CLOVE ROAD, Crown Heights

by Kevin Walsh

There’s on odd little alley running between Empire Boulevard and Montgomery Street just east of Nostrand Avenue called Clove Road. Its only intersection is with a short piece of Malbone Street that was left over from when the street was straightened many decades ago; most of the street was renamed Empire Boulevard after the so-called Malbone Street Wreck in November 1918, in which an entire train consist was destroyed and a number of people killed after an inexperienced motorman, a novice running the train because of a strike, took a curve way too fast.

Clove Road is a remnant of a colonial-era road system that existed in Brooklyn before the farms were divided into lots, paved over and the prevailing grid built. Old Clove Road formerly ran south from Jamaica Plank Road (Fulton Street, in its present straightened form), meandering southeast to about today’s Empire Boulevard, where it became Canarsie Road, later Canarsie Avenue, which continued southeast along the west side of Holy Cross Cemetery. It then turned east along today’s Cortelyou Road, entering Canarsie and running past the historic Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House. Clove Road takes its name from the Dutch “kloven” meaning “cleft” and thus was originally a road that ran in a valley between two hills — Clove Road in Staten Island is a much larger example and there, the hills are still intact. They’ve been leveled here.

I get into much more detail about this old road on this FNY page.

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



Andy August 14, 2020 - 7:45 am

The Malbone Street subway wreck occurred November 1, 1918, at the Prospect Park Station on today’s B, Q, and Franklin Shuttle routes. According to noted transit historian Brian Cudahy, 93 people were killed, by far the worst mass transit accident in US history. The second-worst NYC subway disaster occurred August 24, 1928, at the IRT Times Square Station, when a malfunctioning switch caused a train to derail and resulted in 16 deaths.

Edward August 15, 2020 - 6:56 pm

Much of Clove Rd. has long been built over, but if you know where to look, some remnants (angled building walls, wide spaces between buildings, that telltale driveway or parking lot) can still be found in Flatbush and Crown Heights.

JimmyC August 23, 2020 - 3:10 pm

I had forgotten all about this stub! As a grade school student at nearby PS 161 I “saw” it and wondered why it was so short but otherwise paid it no mind.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.