In the Brooklyn neighborhood of Sheepshead Bay, one grid-defiant road runs askew to the grid, connecting Gravesend Neck Road to the bay. Its route follows an obscure stream that used to cause flooding in the area.
As seen in this 1933 photo from the NYPL Digital Collections, a heavy downpour brought Squan Creek back to the surface. Above is the intersection of East 11th Street and Avenue Y where the creek’s course flowed until the early 20th century as urbanization covered the stream.
You may have noticed that in the course (pun intended) of my research, I am particularly fascinated with the sources of streams. For this week’s selected photo, the head of Coney Island Creek appears for the first time, at Shell Road and Belt Parkway. Prior to 1936, it didn’t have a head as it was an inlet separating Coney Island from the mainland of Brooklyn.
The photo was taken on November 13, 1936 and can be found in the NYPL Collection. Funding for this bulkhead project was provided by the WPA as a Depression-period public works project. Although nearly a mile of Coney Island Creek has been filled and Coney is no longer a true island, in many ways it still feels like one. Continue reading