Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Park Slope YMCA
Address: 357 9th Street
Cross Streets: 5th and 6th avenues
Neighborhood: South Slope
Year Built: 1925-27
Architectural Style: Neo-Georgian
Architect: Unknown, perhaps Trowbridge & Ackerman
Other Buildings by Architect: Hanson Place YMCA
The story: The YMCA of Brooklyn has a long and interesting history. The Young Men’s Christian Association started in London in 1844, as a religious ministry to young men, especially sailors, of any social class, alone and friendless in the big city. They had a place to meet, engage in Bible Study, and keep off the dangerous streets of London. The idea rapidly spread to other cities and other countries. The first Brooklyn YMCA was established in 1853, and by 1866, they had their own building on Fulton Street, near Gallatin Place. That was too small in no time, and a new building, the first Y to have an indoor pool, was built further down Fulton, near Bond.
More branches soon opened up in Brooklyn. In the Park Slope neighborhood, the organization purchased a mansion at 357 9th Street in 1891, and opened the Park Slope Branch of the Y.M.C.A. Because this was both a religious and recreational facility, there were lecture rooms and an auditorium space, as well as rooms for gymnastics and sports. There was also space to board a few young men. It was the Young Men’s Association, so there were no female members, they had their own Young Women’s Christian Association. (more…)