Photo of the Week

Among the public beaches of Brooklyn, Plumb Beach is the least known, tucked behind the dunes on the eastbound Belt Parkway between exits 9 and 11. The beach was once an island, separated from mainland Brooklyn by Hog Creek.

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This week’s selected photo was taken by prolific city photographer Percy Loomis Sperr and found in the NYPL Digital Collections. It shows a footbridge connecting the mainland with Plumb Beach but the tide is low enough to render the bridge redundant. It led to an independent-spirited squatter community that was razed in the 1930s to make way for Belt Parkway. Continue reading

Marine Park’s Olympic Design

Among the waterways of southern Brooklyn, Gerritsen Creek has the most naturalistic appearance, lacking the waterfront mansions of nearby Mill Basin and  docks of Sheepshead Bay. It is a remnant of a much longer creek that had a tidal mill on it until 1935. At the time, there were discussions taking place on the redesign of the park. One of the designs was submitted to the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics design competition.

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Charles Downing Lay‘s design for the park won the Silver Medal in the art exhibition, but as far as actual construction, it never materialized beyond the planning phase. Continue reading

Photo of the Week

Among the trusted sources that I’ve found in the course of research for my book is Brooklyn historian Joseph Ditta, whose Gravesend Gazette blog offers details on the history of southern Brooklyn. From his collection, here’s this week’s selected photo.

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The colonial saltbox structure is Gerritsen’s Mill on Gerritsen’s Creek in present-day Marine Park. At the time of its destruction on September 4, 1935, it was believed to be the oldest tidal mill the country.  Continue reading