BUSHWICK, Brooklyn

by Kevin Walsh


“Few men in all history … have ever been made to suffer so bitterly and so inexpressibly as I because of the assertion of my achievement.”

Was Dr. Frederick A. Cook the first American to climb Alaska’s Mount McKinley and the first explorer to reach the North Pole? Or, was he, as some detractors assert, a fake and a phony?

courtesy Peter Sefton

After Cook returned to the USA in the late 19-oh’s, New York City seemed to fall squarely in the pro-Cook camp, as this celebratory arch emblazoned with the words “We Believe In You” attests.

courtesy Peter Sefton

For a time, Cook resided in this mansion on Bushwick and Willoughby Avenues in Brooklyn. He died in New Rochelle, NY in 1940. The William Ulmer Mansion  has been rehabilitated and is now occupied after years of moribundity. The mansion had previously been occupied by brewer Ulmer, whose nearby brewery complex on Beaver and Belvidere Streets has recently been landmarked by the city Landmaks Preservation Commission. Ulmer also built a long-vanished amusement park in Bath Beach, which today is remembered by the Ulmer Park bus repair facility and storage yard at 25th and Harway Avenues and by the Ulmer Park Library.

Whether Cook was the true discoverer of the North Pole should be left to historians to decide.

What concerns your webmaster today is his house in Bushwick, for it symbolizes this Brooklyn neighborhoods’s steep decline and efforts to revive. Today we’ll look at what became of Dr. Cook’s mansion and others along Bushwick Avenue, as well as a foray or two elsewhere in this fascinating–if little- mentioned– enclave.

Bushwick, in northeast Brooklyn, is surrounded by Bedford-Stuyvesant on the west, Williamsburgh on the north, and Ridgewood to the northeast. Like many names in Brooklyn, “Bushwick” is derived from Dutch and means “town in the woods.” Once a separate town in Kings County, it became a part of Brooklyn in 1869.

Bushwick boomed in the late 1800s when German immigrants opened large breweries in the area, which were very profitable; brewers were able to build large, imposing mansions built in the exuberant, baroque Beaux Arts style of the day. Subsequent waves of immigration brought Italians and Latinos to the area.

After the breweries closed or moved, starting in the 50s and continuing into the 70s when all were gone, Bushwick suffered a slow decline, culminating in July 1977 when, during a blackout, Bushwick , in effect, was destroyed by arson and looting. Broadway, which with Bushwick Avenue comprise the main arteries of Bushwick, are still attempting to recover from the destruction that happened in just one night. On this page we’ll look at some of Bushwick’s gems which should be the keystones in such a comeback.

In mid-2006,
 the planks had been removed from the windows and it appeared to be in rehabilitation. (When I went past again in 2010, it was again occupied!)

A once-grand dwelling in similar condition to Cook’s old digs was just across Willoughby Avenue. It was demolished in the early 2000s.

The triangle across from the Ulmer/Cook mansion, Freedom Triangle, contains the first of two war memorials along Myrtle Avenue alongside the el structure. Both are works of sculptor Pietro Montana. The “Angel of Victory With Peace” was installed here in 1921 and honors Bushwick’s 93 casualties in World War I. (It was restored to its lost grandeur about 5 years after this photo was taken in 2000)

She appears to us to be wearing the crown of Victory, sword hilt forward and face transfigured. Her arm uplifted in a torch-like gesture to the vision of peace — the supposed end for which the Great War was fought, by America at least. The ninety-three dead who were sacrificed to it are carved on the handsome pedestal. Both statue and setting have been recently restored, thanks to the Department of Parks Division of Art and Antiques, and Greenstreets. — Cal Snyder in Out of Fire and Valor

A bit further up Bushwick Avenue, on Meserole Street, a building’s sign testifies Bushwick Avenue’s old name: The Boulevard.

Bushwick Avenue, though, offers few more of the ruins shown above. Many of Bushwick’s old mansions are now in surprisingly good condition.

This 1890 shingle-style home, built for a Charles Lindemann in 1890, was recently restored.

The 1890 Doerschuck House was built for a brewer, as were many mansions on Bushwick Avenue.

This mansion was built for Thomas Bossert in 1898; Bossert went on to build Brooklyn Heights’ Bossert Hotel.

John Hylan, NYC mayor from 1918 to 1925, lived at 959 Bushwick Avenue (the brownstone one over from the extreme right).

Hylan paid particular attention to transit issues during his tenure (he used to operate a loco on the Brooklyn els). He opposed raising the 5-cent fare, and, some say, had a hand in nixing the expansion of subway service to Staten Island. It seems fitting, then, that Staten Island’s longest boulevard is named for him.

This house at 1080 Greene Avenue at Goodwin Place is of particular note, since it’s been allowed to deteriorate with many of its original features intact, preserved in amber, as it were.

Flecks of its original red-and gold paint job are still there on the bay window.

The first floor is used as a storefront church, but the top floors seem unused for now. By 2010, it had been given a partial makeover.

Of all Bushwick streets, Linden Street is particularly gracious. The crenellation on the mansard roof (LEFT) has been allowed to remain, while these town houses have their original iron fences, which havebeen maintained through the decades.

The South Bushwick Reformed Churchat Bushwick and Himrod dates to 1853. Note the Ionic columns. These days it could use a paint job. Himrod was the name of its first minister.

The Bushwick is not the most imposing church in the area…

…That distinction goes to St. Barbara’s Roman Catholic Church at Central Avenue and Bleecker Street. Among the tallest buildings in Brooklyn, it can be seen from all over Bushwick.

St. Barbara’s was built in 1910. A major contributor was Leonard Eppig, a local brewer whose daughter’s name was Barbara.

St. Barbara’s is, if anything, more imposing inside than out, with gilding, stonework, stained glass and a magnificent pipe organ. It should not be missed if you’re in Bushwick.

Next door to St. Barbara’s, a stained-glass house number echoes the church’s detail.

On Broadway and Arion Place is the hulk of the old Arion Männerchor, Bushwick’s foremost German singing society. It later became a mansion and catering hall.

The building is rich in detail of its musical past; German initials, top, and lyre-shaped ironwork on the fire escapes.

Oddly the fire escapes don’t appear in pictures taken from the 1940s. The hall was converted to residential use in 2003-2004 as the Opera House Lofts.

Arion Place’s former name can still be seen on an adjoining brick wall.

Vigelius and Ulmer’s Continental Lagerbier Brewery (later the William Ulmer Brewery) was constructed in 1872 ay Belvidere and Beaver Streets by architect Theobald Engelhardt. It was recently granted landmark status by NYC’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Born in Wurttemberg in 1833, William Ulmer immigrated to New York in the 1850s to work with his two uncles, Henry Clausen Sr. and John F. Betz, in the brewing industry, eventually becoming the brewmaster for Clausen’s very successful New York firm. In 1871, Ulmer partnered with Anton Vigelius to form the Vigelius & Ulmer Continental Lagerbier Brewery on Belvidere and Beaver Streets in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Born in Bavaria, Anton Vigelius immigrated to Brooklyn in 1840 at the age of 18 and was involved in the produce business prior to opening the brewery. He purchased land at the corner of Beaver and Belvidere Streets from Abraham and Anna Debevoise in 1869. In 1877 Vigelius sold his share of the brewery to Ulmer. The building ceased to be used as a brewery at the dawn of Prohibition in 1920. Though compromised by time, its arched windows and details such as tie-rod caps stand the test of time. Currently awaiting true renovation, it’s home to offices and light manufacturing.

A “mansarded, cast-iron crested house” and a “Little Italianate castle of brick and terra cotta” with an ornate driveway gate over Belgian blocks and a courtyard, wagon house stable in the rear, this is the former offices of the nearby Ulmer Brewery complex. It has recently been owned by a stone sculptor and marble worker and later, furniture designer/restaurateur Zeb Stewart. In the central bay, molded terra-cotta ornaments “Office” and the brewery’s trademark “U” identify the building’s original function and owner. Note the then-current syle of maintaining a period after a title, even on a building front. The New-York Times. has lost both its hyphen and period over time.



Rendak March 30, 2012 - 6:42 pm

A correction is needed, please. 670 Bushwick Avenue was not the Ulmer mansion.
680 Bushwick Avenue was the Ulmer mansion, the house in the photo you have labeled “A once-grand dwelling in similar condition to Cook’s old digs was just across Willoughby Avenue…”
I’m friends with Ulmer’s great-great granddaughter, who lives in Pine Plains, NY and she assures me of this. This misinformation about the Cook house has also been used on Brownstoner.com and it’s time somebody did some record checking so that historians of the future are not mislead. Thank you.

Kevin Walsh March 30, 2012 - 10:16 pm

So you’re saying the house with the corner tower was not the Ulmer mansion? The AIA Guide gives the address as 670 Bushwick and says it’s on the corner of Bushwick & Willoughby, as the house pictured on this page is.

Vicente Wilson August 7, 2013 - 5:24 am

I just wish to say, my old doctor used to live in that house for many years. You didn’t mention him.
His name was Dr. Clement Davis. He was a wonderful distinguished doctor that treated the entire
neighborhood. He delivered me. Dr. Davis owned the house before I was born 1966 until I believed he died in 1989. So he must have owned the house for about 30 years . He was a great doctor, the whole family went to him and he always cured all his patients. He always smoked a rich smelling pipe. Please mention him with the house since I will always associate that house with him.

Linda Grooms December 8, 2013 - 4:59 pm

Like yourself I grew up in Dr. Davis care from a child until he passed away. His office in that building from the ’60s was always packed on both sides. If you couldn’t pay then he never turned you away. Not only was he a pillar in the community but was an intelligent, sensitive, caring individual. His name should always be associated with that building.

Arionplaceguy January 2, 2014 - 1:25 pm

I grew up on Arion Place ~ 1960-79 a few blocks away and always remember that house as being Dr. Davis’s office as well, way before it was Dr. Cook’s. Davis was a PILAR of the area community at that time. Too bad no one with similar aspirations of serving people instead of displacing them resides there now.

Chris February 25, 2017 - 7:14 pm

I grew up on Arion Place too…From 1959 to 1970 and we continued to own and rent out our two family townhouse untill I sold it for my Mom after my father passed away in 1979.

Dr. David’s house was always there and he was one of a dying bread of dedicated family physicians. Our doctor was as dedicated and also practiced out of his home in Brooklyn heights… He was known as the $5 doctor who also did not charge those who couldn’t afford it… Dr. Salvatore Altcheck was his name.

Kathy June 5, 2015 - 9:27 am

Mr. Wilson, I remember Dr. Davis too. Way back in 1969, when the City of New York demanded everyone take a blood test before they could get a marriage license, Dr. Davis did the test for my first husband and me. He was a very nice man.
I also remember the old Myrtle Avenue El running right by his office as it crossed Bushwick Avenue. The south end of the El was still operating then, before they tore it down in 1970.
One more thing. Did you ever know or go to Dr. Albion Ford the dentist on Bushwick Avenue? His office was just a couple of blocks down from Dr. Davis’s office. He was the best dentist I ever went to.
Now I’m getting all nostalgic. We lived on Kossuth Place and I went to the old PS74 one block west on Kozciusko Street, then PS274 on Bushwick and Kozciusko. Also went to the Public Library on Bushwick and DeKalb. I’d be happy to read any of your memories here too. Best regards, Kathy

gina February 15, 2018 - 6:57 pm

I also remember the old myrtle ave el. We all went to ps74 the youngest of us went to the new one PS274 and the library on bushwick ave back in the 50s and 60s all the houses on dekalb ave where we lived are all gone passed by 2017 what a different place anyone remember Mr Butters candy store on dekalb and evergreen great memories

Cheryl Ippolito Rodriguez March 15, 2018 - 1:05 am

My name was Cheryl Ippolito then, and my Mom and i used to take the long walk from our house on Eldert Street to my Dentist on Palmetto. He was Dr Donshick (spelling?). After the visit kids could pick a small toy from a cardboard box as a reward! As with most dentists, he said to raise my hand if it hurt, but he didn’stop anyway! Iguess if he did stop every time a kid raised a hand, he’d never get done! I liked him. Does anyone else know of him?

Lydia Miranda May 16, 2017 - 1:39 pm

I remember Dr. Davis, My mother used to bring my little brother (now $9) to him. My mother swears he saved my brother from death arms

JoAnn Francis May 29, 2017 - 12:03 pm

What hospital were you born in. I remember Dr. Davis. I lived on Troutman between Bushwick and Evergreen

Joan October 13, 2019 - 1:10 pm

Same here my mother went to Dr. Davis when she was pregnant with me and our whole family were attended by him until his death when I was 21 years old. He was a great doctor and my inspiration to become a physician myself. His waiting room was always packed. He also religiously smoked a distinguishing aromatic pipe. He left a lasting impact on many of our lives. My mother sings his praises ’til this day. There is also a nice video made by one of his devoted patients on you tube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmlBxfSjWgc .

jm May 18, 2021 - 2:47 pm

Dr. Davis was my doc as well. I always loved going into that house. The wonderful smell of his pipe, the beautiful woodwork and floors. I used to play in the grand ballroom to the right f the entrance

Anthony Barcia January 31, 2016 - 11:38 pm

Do you or anyone remember a BAR on a corner in the 50’s & 60’s that had a MICHANICAL PIANO PLAYER ON TOP OF IT’S CANOPY ? I remember seeing it all the time as a kd in the 60’s

vincent vanasco March 13, 2016 - 12:16 am

The bar was across the street from my Dads office at 1338 Bushwick avenue.It sat on the north/esat corner of Schaffer street. I was told it was a somewhat Gay bar,but never knew that.It was around since the early fifties as I can remember.

Martha Brown October 31, 2017 - 10:25 am

The Bar was called the “Gay Cafe.” It was not a GAY Bar. The White people who used to hang out in there seemed like they were having a lot of fun. My family moved to Bushwick in 1/4/1955 from Myrtle Avenue between Sumner and Throop Aves. We were the first Black people to move on Bleecker Street, between Evergreen & Central Ave. Used to pass the Bar when we went up to school and coming home as we went to Halsey Junior High School #85. Highland Park was walking distance. The bar name was changed to the Gig Cafe sometime during the early 60’s when the clientele changed to mostly Black customers who came from across Broadway from Ocean Hill and Bedford Stuyvesant. Also remember Dr. Davis. My sister was his patient. Dr. Puderback, Dr. Macaluso. Went to him on Bushwick & Bleecker. Judge Sala’s mansion at 992 Bushwick Aven. Still live on Bleecker Street for 62 years. Martha Brown, Bushwick.

Joe Basirico December 3, 2019 - 9:15 am

I believe that the bar was on Bushwick Ave near the corner of Kosciusko St. We lived across the street at 833 Bushwick Ave.
until 1957 when I was 11 years old. My father, Dr. Paul Basirico had his office on the first floor of our house. I remember the
rooftop piano and player, it was on a porch-type roof probably one story up.

Ellen May 27, 2020 - 8:36 pm

Joe Basirico. I went to St. Joseph Patron on Suydam St with a Frank Basirico. I graduated in 1965. We had a reunion in 2003 and we found out Frank passed away. Any relation to you?

Grace D'Alleva June 27, 2017 - 9:14 pm

Wow yes I always remember that and never forgot it, that going back 64 years ago, I lived on Eldert Street

Anonymous July 15, 2019 - 11:47 pm

Hi Gina.. what class were you in .. in the first grade in at P.S 274.. was your teacher’s name Ms. Salvatore?
I’m wondering if you were in my class?
Would love to hear from you. Please email me at elizbaumann@gmail.com.

Cheryl Ippolito Rodriguez March 15, 2018 - 12:45 am

I remember that! I didn’t think anyone else would! Riding home in the car with my Parents after visiting relatives, we always passed that. Actually, as a youngster, it creeped me out. As an adult, i think it was amazing for its time. We moved out in 1964. How long did it last before they pulled it down? I lived on Eldert Stredt between Central and Evergreen. Went to 14 Holy Martyrs School on Covert for 8 years. There were 2 public school buildings one on the corner of Eldert and Central and the other on the corner of Eldert and Evergreen. Does anyone know which schools they were?

Joseph mack January 30, 2020 - 1:48 pm

I went to 14 holy martyrs in the 40’s and 50’s. The public school nearby was ps 85

Joseph mack January 30, 2020 - 1:57 pm

I went to 14 holy martyrs in the 40’s and 50’s. The public Jr hi near by was ps85.

Eric Bolden June 7, 2021 - 10:49 am

The Cook manson was actually in the news several years ago, when a side balcony collapsed, IIRC when they were havibg a party on it. It’s been removed, and in the current Google Street View, you can just see the old door to the void.

Josephine Russo June 6, 2012 - 9:53 am

I want to know the name of a bar that was on the corner of Bushwick with a piano on the roof…

MARVIN ENNON August 9, 2012 - 6:47 pm


Irene Barbuto December 23, 2013 - 11:32 am

Are there any pictures of the outside of The Gig of the piano-playing mannequin? If so, could you email me a picture. Thank you. Irene Barbuto

elise gad March 19, 2021 - 3:32 pm

Any photos? I remember it well!

William Grace June 15, 2012 - 9:30 am

The Gay Caf

Linda Dawkins December 6, 2012 - 5:34 pm

What was on the corner of Bushwick Ave and Decatur Street before that Daycare Center was there??

PK January 30, 2013 - 5:03 pm

What kind of jackass makes the decision to take a wrecking ball to such a grand piece of architecture and history? Referring to the photo with the caption “A once-grand dwelling in similar condition to Cook’s old digs was just across Willoughby Avenue…”

John March 16, 2013 - 2:02 am

Agreed. As a former NYC resident, I’ve become quite disgusted by what I saw when browsing through Google Street View Maps. PS133 & The Marboro Theater are among the great structures lost.

gina March 27, 2013 - 6:59 pm

I grew up in bushwick on dekalb ave near evergreen ave Our parish was St. Joseph anybody remember Mr. Butters candy store on dekalb&evergreen and PS74 back in the early 60s went JHS 57 in befordsty love to hear from you

carmine lofaro October 15, 2013 - 4:18 pm

i practically lived in butters candy store .

Rich Winckel September 27, 2014 - 5:20 pm

Is this Carmine who was friends with Joe Zito and Mary Winckel?

ERIC ERDMANN September 7, 2019 - 11:15 pm

Carmine , I Hope this message finds you well , you used to cut through my backyard fence to get to Cedar street without walking around the block , yes it’s youre Old Friend Eric Erdmann . I’ll put my info below hoping for a response.

Kathy June 5, 2015 - 9:52 am

Gina, I do remember Mr. Butter’s candy store. We lived on Kossuth Place back in the 1950’s and 60’s. I went to PS74 and then PS274. Every chance I got, I went to the Public Library on Bushwick and DeKalb.
I am an old Bushwick lady. I was born at Williamsburg General Hospital, and delivered by Dr. Salvatore Invidiada whose office was right up the street from our house on the corner of Bushwick and Stanhope (I think it was Stanhope).
We went to St. John the Baptist way south of Broadway on Willoughby and Hart. Mom thought St. Barbara’s on Bushwick was too pretty and would be too much of a distraction during Sunday mass.
Also remember the Little Sisters of the Poor convent and old age home on Bushwick and DeKalb. There was also the big white church on Bushwick and Himrod and the Menorah Jewish Home across Himrod on Bushwick.
Gina, do you remember shopping on Broadway, down under the El? Mom and I used to go to so many of the stores there. I always had to lug that old two-wheel folding shopping cart along. We went to KeyFood for groceries, Tomaselli’s Meat Market, and Roma’s Italian Salumeria. There were also all the other stores. Still remember standing in front of the appliance stores at the corner of Kossuth Place and Broadway watching the first color tvs through the windows. Dad said we’d get a color tv after they were “perfected”.
Hope you have lots of happy memories. Kathy

gina February 15, 2018 - 7:07 pm

Kathy I do remember the little sisters of the poor we lived on the next block we shopped on Knickerbocker ave only went to broadway for certain stores which I cannot remember I do reemember the shoemaker Mr.butafucco I hope I spelled his name right. You could wait for your shoes to be fixed in these little stalls when we could afford a tv itwas always black&white went to bushick HS we left dekalb ave and moved near knickerbocker ave in the 60s till I finished HS hope to hear from all be well great memories

Anonymous August 17, 2021 - 1:14 pm

I remeber the Menorah a religious group brought the building and turned it into a kid
s program

Grace D'Alleva June 27, 2017 - 9:17 pm

I was baptized in St, Joseph’s in 1950

Kathy June 5, 2015 - 9:35 am

PK, I remember that old house from my childhood days. It was still occupied then as a private home. We lived in a row house with “railroad rooms” as they used to call apartments where all the rooms were connected in a row (no one needed privacy back then, least of all kids). Naturally, I thought of all the grand houses on Bushwick Avenue as mansions. When that old house had all the first floor lights on at evening time, it was amazingly beautiful. Sad to know its not there anymore.

Martha Brown October 31, 2017 - 10:34 am

Unfortunately, if you remember that was the Little Sisters of the Poor Convent Home there on Willoughby & Bushwick during the 1950’s. The nuns used to wear those hats like the Flying Nun. Then during the late 60’s, early 70’s, I think it became a residence (while the nuns were still there) for juveniles. I dont know if the Diocese of Brooklyn sold the property or what happened, but then it started deteriorating during the late 70’s, and then by the 80’s going into the 90’s it appeared derelict. Then I passed one day and it was being torn down. There is luxury apartments there now sad to say. This is an ongoing problem here in Bushwick and we are fighting hard to keep some semblance of the character of this neighborhood out of the hands of the voracious ubiquitous developers who have appeared here in Bushwick like cockroaches that you cannot get rid of. I moved here Jan. 1955.

Marilyn Cruz May 14, 2019 - 9:46 pm

I lived at 46 Bleecker St., between Evergreen and Central Ave. From ‘68-71. After, semi ed to Greene Ave and Evergreen. Things have changed throughout the years. We have bike lanes now! I went to St. Barbara’s School til it closed in 1973,after I went to St Joseph Patron, which unfortunately is closing its doors on June 14th.

gina November 8, 2013 - 7:48 pm

carmine, do you have a sister cathy your grandparents lived next door to you? I remember you well you lived on dekalb ave?

gina January 10, 2014 - 8:35 pm

carmine you lived in mr. butters but did you live on dekalb ave?

CARMELO LO FARO October 2, 2017 - 8:46 am


gina February 15, 2018 - 7:17 pm

Carmine I do remember you and your two sisters someone did mention the little sisters of the poor being torn down the one being referred to is on Dekalb and evergreen and still stands today I believe it is a school when I passed in 2017 have not been back since I remember your sister Cathy she went to Saint Joseph as you all did I remember meeting Joe Zito many years ago sorry to hear he passed do you remember the Italian club near St Joseph church we used to go there for club meetings One of your friends became a priest cannot recall his name be well hope to hear from all bushwick friends

Rafael Rodriguez February 21, 2014 - 4:28 pm

As I also grew up in the care of Dr Davis I would like his name to be with this building, its Brooklyn history, I remember the Pipe he smoked and the Parrot he had in the lower level of the building where he took Xrays.

Kathy June 5, 2015 - 9:58 am

Mr. Rodriquez, as I recall, Dr. Davis’s office had the words “Davis Medical Buidling” etched into the stonework above the main door. I hope it is still there and they have no plans to scratch if off because neighborhood history should include things that were important to people who lived there in every era, no just when the building was first built. Dr. Davis did a lot of good for the people he served. Hope his name won’t be forgotten. Best regards, Kathy

Peter Taylor February 25, 2014 - 5:41 pm

One of my ancestors, Thomas Taylor, ran a pipemaking business up until 1871 in Bushwick. The trade directories give it as Broadway near Cook. Any old photos of where this might have been?

Michael Schiavone May 27, 2014 - 1:38 pm

Looking for a old photo of a place called the Gig on Bushwick Ave i remember a marionette playing the piano. ?? Please advise

Kathy June 5, 2015 - 9:17 am

Mr. Schiavone, I remember that piano player too, and have also been trying to find a photo of it.
My Dad was a constant photographer even using a movie camera to take films at times. He passed in 2010 in Florida. I am hoping to visit his wife and go through some of the old photos, of which there are thousands. If I find a photo of the “Piano Man” as I called him, I’ll post back here again.
We lived on Kossuth Place and my Dad would take me for walks after dinner, mostly on Bushwick Avenue. I remember the first time I saw that piano man after dark! All lit up with neon lights that made it look like he was swaying from side to side while playing that piano. What a sight!
Good luck trying to get a photo. If you do find one, could you post here about it? Love to see it.

william Ayala February 27, 2018 - 11:18 pm

can you please post pictures of the piano man they bring back a lot of memories
send to yankeedoodle1947@aim .com
thank you

Hillary May 5, 2015 - 10:24 pm

My great grandparents lived at 871 Bushwick Ave. He died 1916-1933. Email me at hillarybressler@gmail.com if you know anything about them. Meyer and Hannah Annie Bressler.

daniel scarpa June 24, 2015 - 7:07 am

do you have a picture of #52 beaver st bklyn,before demolishion for ps 120 school

daniel scarpa January 12, 2016 - 8:04 am

does anybody have a photo

danny scarpa September 27, 2018 - 7:51 am


Helen August 22, 2015 - 12:12 pm

I lived in the Williamsburg Projects from 1940-1950/51. there was a photographer who would come around and take pictures of all the kids in the neighborhood sitting a long set of steps. I have part of one, but would love see more. It was a great place to be raised. I still have some really great memories from P.S. 18, when teachers were teachers. We had a Miss Larken who took us to shows in the city on weekends, or movies. She was spinster in those days they called them, and put all her energies into us kids………

joe t. September 8, 2015 - 8:58 pm

i was born in williamsburg general hospital in 1956. went to p.s. ??? on madison st. and bushwick ave. then went to our lady of good council school . i remember the “GIG CAFE ” on bushwick ave. remember the rko bushwick theatre and the lowes gates along broadway. remember the parades along bushwick ave on BROOKLYN DAY. we shopped at scaturros market, russos produce,bargaintown, deans , johns bargain store, woolworths,all along broadway… baptised at st. john the bapist r.c. church. i was shown as a child mayor hylans house,dr fredrick cooks mansion,and remember the many many churches lining bushwick ave. Fact: EVERYTHING CHANGES IN TIME… really enjoyed discovering this site

vincent vanasco March 13, 2016 - 12:27 am

I remeber the two movie houses and then there was the Empire and the real low down Monroe,where a dime could get you 21 cartoons a three stooges a serial thriller and a couple of movies. Great fun and many hours for a dime.The Monroe was right across the street from the RKO.

Anonymous October 14, 2018 - 5:30 pm

You said it exactly like I remember ,, I lived on bleecst up the block from st barbara where I went to school. I also got a penny for a paper cup to get water at the empire.

Grace D'Alleva June 27, 2017 - 9:22 pm

Leonard Scaturro was a boarder in my grandparents home in 1925, Leonard Scaturro was 21, They came thru Ellis Island together

Salvatore Polizzi September 18, 2020 - 7:32 am

On ancestry it says that Leonard Scaturro was born in the USA, he lived at 1134 Willoughby Ave as a roomer in 1925. I assume he is associated with Scaturro Supermarkets. I lived on that same block in the 60’s & 70’s at 1117 Willoughby Ave, be nice to hear from anyone from back then.

Jo Ann September 25, 2015 - 2:35 pm

I went to elementary school PS 24 on belvedere and arion place. then went to Willoughby JHS and then Bushwick HS. I remember dr. Sylvester Cort on Bushwick Avenue.

vincent vanasco March 13, 2016 - 12:23 am

I remeber Dr. Cort. He lived with his mother in the brownstone across from the big mansion of Dr. Davis.He and I dated Ms. Puerto Rico of 1960. Ms. Vega was a beauty and lived at one of my fathers buildings at 735 Bushwick avenue.Later her family and she moved to the Lindsey Houses further towards Williamsburg.

Miguel Hernandez August 20, 2020 - 2:58 pm

Jo Ann I ,(Miguel ” Mike” Hernandez) went to PS 24 on Arion and Beaver in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The Principal was Walter Shultz and the AP was a Mrs Mac Namara. My favorite teacher was Mr.Louis Vogel. I came from Puerto Rico and did not speak English so at first they put me in the CRMD Class (Children with Retarded Mental Difficulties) After a few months went back to the regular 2nd grade class. Graduated 6th grade in 1950 and sent to PS 145 on Noll St. Then Boys High.

Jose Martinez, Ed.D April 26, 2021 - 3:31 pm

Miguel Hernandez, I also was in a CRMD class at PS 64 in New Lots/East NY neighborhood in the 3rd grade because I too was not proficient in English. Within a few months, they sent me back to the 3rd grade. I knew I didn’t belong in the CRMD class; those kids were tough. I moved to the projects on Bushwick and Flushing Aves. I attended PS145 for 7th and 8th grades in the early 60’s. Our principal was Mr. Gannon and I had Mr. LaRocca for 7th grade science, Ms. Gunn for Guidance class and Mr. Pinisi for English in 8th grade. Mr. Pinisi helped me improve my English writing, enough that I was accepted to attend Martin Luther High School in Maspeth. I graduated from high school and went on to become a teacher, an assistant principal, a principal of a jhs and hs., a director of dual language programs and assistant superintendent for two separate school district. I’m in my 70’s and I teach at Concordia University in Wisconsin. The experiences I had learning English was something that I never forgot because I wanted to make sure that the students I work with never have those experiences. I also have a doctorate in education administration from the University of Illinois. I still keep in touch with my friends who attended St. Marks Lutheran Church on Bushwick and Jefferson St. Living in the neighborhood was fun and well worth it. Those were fond memorie.

gidget February 1, 2016 - 11:24 am

I would love to see any pictures of the gig !!! the one with the piano man on the roof!!!!! thanks!!!

deadbolt Alisha March 8, 2017 - 7:00 am

very touchy

jim March 15, 2017 - 9:02 pm


Mike Rini jr. June 1, 2017 - 12:40 am

Did anyone live near Stockholm street? I grew up at 196 Stockholm between Knickerbocker and Wilson Ave. Went to St. Joseph’s school on suydam st lots of great memories in bushwick. Wish I could go back in time!!

Grace D'Alleva June 27, 2017 - 9:24 pm

My friends lived on Stockholm near Knickerbocker and Wilson, Their names were Salerno and Lombardino

Salvatore Polizzi September 24, 2020 - 4:57 am

Wow, I lived at the end of the blockon Stockholm near Wilson Ave, it always got flooded when it rained. Lived there with my grandparents in 1966 then we moved to Willoughby Ave between Knickerbocker, right by Knickerbocker Park & Wilson for about 9 years. Those were great times as kid. Went to PS 123 and PS 162. Like to hear from any of my childhood friends from Willoughby from 1966 to 1975.

Salvatore Polizzi September 24, 2020 - 5:03 am

My childhood friends then were Mazzola, Luginsland, Zelinski, Lorre, Deblasi, to name a few, there were so many of us even from around the block and surrounding neighborhood.

R September 4, 2017 - 5:32 pm

I will always remember dr. Clement Davis . Although I lived in Park Slope I had family who used to travel all the way from Dover New Jersey to visit him I was under his care as a young boy I will never forget the sound of his kind Voice or the fragrance of the blue smoke billowing from his pipe

Tony Terranova October 17, 2017 - 10:55 am

PS 56, Halsey Jr,High school, Bushwick High School. I was at born 1269 Bushwick Ave, corner of Halsey family home.

Raymond G. October 29, 2017 - 5:28 pm

I would like to say hello to all that lived on Arion Pl. at around 1959 to 1972. I lived at 16 Arion Pl. and, I hanged out there for many years. I miss the many friends I had there for all those years. I took a quick car ride there the other day just to take a look, so sad to see how it has changed. My old school, PS 24 is gone and, Bushwick Ave. has changed a bit. I welcome anyone who wants to send me a line, thanks!

roberto laborde December 11, 2017 - 3:16 pm

I went to P.S. 24 on Arion Pl, and Bushwick Ave. ..After I graduated from six grade, I went to seventh grade at 145 on Noll St. I lived on Bushwick Ave.near Arion Pl., In order for me to go to 145, I had to go pass the brewery that was there at the time , I understand it is not there anymore.
I am writing a book “about a youth that grew up in Brooklyn, involved in gangs and all kinds of things adolescents get involved at that age. Anybody remembers the El Quintos, ,Latin Gents, Royal counts they covered Myrtle Ave., White , Broadway, Scholes St. ,and up and down Bushwick Ave., headquartered at the Bottom, More St. and Bushwick Ave?

Annette DeFresco koch February 2, 2018 - 1:24 am

I grew up on Jefferson St went to ps 24 from 52 to 58 then ps145 then Bushwick hs 61 to 65

Cheryl Ippolito Rodriguez March 15, 2018 - 1:21 am

Does anyone remember the ‘Halsey Bops’? Or the wading pool at Halsey Street Park? We lived on Eldert between Central and Evergreen and used to go to the movies on Gates Ave and Broadway. . . The Loews Gates. Also the Saratoga branch Library. We went roller skating with my relatives at the Hillside Roller Rink. We would all sing in the car but if we passed Evergreen Cemetery my Uncle made us be silent for respect for the Dead.

Joseph mack January 30, 2020 - 2:07 pm

There was also the Alhambra movie house and Putnam st playground

Bert Pennington December 15, 2020 - 10:35 pm

I remember the Halsey Bops and the Bakery Boys. Halsey Bops went out of their territory to go against
the Glenites in Glendale. Cops broke that one up
before it began. 1958?

Martha L. Brown October 20, 2021 - 2:05 pm

Dear Bert Pennington, sorry I just got back to this site after 2/3 years. Evangelical Deaconess Home and Hospital for the Aged is now the Bushwick Community Services Offices. It contains programs for family care, Community Board No. 4 (Bushwick) District Offices and other programs for the community. It has family services SCO Offices and the other Part of the former hospital is now a homeless shelter. Bushwick has completely changed these days but I do remember this home. I found some old archives when I was working that actually contained the names of the aged patients dating back to the 1870’s. Doing a history project of Bushwick for urban dynamics. Been living here in Bushwick since 1/4/1955. Stay in touch with this site.

Manny Castro January 11, 2018 - 11:43 am

When I lived on Harrison Place by Morgan Ave. in the sixties, I went to Dr. Clement Davis in the mansion at Willoughby Ave. and Bushwick Ave. I remember his pipe and the sweet scent it had (not foul like cigars) and his kindly manner. It was an odd location for a doctor’s office with soaring ceilings, plaster walls and ceilings, a grand staircase for going upstairs, and tiled flooring. I hated the needles in my behind as I lay on the examination table looking outside the window at the elevated train tracks. I had recurring nightmares of a train chasing me in my home until a psychologist figured out it was from the visits to the doctor and the sight of the El trains above. I also remember one of his pretty nurses (sorry for the sad news) was raped and killed way back when (late sixties, I think). I went to school for a few years at P.S. 145 (happy days) and later St. Leonard’s RC School (not happy days) just off Wilson Ave. I can’t remember any of the names of my dear friends in those classes as time erases all. St. Leonard’s has been torn down and replaced with a residential building of some sort. The school may or may not be there, I don’t know. Brooklyn was very rough in those days and we moved out to the Rockaways in Queens. But I still remember the sewing factories in the neighborhood, Brunckhorst’s (now Boar’s Head) just off Bogart St., the subway exits and the grates where the whoosh of the wind from the moving L trains would blind you with dust, the fire station on Morgan Ave., the 3 story walk ups (half of which burned down in the 70’s), the trash everywhere, the good neighbors, the bad gangs, the salsa and doo-wop music, the smell of chestnuts in the winter, the roaches (!) and rats, the cheap candy at the candy stores and bodegas, the broken concrete sidewalks, stickball, and I could just go on and on. I recently read A Tree Grows In Brooklyn and was amazed at all of the memories I had of a place I never thought twice about. You can never go home again, and Dr. Davis can never be my physician anymore (R.I.P.), but we need to keep the old neighborhoods as old neighborhoods and not fancy condo incubators. More feel, less steel. I normally don’t open up, but you can email me at manny300m@hotmail.com to swap stories.

Cheryl Ippolito Rodriguez March 15, 2018 - 1:26 am

Does anyone remember Cypress Pool? Unlike today when kids have many public (or personal) pools, that was a HUGE treat for us! That and when they would come around and open up the fire hydrants on a hot day!

Joseph mack January 30, 2020 - 2:15 pm

Cypress pool. Had my first taste of racism there. We would go there on weekends. The first black boy who moved in our neighborhood was refused entrance. We said why but he knew right away. So we went to McCurran(sp) public pool.

Bert Pennington December 15, 2020 - 10:13 pm

I remember Cypress Pool, particularly the iron filings that fell from the El. Poolside when the Big Bopper and Frankie Valens died in a plane crash.

Bert Pennington December 15, 2020 - 10:18 pm

Does anyone know Evangelical Deaconess Hospital on Bushwick Avenue?

Dora H. March 15, 2018 - 10:15 pm

Did anyone here go to PS 299? Does anyone remember Meyer’s on Broadway? My mother would take me there and we’d have Western omelette sandwiches. My dentist was Dr. Micelli on Gates Avenue — a woman dentist which was rare in the ‘50s.

Shameeka April 21, 2018 - 9:50 pm

i am trying to get more information on the little sisters of the poor my mom and aunt were sent there , my mom got pregnant with me there

tanya cephus July 5, 2018 - 2:48 pm

Wonderful doctor won’t be forgotten. I’m 47 years old now.

tanya cephus July 5, 2018 - 2:03 pm

Dr. Davis very patient and very knowledgeable doctor he is the reason I’m living today him and the Good Lord up above. I will never forget him.
Tanya Frazier Cephus

jak bell July 22, 2018 - 7:59 pm

I grew up at 45 Stockholm st and went to ps 74 and PS 68, Mr. Friedman principal. What a great time.

Faith Schildt(Schellhorn) August 2, 2018 - 9:11 pm

I, too, went to 14 Holy Martyrs School and started school in 1936 until 1944 and then to St. Joseph’s Commercial High School until 1949. Lots of nice memories of school mates and nuns and priests like Father Multz, and Father Yander. I lived across the school at 607 Central Ave and then moving to Macdonough St and then to Long Island, Texas, Ohio and now Georgia. I am approaching my 87th birthday and those memories are still so vivid in my mind. I guess I should call them “THE GOOD OLD DAYS” but my life has been wonderful and fulfilled with happiness ever since.
God bless everyone !

Joseph mack January 30, 2020 - 2:22 pm

I went to 14 holy martyrs in the 40’s and 50’s.
Fr. Multz heard my first confession.
There was a candy store right across the street.

Bert Pennington March 15, 2021 - 5:05 pm

Hi Faith,

Do you have Dittenhoefers in you family tree?

Dtighe412@gmail.com October 20, 2018 - 9:38 pm

Does anyone remember the toy store on Broadway and gates?

Wayne August 17, 2021 - 2:49 pm

Izzie’s or Izzy’s, is the name I remember.

Anonymous April 2, 2019 - 12:01 pm

to Gina.. I went to PS 274.. I wounder if you were in my class there was a girl names Gina in my 1st grade class .. at PS 274.. my teachers name was Ms Salvatore …..?


Sonia Barned September 21, 2019 - 9:48 pm

Is this the same place called Arian Mansion, that was a catering hall… they used to have functions, parties and maybe even wedding receptions?
I remember attending functions there..
Does it still exist?

Cheryl Rodriguez December 10, 2019 - 6:41 pm

Some of the Happiest days of my Life were growing up in Brooklyn! We lived at 141 Eldert Street between Central and Evergreen, but around 1957 a fire started in the house next door, 139 Eldert, and the fire and water damage destroyed half the block including our house. We stayed with relatives and then moved for a while to 70 Covert Street because I attended 14 Holy Martyrs Parochial School right there. Once they repaired the houses on Eldert, we moved back in to 139, next to our original house. We moved out in 1964, to East Meadow, where I still live. We used to go to the candy store around the corner on Central and buy “penny candies”! You could fill a whole tiny paper bag with them for like 10 cents! And there was a butcher shop and fruit store on the corner of Eldert and Evergreen, where we always bought our Christmas Trees! On Wednesdays the Catholic Schools let our early so the students in the Public Schools could go for religious instructions, so I would go to the public school across from my house and draw on the blackboard or play games. My Dad taught me to ride a 2-wheeler in the schoolyard across the street too! My Parents, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins used to go roller skating at Hillside Roller Rink! My Mom and I walked to Broadway to the Library, or to the Loews Gates Avenue to see a movie, and we saw the 3 Stooges in person there! What a wonderful Life and experience it was to grow up in Bushwick in that era! I still kind of miss it!

Bert Pennington December 15, 2020 - 10:40 pm

Went to Hillside Roller Rink many times. Took the bus down Myrtle Ave. to the end,. then walked. ‘All Skate’, ‘Couples
Only’, organ playing.

ED December 31, 2019 - 12:55 pm

Does anyone remember the Bushwick Boy’s Club on Gates Avenue?

eric brettschneider February 18, 2020 - 10:12 am

Does anyone remember the name of the Italian bakery on Wilson ave near maybe evergreen?

Frank Avila May 2, 2020 - 8:08 am

Hi Eric
I was in Troop 300 with you.
You were the Senior Patrol Leader.
I was assigned to be assistant senior patrol leader in the spring of 62, but moved that summer to Long Island.
I was proud to read about your achievements in city government, congrats

Heriberto Rodriguez July 20, 2020 - 10:27 pm

I lived in Willoughby and Evsrgreen a nd worked in Willoughby nursery home and remember that building and go to KFC

Margaret mueller October 27, 2020 - 3:59 pm

I lived at 162 elders street Brooklyn between 1943 to 1951 when we moved to Babylon and then to Levittown, where I still live. I attended 14 holy marthyers and remember father multi. I lived four hou ses down from ps85. Summer s they would open the school for neighbor kids. There were jump rope contest winners would receive ticket to movie house on broadway. I learned how to shoot pool, play poker,basket ball and many other things. On hot days the fire hose was hung from the basketball hoop an we would all stand under it to cool off.many happy memories . Was very sorry to find out that my home along with Ps85 had been demolished.

JOE GAGE January 31, 2021 - 3:20 pm


Jesse C March 16, 2021 - 8:02 pm

Hi Joe, here’s a link to the DOF photos from the 1940’s, where you can look up neighborhoods and addresses: http://nycma.lunaimaging.com/luna/servlet/NYCMA~7~7
As the site says: Between 1939 and 1941, the Works Progress Administration, in conjunction with the New York City Department of Taxation, organized teams of photographers to shoot pictures of every building in the five boroughs of New York City. The photographs were taken to improve the process of determining and recording property value assessments.

Stacey August 18, 2021 - 1:16 pm

Question: I’m working on a memory book for my mom. She talks about playing with discarded dolls from a doll or toy factory when she lived in the Bushwick area. She believes it was on Noll Street between Wilson and Central. I’m trying to find an address so I can locate a picture to add the book. Any one know of the place she is thinking of. Stacey

fagan February 8, 2022 - 12:57 pm

I enjoyed this thread very much. I’m a writer and would love to interview anybody who grew up near the Jefferson L train between 1977-1995. I’ve done quite a bit of research and interviews with my neighbors, but every bit helps. I’m also looking for anybody who graduated from BHS between 1980-84:
gnarlyheadache @ gmail.com


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