FORGOTTENTOUR #84: Ditmas Park and Flatbush, Brooklyn

The weather hopefully began a new winning streak for ForgottenTour #84, Saturday, September 27th, with sun and 80 degrees. ForgottenFans met at the recently restored historic stationhouse at the Brighton Line (Q train) Avenue H line, which was built in 1905 as a real estate office for local developer T.B. Ackerson.

About 25 tourgoers and I made our way through Fiske Terrace and Ditmas Park, both real estate developments from the early 20th Century. Most of the residences still stand in vintage condition. Along the way we saw Newkirk Plaza, which can be called Brooklyn’s first shopping mall. It was built during a grade crossing elimination program on the Brighton Line in the nineteen-ohs.

After a look at the historic churchyard of the First Dutch Reformed, founded in 1652 at what is now Church and Flatbush Avenues, we drifted into the heart of Flatbush, visiting Erasmus Hall High School (where alumnus Neil Diamond gave an unscheduled performance two days later), Flatbush Town Hall, the original Ebinger Bakery, and the first Sears-Roebuck outside Chicago.

 

Fiske Terrace house, East 17th Street

 

Rich Melnick points out something to ForgottenFans

 

Brighton Line open cut at Newkirk Plaza

 

Lush garden at 1700 Ditmas Avenue

 

1890 Ditmas Avenue

 

Independence Bank painted ad

 

Loews Kings Theater, under restoration

 

Sears, Roebuck & Co.

9/29/14

 

 


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6 Responses to FORGOTTENTOUR #84: Ditmas Park and Flatbush, Brooklyn

  1. Alan Gregg Cohen says:

    The neighborhoods of Fiske Terrace and Ditmas Park are true gems of Brooklyn. Two planned early 20th Century suburbs that have survived intact in 21st Century urban Brooklyn. They are a pleasant and unexpected anomaly. Thankfully the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has protected these neighborhoods in perpetuity by declaring them historic districts.

  2. Bill Tweeddale says:

    Anything to say about the Sears store? Is it still functioning? Didn’t it used to have sidewalk windows in the 50’s, or was I imagining it?

    • Kevin Walsh says:

      You have to go on the tours for all the details 🙂 The sidewalk windows may well have been there.

      • Bill Tweeddale says:

        I’d love to, but it’s kind of a long drive down to Brooklyn anymore. Maybe one of the tourgoers can illuminate me about Sears…

        • Jeffrey H. Wasserman says:

          I wasn’t on the tour but I can tell you that the Sears in Flatbush is still open for business despite the financial troubles the company is currently experiencing. It’s been decades since I’ve been in this particular store, but my guess is that it used to have display windows alongside the streets. All stores used to. Even the two department stores in the Kings Plaza Shopping Mall, down the road on Flatbush Avenue, had small display windows when they opened in 1970 although they been long since covered. I recall from my last visit to the Flatbush Sears in the early 1980s that the only open entrance to the building was from the parking lot.

    • Hugh says:

      Yes. Sears had great windows, especially around Christmas time. They were eliminated in the late 60’s when I worked at that store because people were began to feel everything in the windows was theirs for the taking.

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