ONE BEDFORD AVENUE

by Kevin Walsh

Bedford Avenue is Brooklyn’s longest continuous street that’s not a limited access parkway or expressway, edging out Flatbush Avenue by a few tenths of a mile. I’ve always found it amazing how it links several neighborhoods, many of which have nothing to do with the other except being in Brooklyn: Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, Lefferts Gardens, Flatbush, Midwood, Sheepshead Bay.

Along its length, you could visit, or at least catch sight of, Ebbets Field; the first Sears store opened in 1932; and Manhattan Beach, Coney Island’s eastern neighbor. While trolley routes and buses plied it, it has never been covered by an elevated train.

Like many of NYC’s longest avenues, it’s an amalgam of several different streets linked together. In Williamsburg it was laid out as 4th Street, as one of a series of 12 north-south numbered streets. This was rather confusing because Williamsburg also has a set of North and South numbered streets, divided by… Division Avenue. In the 1880s, those unprefixed numbered streets attained names, as 1st Street became Kent Avenue, 2nd Street became Wythe Avenue, and so on.

The oldest part of Bedford Avenue that has always been known as Bedford Avenue runs from about Flushing Avenue south to the old Town of Flatbush boundary line in today’s Lefferts Gardens. South of that, it was laid out as East 25th Street, and the earliest map I have that shows it as Bedford Avenue from Greenpoint to Sheepshead Bay is this 1922 Hagstrom.

In the above photo, One Bedford, the first address (the last one is in the 4000s) is the triangle building on the right, at Manhattan Avenue, home to Frankel, an Appetizing shop selling Jewish deli treats.

FNY has done a multipart series walking Bedford Avenue. I do it so you don’t have to.

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

4/15/20

8 comments

Renee Neumann April 15, 2020 - 7:06 pm

Thanks, Kevin, for all you´re continuing to do. My heart bleeds for my former hometown and all that you are enduring. Stay well!

Reply
Jo April 17, 2020 - 7:14 pm

I lived on Bedford Avenue, 3249 Bedford Avenue. Thanks for the fun information.

Reply
Andy April 18, 2020 - 2:18 am

So Willamsburgh once had BOTH numbered streets AND north/south numbered streets?

Reply
Kevin Walsh April 18, 2020 - 12:06 pm

Yes…

Reply
Frankie April 18, 2020 - 8:42 pm

I just followed it on Google Maps. You never did say in the article what the length was. Any idea Kevin?

Reply
Kevin Walsh April 19, 2020 - 5:02 pm

I once had it but lost it.

Reply
Alec April 20, 2020 - 8:29 am

According to Wikipedia, Bedford Ave is 10.2 miles long. Flatbush Ave is 9.9 miles.

Reply
Zalman Lev April 20, 2020 - 9:46 am

Approximately 10 1/4 miles from top to bottom.

Reply

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