Brownstoner takes on Brooklyn history in Nabe Names, a series of briefs on the origins and surprising stories of neighborhood nomenclature.

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Golden City Amusement Park in 1922. The park was razed to make room for the Belt Parkway in 1939. Photo via brooklynpix.com

Deep within the alphabetized grid that characterizes Brooklyn’s southern residential realms, Canarsie is still steeped in the awnings and accents of another era in the borough’s history. (more…)

Photo by Suzanne Spellen

Alhambra Apartments on Nostrand Avenue. Photo by Suzanne Spellen

There’s nothing like a Gilded Age apartment to set the heart racing — or to inspire a swap for one’s first born, as the movie Rosemary’s Baby so famously depicted. That particularly coveted real estate showstopper was located in Manhattan’s Dakota building, home to stars from John Lennon to Lauren Bacall.

But Brooklyn has its grand apartment buildings too. These immense elaborate structures attracted admiration like no others — and they still do today. (more…)

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“The Kouwenhoven Farmhouse, the house that my great grandparents occupied from about 1900 until 1925 when the land was sold to developers and Kings Highway was expanded. The figures on the porch were farm hands.”

An old Dutch farm that once stood in Flatlands is gone but not forgotten. A Brownstoner reader sent in never-before-published family photos and stories of life on the farm circa 1900, when his great-grandfather lived there. (more…)

Brownstoner takes on Brooklyn history in Nabe Names, a series of briefs on the origins and surprising stories of neighborhood nomenclature.

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Flatbush and Church avenues, circa 1918. Photo via Brooklyn Historical Society

Flatbush encompasses a sprawling mass of central Brooklyn, serving as a main artery and residential hub for more than 100,000 Brooklynites as well as being the borough’s literal center. (more…)

Everything ends up here eventually, but Made in Brooklyn is a column exploring native, born-and-bred borough creations.

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At the beginning of the 20th century, a revolution in home cookware was taking American kitchens by storm, with aluminum pots and pans supplanting their unwieldy predecessors: cast iron cookery. But new wares also required new cleaning methods. (more…)

Weeksville Brooklyn History

Imagine being told your entire life that you were not really a citizen of your town or country. Imagine being treated as an inferior, offered only the most menial of jobs, and told to be happy with your lot in life. Imagine being banned from churches, stores and theaters, even cemeteries, because they did not serve “your kind.”

Now imagine finding a town where you were accepted — a town where you were able to build your own home, worship in your own church, buy from stores owned by people like you, and raise and educate your children in a place where they would be welcome. A town where you could reach old age and pass on in dignity and equality.

For Brooklyn’s African-American population in the 19th century, some of whom were recently freed from slavery, this remarkable town was called Weeksville. And it survives today in bits and pieces, some of which now comprise a historic center in present-day Crown Heights. Here is its story. (more…)

Excelsior Brewing Company Bed Stuy

Images via the Brooklyn Public Library

The Excelsior Brewing Company of Bed Stuy was not the best, biggest, or most well known of Brooklyn’s historic breweries, but it did have one of the strangest schemes to survive Prohibition. Unfortunately, Excelsior got caught. (more…)

Jehovah Witness History Brooklyn

The Jehovah’s Witnesses — aka the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society — first came to Brooklyn in 1908, in hopes of having their sermons syndicated in newspapers alongside the writings of the borough’s most famous pastors. It was under the Watchtower’s autocratic second leader, Joseph F. Rutherford, that the religious group truly began practicing the art of Brooklyn real estate.

This is the 100-year story of how the Jehovah’s Witnesses grew to be a global phenomenon and came to own some of Brooklyn’s most valuable properties. (more…)