200 Flushing Avenue Full Circle


We love it when this kind of thing happens! Here’s an email we received earlier this week from a guy who read this recent post about the changes at 200 Flushing Avenue. Great stuff. Thanks for writing in, Rafael.

Dear Mr. Butler,

Though I live in Jackson Heights, Queens, my heart is still in Brooklyn and Fort Greene. I moved to Queens in 1969 when I was 13 years old with my mother. Between 1963 and 1969, I lived at 200 Flushing Avenue, directly across from the Brooklyn Navy Yard. I mention this because the building and cocktail lounge below it have been written about in Brownstoner.

Please let me give you some details from memory. I spent some of the happiest times of my childhood there (hard to believe). When I was growing up, my family lived on the top floor. The apartment had three bedrooms, one living room, a kitchen, a bathtub with lion paws at the four ends (no shower). There was also a smaller room with a corner fire escape facing Washington Avenue. Another family lived on the lower floor. On warm summer nights our terrace was the roof. The Navy Yard was still somewhat active, though it officially closed in 1966. Sailors still lived at the Naval Barracks between Vanderbilt and Clermont Avenues. The barracks has recently been demolished.

When we left in 1969…

…what remained of my family living there stayed until 1977. After that year, it looks like the family downstairs left. The building was abandoned. The area had become a bit dangerous. I went back with a friend in 2007 and noticed the For Sale posted. And of course the infamous Navy Yard Cocktail Lounge was there. I often wondered what would become of 200 Flushing Avenue? One hates to see memories of a childhood place demolished. With Steiner Studios as a neighbor, the area has changed and become better. I am thrilled to read that plans are for a restaurant and residential use of the upper floors. My former home will once again be lived in (wish it were me).

Finally, Alexander Nazaryan wrote an article pointing out that the Navy Yard Cocktail Lounge had probably been there since around 1907. With all due respect, this is not correct. I’m not sure the building was around in 1907. It can’t be that old. Since I lived above the spot, I would know if a lounge was there or not. There was however an Italian restuarant known as Jules and Jimmy’s. Sailors would eat there and employees of the Navy Yard. The restaurant was a family owned business by Jules and Jimmy Constantino (wife and husband). The landlord of the building where either named Goldman or Coleman Brothers. Thanks for taking the time to read my email. I just wanted to share my recollections with you.


Rafael Ocasio

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