I first found it in the late 1970s, on one of my many bicycling trips from Bay Ridge way out east, to New Lots, Ozone Park or even further, depending on how much time was available. The longest round trip I ever made was Bay Ridge to Valley Stream and back. Modest by the standards of other bicyclists I have known, but I prided myself on making that round trip in five hours. This was when I was 18 to 23 years old, though.


Old Mill Road from Crescent Street

One of my favorite routes was down Cozine Avenue, to escape the mean streets of East New York further north; this was the blackout–Son of Sam era. Attaining Fountain Avenue, I noticed a dirt road just south of Cozine running east to Crescent Street. It was completely unpaved and there must have been a black and white street sign indicating “Old Mill Road” then. The city doesn’t deign to mark it these days, though there is a single streetlamp. There appear to be 2 or 3 ancient homes fronting the road, which explains its survival.

I hadn’t the time to board the Q8 or B13 buses, both of which run past the old road on their way to the Gateway Center Mall (where I have never been, having moved out of Brooklyn in 1993). Do I use Google Street View? You bet I do, and I enjoy it.


All NYC boroughs have a Mill Street, Lane, Road of some kind, and all of them are near the water and mark the locations of former mills. Crescent Street used to run down to Jamaica Bay and was the location of Van Wicklen’s Mill:

Located at the foot of Crescent St. by Jamaica Bay, the Old Mill was not known to my generation. From Good Old East New York:”The Old Mill was established on the Bull Creek, about 1770 by one Van Brunt, at the same time as the Red Mill, just across the Flatlands town line, was built. Until 1810 the Bull Creek Mill stood at the second floodgate about a half mile south of the present site. In that year the mill was taken down and the present structure was built from the timbers of the original mill, at the foot of Crescent St. The mill was owned by L. Van Wicklen and known to many as Van Wicklen’s Mill.” The East New York Project

The photo, also from the site, pictures the mill in 1900. It was finally demolished in 1934, after having stood since 1810, or 124 years.

Sometimes, dirt roads unknown by most are the keys to the historic past.


Categorized in: Alleys One Shots

4 Responses to OLD MILL ROAD, New Lots

  1. Edward says:

    Staten Island’s Old Mill Road is still my favorite. Of course, you’ve already been there, and covered it on FNY =)


  2. jamie says:

    I have been building a new FedEx distribution center on the SW corner of Fountain and Flatlands wondered about that road, figured it was a private street (no paving) but thanks for the history.

  3. Catherine O'Neill says:

    I used to wander those Old Mill marshes when I was young – from the age of 4 with my father, and later just by myself up to about 1945 or so. Had a great time poking into fiddler crab dens and making them climb out, and also catching “killies” in a colander to which I tied bread and pulled it
    up when my catch had been tempted. There was an old farmhouse at the end of Crescent Street which was the last stop on the bus line. I do believe that is the house that was at one time, and might still be, in the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Also there were some houses on stilts across the canal from that. People had to row their way home from there.

    There were some old boardwalks here and there. My grandfather also had let a little fishing boat with a cabin to just fall apart I guess, and there was a skeet shooting range in there somewhere. One of the best memories I had was during a blizzard that I think was in 1943 was wandering around a bit there, pulling a sled, and just enjoying the wildness of it all. After all it was an Indian hunting and fishing ground until the Europeans messed it up. Some duck hunting still went on there as I remember. Originally he first grist mill was built by a Dutch family – Gerritsen,/Remmersen and through marriage to the Van Brunts .

    Prior to 1645, Hugh Gerritsen owned the land bordering on the west side of the Strom Kill which was often called Hugh Gerritsen’s Creek. Actually this was my mother’s family.

    • Carol Hansalik says:

      My grandmother lived at the end of Crescent Street from the 1920s though the 1960s and I remember sitting on her front porch watching the construction of the Belt Parkway and the fire trucks putting out fires on the “dumps”. What a stench! We would watch for the bus to take us to Liberty Avenue or Atlantic Avenue for shopping because it had to pass the house and turn around at the end of the street, giving us plenty of time to catch it! This would have probably been between 1940 and 1945.

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