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.
They don’t build ’em like this anymore, kids!
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…
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 street..how 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
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Welcome Back to Brooklyn, Brian Merlis, Israelowitz Publishing 1993
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©2006 Midnight Fish