Friday, June 25, 2010
Let's see, I stopped for a breather at Flushing Ave. and Broadway, on the border between Williamsburg to the west and Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant to the east. It is probably the busiest point along Broadway; Marcy Ave. tries hard but I don't think it is quite as lively.
Broadway at Flushing Ave.
Broadway near Flushing Ave.
Broadway at Sumner Place near Flushing Ave.
Broadway At Fayette St. near Flushing Ave.
The area stays pretty busy for several more blocks, probably up to around Myrtle Ave, the next most important cross street and the point where the M line breaks away from the J and Z to go out into Bushwick on its way to Middle Village, Queens. Also there are some large housing projects in the area which provide a lot of foot traffic.The Sumner Houses lie right along the Bed-Stuy edge of Broadway.
Broadway at Park Ave. Sumner Houses
I'm going to drop a map in here because I think the layout of the streets along Broadway is interesting. It can be confusing even after you're fairly used to it. At this point Broadway and Bushwick start to parallel each other on the way out toward East New York, with short streets in between like rungs of a ladder.
Sometimes those small streets are continuations of streets coming across Bed-Stuy, like Willoughby Ave. and Hart St.; other streets like Suydam or Ditmars are on their own. And even if a street connects across Broadway the Bushwick side might be half a block away from the Bed-Stuy side, as in Lafayette St. (not on this map). Then you have the avenues coming down out of Bed-Stuy at another angle entirely. It does make things interesting, though there are times when you're never sure exactly which direction you're heading in.
Memorial Wall Paintings at Broadway and Lewis Ave.
At this point the neighborhood is still pretty heavily Latin though it soon changes to a predominantly African-American area as we walk further out.
Broadway near Arion Place
I have to confess that I still don't know as much as I'd like to about the past history of these neighborhoods, except on the most superficial level. I'm fairly sure that a hundred years ago this area was considered, perhaps, what we might call upper middle class.
Broadway at Stuyvesant and Vernon Aves. Former Prudential Bank.
In fact I have a pet theory based just on what I see on my walks that the presence of a good solid bank building marks what was once a good solid middle class neighborhood. I also keep my eyes open for anything that looks to me like the remnants of nicer housing.
Stuyvesant Ave. at Broadway
Stuyvesant Ave. at Broadway
Looking up Kosciuszko St. into Bed-Stuy
And the nearby neighborhood streets seems to get quieter and leafier as you walk further out.
Greene Ave. and Broadway looking into Bushwick
Broadway at Lafayette Ave. toward Bushwick Ave.
You'll see, too, how close Bushwick Ave. and Broadway are; that's the steeple of the Bushwick Reformed Church on Bushwick Ave. that I pictured in my Bushwick posting last summer. That was the avenue of the wealthy German brewers and many Brooklyn professionals at the turn of the century.
Which seems like a good place to stop for the evening. I'm not going to be able to finish this tonight as I thought.
However, a little aside; notice a pattern here anywhere? Four streets next to each other running across Bed-Stuy and Bushwick: Pulaski Street; De Kalb Avenue; Kosciuszko Street; Lafayette Avenue. They are followed by Van Buren Street. I don't know how he sneaked in unless the folks naming the streets were all Democrats. The Little Magician was the first president who was born an American citizen so I guess he does fit in with the Revolutionary War heroes in a way.