Four Sparrow Marsh, Brooklyn

On the western landing of the Mill Basin Bridge on Belt Parkway, one may notice a sizable wetland bound by the highway, Mill Basin, and Flatbush Avenue. It is home to four rare bird species: the Saltmarsh, Song, Swamp, and Savannah sparrows, resulting in its name, the Four Sparrow Marsh.

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With Kings Plaza shopping center to its north and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge to its south, Four Sparrow Marsh has been a contented ground between advocates of commerce and natural preservation.

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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