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Highs and Loew's of Flatbush history

Flatbush, Brooklyn, was once a Dutch settlement, and for a long time had a sizeable Dutch-American community. The New York Daily News ran an article yesterday about a new book about the history of Flatbush, Brooklyn's Flatbush: Battlefield to Ebbets Field:

New York Daily News - Boroughs - Denis Hamill: Highs and Loew's of Flatbush history: "just page through this marvelous new book and before your eyes a city is born, learns to creep, toddle, run and then explode to life. Flatbush was one of the original six Dutch towns and this special book provides all the glossy maps, drawings, lithographs and photos with a fine condensed history that traces this neighborhood from its first settlers, to the first farmhouses, mansions, modest homes, legendary schools like Erasmus Hall and Brooklyn College, churches, grand boulevards, railroads and iconic theaters like the Albemarle, Kenmore, Flatbush, Rialto and the Loew's Kings - sadly sealed these days, and not even showing the words, never mind any pictures."

"Brenda from Brooklyn" wrote about the same book on Crazy Stable, but from quite a different angle:

Crazy Stable - Journal - My little town: "My Flatbush is Trinidadians, Yuppies, Haitians, Bangladeshis, and the occasional Hasidim on a long stroll from Borough Park. It's roti and Jamaican meat pies and soca music and soccer players. Head east a few blocks, and it's also liquor stores with Lexan shields, African hair-braiding parlors, 99-cent stores, a police 'Impact Zone,' and once-grand Gothic-turreted apartment buildings with prison-style grey steel entry gates and busted mailboxes and buzzers. The Loew's Kings movie palace, where Barbra Streisand was an usherette, is shuttered and rotting; Erasmus Hall, the historic high school with its long list of illustrious alumni, sunk into such dysfunction that the Board of Ed broke it up into 'smaller schools' (which are, I hear, still no great shakes). An aging housing project sits atop the site of Ebbetts Field."

Brooklyn's Flatbush: Battlefield to Ebbets Field, by Brian Merlis and Lee A. Rosenzweig, is available from Brooklyn Collectibles.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks for the link. A bilingual blogger--I'm impressed! (Come to think of it, I've never met anyone Dutch who didn't speak absolutely perfect, seemingly unaccented English. Whereas we are lucky to be able to spell "Dutch" correctly. But I digress.) Anytime you're in Nieuw Amsterdam (spelling?), stop by the CrazyStable and I'll give you a tour of our Dutch farmhouses--we certainly do treasure them, and they've given me a lasting desire to see Holland for myself! So: is it true that 'Flatbush' is a corruption of "Vlact Bosse," (again--spelling?!), or "wooded plain"?

Blogger Henk van Kampen said...

Thanks for the farmhouse tour offer - if I ever get the chance to visit Nieuw Amsterdam I'll take you up on it.

As far as I know, the original Dutch name for Flatbush was Vlacke (or maybe Vlack, but not Vlact) Bos, meaning Flat Wood.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

we lived in a turn of the century farm house in Flatbush, bought in 1953 from the van kampens...


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