FLATBUSH TOWN HALL

by Kevin Walsh

Central Flatbush, clustered around Flatbush and Church Avenues, boasts a number of historic buildings in a relatively small area, similar to other originally Dutch Colonial NYC towns like Flushing and Jamaica. You’ll find the Dutch Reformed Church and Erasmus Hall, both from the 18th Century, and other very old homes scattered around. The Loew’s Kings Theatre has been recently fantastically restored and reopened. But here’s one of which you may not have read about.

The enthusiastically rococo, towered building at Bedford and Snyder Avenues is a relic of Flatbush’s status as a town on its own before it was absorbed into the city of Brooklyn in 1894 and then the City of New York in 1898. Flatbush Town Hall was built by John Y. Culyer in 1875 in a style known as Ruskinian Gothic, after John Ruskin, a Victorian critic and writer who championed the Gothic style after visiting Europe in the mid-18th century. Culyer also designed PS 90, which now stood, shockingly neglected, a block away at Church and Bedford until a couple of years ago. After its stint as Town Hall, the building served as the 67th Police Precinct until 1972.

Directly across the street is the former Diplomat Bowl, where I bowled badly in league play from 1976-78. Around the corner is an original Ebinger’s bakery building. There’s plenty to see in Flatbush if you scout around.

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

2/18/21

2 comments

William Mangahas February 18, 2021 - 8:21 am

And on the corner of Bedford and Synder Ave was Lafayette Radio Electronics where I worked on and off between 1968-75. I remember Diplomat Bowl, had lunch there several times when I worked at
Lafayette. Also when the wind was right, the sweet smells wafting from Ebingers Bakery would raise my blood sugar.

Oh, and next door to the old Flatbush Town Hall was the NYPD 67th precinct.

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Edward February 18, 2021 - 9:30 pm

The Town Hall bell once tolled the alarm for the Flatbush Fire Department, the volunteer agency which served the Town of Flatbush before it was absorbed into the City of Brooklyn. A number of the volunteers were absorbed into the Brooklyn Fire Department (BFD) as paid career firefighters; the BFD was in turn absorbed into the FDNY in 1898. The bell was placed on a pedestal in 1916 at the Flatbush Volunteer Firemen’s Association building at 2267 Church Avenue, next to the Post Office, where I believe it still sits today, the building having changed hands a number of times. (The Flatbush Volunteer Firemen’s Association was an organization of former volunteer firefighters from the community)
Another former Town Hall in Brooklyn is the 1873 New Lots Town Hall, on Bradford Street between Atlantic and Fulton. I believe that one is now an apartment building.

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