia: “Mathews lived in Manhattan but maintained a summer residence in Flatbush, located approximately at the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Parkside Avenue, and where he conducted much of his business while Mayor.” He summered on Parkside and Flatbush! But

OLD SCHOOL

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Any documentary featuring notable Jews from Brooklyn inevitably presents a tender recollection of  Erasmus Hall High School at Flatbush and Church. After hearing that a youthful Barbara Streisand once bearhugged textbooks  just a few blocks outside of the PLG green zone I had to do a bit of cursory research on the gothic mammoth. The breadth and volume of famed sportsmen, scientists and singers who graduated as Dutchmen and Dutchwomen is astounding. Flatbushed presents a beginner’s guide to what could be the most remarkable high school alumni list in history. Babs – A Google search reveals that she’s a national