Calvert Vaux Park, Brooklyn

In the course of its development, the flaw in Brooklyn is that it has large parks such as Prospect Park and Marine Park, and in contrast large neighborhoods without sizable parks such as the ironically-named Borough Park and Midwood.

In an apparent attempt to correct the borough’s shortage of parks, starting with Robert Moses in the 1930s, waterfront parks were built throughout Brooklyn. Problem is that they were built together with highways, ribbons of traffic separating them from neighborhoods.

 vp1.jpg

Once such example is Calvert Vaux Park, built on landfill at a point where Coney Island Creek flows into Gravesend Bay. Continue reading

Advertisements

Harway Avenue, Brooklyn

Among the neighborhood historians whose work I relied on for my book is Joseph Ditta, whose Gravesend Gazette blog preserves the memory of a former municipality that was absorbed into Brooklyn in 1894. He’s asked me in the past to highlight examples of hidden streams within its borders. While researching old drawbridges in the city, I came across this old scene.

harway 1.JPG

It shows a contraption-like crossing for Harway Avenue in Gravesend, found on Page 61 of Engineering Magazine, Volume XXXVII, October 1909. According to the description, it was built a decade earlier, powered by a five-horsepower engine that moved the counterweights atop the crescent rails. They resemble yo-yos. Author T. Kennard Thomson wrote that the avenue crosses Coney Island Creek, but was this really so? 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.

Geritsen 1

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

Indian Pond, Brooklyn

Near the border between the original Kings County towns of Gravesend and New Utrecht was Indian Pond, a long-forgotten waterway located on the site of present-day Seth Low Playground.

The triangular parcel marks the intersection of Stillwell Avenue, Bay Ridge Parkway and Bay Parkway, three major roads that connect distant neighborhoods along their route. A block to the south of the park, Kings Highway begins its long run to the east, starting at Bay Parkway.

Continue reading