by Kevin Walsh

THOUGH Brooklyn and Manhattan are largely bereft of alleys and dead ends (both boroughs have eradicated many of them in the name of urban renewal), some neighborhoods have more than their fare share. In Brooklyn, Bay Ridge is second only to Canarsie as far as one-block streets and dead ends are concerned. Some are the remains of old farm roads while the majority are the result of real estate developments. Alleys are sometimes created to allow for more housing, as is the case with today’s entry, Barwell Terrace, a pedestrian-only alley on 97th Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues.

The earliest map I can find Barwell Terrace on is the familiar Belcher-Hyde 1929 Brooklyn desk atlas, which I sample frequently (though Historic Map Woreks, which wants you to buy the plate, not sample it, has added an automatic zoom feature when you attempt to do a screen shot. Nonetheless, I got as much as I wanted with this attempt. In 1929, Barwell Terrace was called “Barwell Court”; I’m not sure when Court became Terrace. The street was named for the Barwell Homes Corp., which built the alley in 1926.

Though Bay Ridge has many alleys, Barwell Terrace and Colnial Gardens, at Shore Road and Narrows Avenue, are specifically pedestrian-only as they are accessed only by steps; cars cannot enter at all. According to veteran Bay Ridge researcher Henry Stewart, Pee Wee Reese was a resident while he was playing shortstop for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Hamilton and Lafayette Courts, on 94th Street near 4th Avenue, date from the same era.

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Edward F. November 22, 2022 - 8:41 pm

Similar pedestrian streets can be found in East Flatbush in the1925 Coral Gardens development, bounded by New York and Brooklyn Avenues, and Maple and Midwood Streets. This development consists of three landscaped pedestrian courts, all Florida-themed: Tampa, Palm and Miami Courts. Vehicular access is provided by three rear alleys; homes on the east side of Tampa Court have the rear access on Brooklyn Avenue.

Francis X. Holt November 26, 2022 - 1:19 pm

I haven’t heard Barwell Terrace mentioned in a long time. I was a FDNY Fire Alarm Dispatcher in Brooklyn in the mid-70’s, early 80’s. One of the things dispatchers would do in their very rare quiet times was quiz one another on the location of streets in Brooklyn. Barwell Terrace was a favorite brain-buster in Brooklyn Street Trivia.

Kevin Walsh November 27, 2022 - 2:06 pm

Good thing I wasn’t playing 🙂


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