Danish Patriarchs and Victorian Houses: How Ditmas Park Got Its Name

Newkirk Avenue and Argyle Road in 1928. Photo via NYPL


A subsection of the sprawling Flatbush neighborhood, Ditmas Park contains some of the borough’s most unique architecture. A landmark district, Ditmas Park is known for its Victorian-style homes — many complete with generous back yards, sitting on wide, tree-lined streets (indeed, the area was played off as being Iowa in the HBO series Girls).

Cortelyou Road is known for its quaint shops and restaurants, like the flower shop/bar Sycamore and farm-to-table eatery The Farm on Adderley, adding to the area’s small-town feel.

Ditmas Park Brooklyn

Photo by Mary Hautman

As for the nabe’s title, it comes from Jan Jansen Van Ditmarsen Jr., an early settler and Danish patriarch who came to Flatbush in the mid 17th century. Developer and former borough president Lewis H. Pounds named the area for Ditmarsen when he acquired much of the patriarch’s former family land in 1902.

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