MYRTLE AVENUE AT JAY STREET, 1971

by Kevin Walsh

Bill Newkirk of Newkirk Images sent this photo over of Myrtle Avenue at Jay Street looking east. Just about everything in this photo except the building on the left, #88 Myrtle, has been torn down as the area was redeveloped in the 1980s as MetroTech, a sprawling business office/retail/restaurant complex; Myrtle Avenue itself was turned into a pedestrian mall east as far as Duffield Street.

Of course from 1888 to 1969, Myrtle Avenue was shrouded by the Myrtle Avenue Elevated, which until the 1940s continued west and north to cross the Brooklyn Bridge. You can still see signals of the recent el inclusing a pair of stumps that used to be pillars holding up the el ironwork. Dwarf versions of Donald Deskey lampposts, short enough to fit under the el, were still in place.

Mullins Furniture, once a busy chain in Brooklyn, is on the right side of the photo, and a painted ad for another business can be seen on the left. A GM fishbowl bus introduced around 1960 plies its route. On the right is a standalone phone booth. In 1971, many of these still had actual phone books but as the 1970s went along, the local youth would vandalize them so much that NY Telephone stopped including them.

That’s the way it was in what was then a sleepy outpost in 1971, the year I began high school.

Check out the ForgottenBook,┬átake a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”

5/20/19

4 comments

Patrick May 21, 2019 - 3:39 am

My bearings may be off a little but I thought the building on the left is the Rogers Hall building of Polytech Institute of Brooklyn (Now NYU Tandon) and former razor blade factory at 333 Jay Street. Think the well known Sid’s hardware would have been to the right, on Jay out of the picture. Don’t have much recollection of anything of interest to college kids on Myrtle but remember the Poly student center (should have been landmarked) that used to be on Bridge Street between Myrtle and Tillary. Great memories from the early/middle ’80s

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John Shea May 21, 2019 - 8:46 pm

That is Rogers Hall to the left and Sids was to the right. I attended Poly in the late 60s and remember seeing the elevated trains thru the third floor windows.

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Tony M May 21, 2019 - 9:09 pm

We left Brooklyn in ’63. I remember the D train ride from Yankee Stadium to Jay St., then the walk up Myrtle Ave. (or the el ride if weather was bad) to Clermont Ave. to grandma’s apartment. Thanks for the happy memory.

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Patrick May 24, 2019 - 4:14 am

Apparently, I need to correct myself. The Student Center and former First Free Congregational Church still stands on Bridge Street! Great building with rich history. Worth a post!

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