SHEEPSHEAD BAY, Brooklyn, Part 3


We’ve run out of letters

The town of Flatbush, absorbed into Brooklyn in the 1890s, had its own tidy street naming system: East and West numbered streets, which run north and south, separated by Gravesend (now McDonald) Avenue, with east-west streets named for letters of the alphabet, A to Z. It works fine (though E, of all letters, is skipped), but we run out of letters 2 blocks north of Sheepshead Bay. What to do? The last two avenues are named for prominent area families in the 1800s, Voorhies and Emmons (the former is pronounced “voories” as if the H wasn’t there). Along Voorhies you can still see some homes from the Bay’s residential heyday.

The 3-story red brick Yeshiva of Kings Bay on Avenue Z between East 26th and 27th Streets is a pleasant surprise in this mostly low-rise neighborhood, It’s marred by a bad stone stucco job on the ground floor though.

It is the former PS 98, dedicated 1897; It Girl Clara Bow is an alumna.

Apparently, at one time in the dim past, as a rusted sign and a faded painted ad indicates, Dom DeLuise was the national chairman of the Guardians of Hydrocephalus Research Foundation benefiting children with the affliction.

Dooley Street, south of Voorhies. What the heck is this thing? It looks like a leather chair, but it’s got this control panel on the back, along with a handy dandy cup holder. But you have to reach over your head with the cup to place it. Maybe that’s how they did it in the 70s.

I’m told this is nothing more prosaic than a hair dryer, without the old headpiece, the type your mother sat under when she got a new hairdo.

The gorgeous Methodist Church of Sheepshead Bay, Ocean and Voorhies Avenues, is the oldest church building in Sheepshead Bay…dating to 1869

The oldest Roman Catholic parish in Sheepshead Bay is St. Mark’s, organized in 1868. Its present brick building, with its incredible campanile (visible from Flatbush and Gravesend) was built from 1928 to 1931 at Ocean and Jerome Avenues.

Across Ocean Avenue, Young Israel of Kings Bay is rockin’ the stained glass.

I couldn’t resist this one…on Voorhies across from St. Marks we find Your Singing Stylist, Mister Figaro! And there he is, ladies…shirtless!

Dig the 1970s-era “unisex” sign. How do you know it’s from the 70s? The mustache, which identifies its era as indelibly as the tattoo defines the 00’s.

Art Deco masterwork, Ocean and Voorhies, across from Methodist Church.

They don’t build ’em like this anymore, kids!


Dirt Knapp

Knapp Street delineates the eastern end of Sheepshead Bay; all the east-west alphabetized avenues end here. As we’ll see, it’s also the end of Brooklyn…

The Golden Gate is one of a number of hotels in the Knapp Street-Emmons Avenue era, for folks in need of a room.

Harkness, harkness. Harkness Avenue, named for race track mogul Harry Harkness, used to dead-end at Plumb Beach, but these days it’s the major road leading to a duodecaplex movie complex.

On Knapp north of Voorhies, we have a massive sewage treatment plant on one side (apartments with balconies are across the do they do it?) and a garbage transfer area on the other. I didn’t shoot the sewage treatment plant from the front; there would have been angry security guards, the cops, the ACLU, Ron Kuby, the whole bit, which I wasn’t in the mood for. But the area stinks even on a 50-degree March day.

At Knapp and Avenue Y, there’s a Burger King, and with what we’ve just seen, Lord knows what’s in those Whoppers. Apparently Newsday now owns the Marketeer. In the 90s, I was offered a job there, but balked at $7.50 an hour. The Marketeer is long gone.

In Brooklyn, Marketeer, by the way, is pronounced, approximately, “mah-kuh-TE-ah.”

Directly across the street is what remains of Rainbow Lanes, once owned by bowling all-pro Mark Roth, where your webmaster was in a league in the 1970s. I could never get my average over 150 though, since I threw it straight down the middle. Strike or split.

It’s fitting that we find a “Christ Seeks You” sticker at the dead end sign where Knapp Street, Avenue X and Shell Bank Creek all come together. The Greek letter Chi, written as an “x,” was an early Christian symbol.

Your webmaster photographed these pages on March 25 and April 2, 2006 and completed them April 2.


Brooklyn’s Gold Coast, Brian Merlis, Lee Rosenzweig and I. Stephen Miller, Israelowitz Publishing 1997
BUY this book at Amazon.COM

Welcome Back to Brooklyn, Brian Merlis, Israelowitz Publishing 1993
BUY this book at Amazon.COM

©2006 Midnight Fish

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14 Responses to SHEEPSHEAD BAY, Brooklyn, Part 3

  1. Rosalie says:

    I have very much enjoyed your blog/website and had hoped to maybe find a glimmer of information about my husband’s grandfather who owned a restaurant or diner in Sheepshead Bay circa 1925 – 1931. He was a Greek immigrant, and may have gone by the name Frank Karas. I don’t believe that his restaurant was Greek, though. If you, or anyone reading this has any information or recollection or knowledge about him, or the restaurant, please, please forward it to me. Thank you so much!

  2. Robert piovesan says:

    I grew up on east 23rd and voorhies ave. it’s sad to see rainbow lanes gone, a huge building next to Burger King. My church st marks is still there. This brings back a lot of great memories for me. Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s was a blast in the bay. Shame it’s all different and things gone. Like my childhood nothing lasts forever……

    • Anthony Nuccio says:

      My friend Victor Sutter lived in the house that used to be on the property of where Burger King was, his Dad owned the property that Rainbow Lanes sat on, as well as the property where Shell Gas was/is? so we were able to have many fun times bowling for free there, playing on the docks, great memories from ‘58-‘77 living on Bragg St between X&Y…..

  3. Neil Jay says:

    I moved to Sheepshead Bay in 1956. The original PS 98 on Avenue Z was decommissioned as a public school and for a short time became the campus of Kingsborough Community College (until its Manhattan Beach campus was ready. I thought the building had been condemned but I guess the City needed the money so it was re-used.

    I remember 2 additional restaurants on Ocean Avenue near Lundy’s. There was Tappens and directly across the street was Pappas (I think the name of the last one is right).

    When I first moved to the area, for about a year, Avenue W between Ocean Avenue and Bedford Avenue was a dirt road. So was Jerome Avenue.

    Brooklyn has changed a lot.

  4. james mugno says:

    My grandparents,parents as well as myself lived in the bay until 1958 when we moved to Marine Park. I remember 21st st. when it was a dirt road and I could look out the back of the house and see my grand parents house at the end of the court on 22nd st. Does anyone remember the fairyland on emmons av and the smaller amusement park on emmons av and knapp st?

    • DON CORIO says:


  5. I enjoyed the “look back at Sheepshead Bay” and Manhattan Beach. I lived in the apartment building across from Plumb Beach, on Emmons Avenue and Knapp Street most of my grade school years(Sheepshead Bay Public Schook # 52, Shell Bank Junior High School, and Sheepshead Bay High School(Graduated, 1971 June)…which is now unfortunately closed to the public. It was a wonderful neighborhood to live in and grow up in. Safe to roam the streets and the parks, and beaches. I will never forget the boardwalk from Sheepshead Bay fishing docks over to Manhattan Beach which i traveled by foot most times during my youth and hung out on the Manhattan Beach in my teen years, playing racket ball, squash, or just mingling with friends on the beach itself. We sometimes would walk the beaches from Manhattan Beach to Brighton Beach to Coney Island Beach boardwalk in the hot summer days when we were young. Lots of good memories. Thanks. My children(now grown and with their own families), have been taken to the “old neighborhoods” and shown where Lundy’s and Randazzo’s Clam Bar, and the fish and bait shop still stand. Lots of good memories at 63 years of age. Sherri Froim Kramerson(East Greenbush, New York)

    • Bonnie Haas says:

      I also lived on Emmons and knapp st From 1958 to 1974 in lefrak buildings. Had a great youth at shell bank sheepshead by h s Brooklyn college. Teaching and first child. Moved to Florida in 1974 loved biking playing at Manhattan beach long walks pips cafe Kahn ice cream. Papas and lundys

      • John Logan says:

        On Knapp St and the Belt Parkway was a Lobster Market Owned by Johnny Red and Associates. I worked there till 1958-9 for a year. When did it shut down? Sheepshead bay was a great place to grow up in!

  6. Joyce Bartolomeo says:

    Would love to see a picture of Bay a Go Go – a great Bar/Dance Club we had gone to almost every weekend in the 1960’s.

  7. Annonymous says:

    Just thinking of the “Bay-A-Go-Go” on Ocean Avenue off Emmons Avenue, & Georgie Dawn & his band playing. Remembering that “Girl’s Night!” The ladies would get in free & receive 3 tickets for two drinks or three sodas at the bar, of which we of course did have sodas for free & we did give the tickets to our boyfriends to use for drinks. Of course; Tony Danza would swing by on his motor cycle & hang outside the Go-Go, what fun we had! Those were the days!
    Does anyone remember the luncheonette on a dock over the water of Sheepshead Bay, on the side of the Barge & Paradise Club? I remember a reunion in Beef Steak Charlie’s where Georgie Dawn was last seen playing & did remember the “Girls for the Go-Go!(aka: “Green Bay Packers” in deguise). Thanks for the fond & bittersweet memories.

  8. I. Bellera says:

    I was born and raised in Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn. What a place to grow up. Went to PS 194, Shellbank JHS and Sheepshead Bay HS. Kid in the 60’s, teenager in the 70’s, married in the 80’s
    There was also a comedy club called Pips. David Brenner used to perform there all the time and then we would go to Randazzos which I cant believe is still there When we were kids we would sneak down to Coney Island and go on all the rides and of course hot dog and fries from Nathans.
    Remember the fries came in a paper cone inside the bag. I loved it. Also right across the street from Nathans was Faber Fasination with all the games and next door the animal nursery. For a small fee you could feed the baby animals. Who could forget the Cyclone and the bumper cars. They used to play great music and everyone would be dancing in the street . As a kid you had everything you could ever want. Remember Bungalow Bar ice cream truck…Bungalow Bar tastes like tar…haha
    and Good Humor and all the rides that used to come on your block, the whip, the swing a way, imagine how great that was as a kid. Everything came right onto your block. I wouldn’t trade with anyone having the privilege of growing up in Sheepshead Bay. Greatest memories. Now I’m living in South Florida with everyone else from Brooklyn, hahaha.

  9. Herb Myles says:

    I am 94 yrs old–grew up in bensonhurst –travelled to sheepshead bay on two subway trains to fish- I remember the old baY BEFORE THE BULKHEADS WERE BUILT–there were still 0ld luxury yachts that were loaned to the navy for sub duty in ww1-the rich owners didn’t want them back so they became party boats–there were no docks so you had to use a cat walk to get to the boats–Lundy ferries took you across the bay–a real fish town–later kept my own boat in Plumb beach–so different now

  10. Herb Myles says:

    see above

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