THE BACKROOM

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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

FROM CORNELIUS VANDERBILT TO DR.CUTS

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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

BRAU

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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.  

TROLLEY DODGERS

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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.

LET THEM EAT ROTI

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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