Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Fun with Maps, Part I: Find That Brooklyn Neighborhood

We found the map below courtesy of Gothamist, which located it on the Brooklyn Properties website. For the handful of you that haven't seen it, we've been meaning to run it for days, because we find it compelling in terms of testing our neighborhood knowledge. How many of these Brooklyn neighborhoods do you? How many could you place on a map? How many of them have you visited? Fun stuff.

Brooklyn Neighborhood Map


Blogger Richard said...

I grew up in Old Mill Basin in the 50s, 60s and 70s, and I never heard anyone call Mill Basin "Mill Island" except historically, before the land was filled in and it actually was an island. What the map calls "Mill Island" is usually called Mill Basin; what the map calls "Mill Basin" is Old Mill Basin (or sometimes, since the mall opened in 1970, Kings Plaza).

Here's a New York Times article from 1991: "If You're Thinking of Living in Mill Basin":

AT about the same time that he discovered the island that bears his name, the Dutch navigator Adrian Block mapped the islands and inlets of what is today the Mill Basin section of Brooklyn.

That was in 1614, 22 years before the Canarsee Indians, who lived there, sold their land (and water) to Dutch settlers, setting the stage for development. It was not long before Jan Martense Schenck put up a house and tide-mills were built to grind grain, giving the area its name.

Before the end of the 17th century, too, legend has it, Capt. Hendrick Schenk, a relative of Jan Martense, befriended the notorious Captain Kidd, giving him an outlet for stolen goods. Other pirates, according to the Canarsie Historical Society, cached their booty there, with some found as recently as the 1920's.

Once part of the town of Nieuw Amersfoort, or Flatlands, Mill Island -- now usually called Mill Basin -- and its neighbor to the north, Old Mill Basin, remained largely a patchwork of islands and wetlands right into this century. Here and there, on the firmer ground of Mill Island, stood squatters' huts, occasional factories and Jan Schenck's farmhouse. (In 1952 the house was dismantled and put into storage. In the 1960's, it was put back together and is now displayed on the fourth floor of the Brooklyn Museum.)

"It was very lonely growing up here," recalls Rose Ferrall, who was born in Old Mill Basin 78 years ago. "I didn't have many friends. We had nanny goats, chickens and tomatoes. There was a big potato farm across the road. Many houses were on stilts and there was water where Avenue U is now."

Mrs. Ferrall still lives in the same frame house her family moved to when she was 3 years old, and her daughter, Paula Ranauro, lives just a few blocks away.

"I've thought of moving to New Jersey," said Mrs. Ranauro, who is president of the Mill Basin Civic Association, "but everything is so convenient here."

Old Mill Basin had its housing boom from the 1920's to the 40's and today the streets are lined with trees and semi-detached frame houses, mostly on 20- by 100-foot lots. The only co-op is the two-story, 340-unit Fillmore Gardens, built in 1954 with a Federal subsidy. Its one-bedroom apartments sell for $70,000 to $75,000, two-bedrooms for $80,000 to $100,000 and three-bedrooms for $90,000 to $115,000.

Avenue U, once a stream, divides the mainly Irish and Italian community of Old Mill Basin, where house prices range from $130,000 to $250,000, from the suburban-like peninsula to the south, known variously as Mill Basin, Mill Island or -- most familiarly -- the Basin, which juts into the eponymous inlet.

The Basin has many houses worth more than $1 million and in that sense is more like nearby communities east of it, such as Bergen Beach and Georgetown, than like its older counterpart, Old Mill Basin. But it has not experienced the widespread problems that have affected both Bergen Beach and Georgetown, where the city is paying to repair sidewalks, sewers and houses damaged by sinking landfill.

The neighborhood's first major development came in the late 40's and early 50's with the building of more than 100 brick bungalows from Mill Avenue to 65th Street. Gerald Fine bought one in 1950 for $12,000 and sold it 10 years later for $24,000.

Such bungalows, on 50- by 100-foot lots, now bring $300,000 to $350,000, according to Arlene Peldman, co-owner of Talk of the Town Realty in Georgetown. More than 20 have been bought and razed in the last seven years, mostly on East 63d to East 65th Street, by people who then built custom homes, costing $750,000 to $950,000, on the sites. Among these is an all-white two-story brick house with an indoor swimming pool.

Waterfront houses eclipse these in cost -- up to $4 million -- and luxury. More than 200 have their own docks and a few have elevators. One, on National Drive, has a six-car garage and on Indiana Place stands a three-story house with an all-glass facade. Such high-profile houses have been built or bought by politicians, restaurateurs, physicians and, reportedly, leaders of organized crime.

In the early 1960's, to accommodate an influx young Jewish families into new split-levels, prefabricated temporary facilities were put up in the schoolyard of P.S. 236 until a new school could be built.

SCHOOLS serving the areas are among the city's best, according to John T. Comer, superintendent of District 22. P.S. 236 has ranked in the top 3 percent in reading and math citywide for the last two decades, said its principal, Irving Rahinsky. For the last three years the school has participated in the Brooklyn Museum's Adopt-a-School program under which several lecturers visit the school and all classes visit the museum.

At P.S. 312, which is neck-and-neck in citywide ranking with P.S. 236, a group of elderly women -- the New York Knits -- give weekly instruction in knitting. P.S. 203, has ranked in the top 10 percent in reading and math citywide. For the last five years the Feld Ballet has had a special relationship with its third-graders, who get to audition for the company's ballet scholarship program. Six to 10 children are chosen each year.

The students at Intermediate School 78 have ranked within the top 12 percent in reading and math citywide for at least 15 years. Students in its sculpture program helped create the base of the Behold Monument, installed at the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta last year.

Some students attend local parochial schools, such as St. Bernard's School, Mary Queen of Heaven and Yeshiva of Crown Heights, which, despite its name, is in Mill Basin. Many students go to South Shore High School in Canarsie, or take advantage of special programs at other Brooklyn high schools, such as Madison, Midwood, Brooklyn Tech or John Dewey.

The 24-year-old Montessori School of Mill Basin, with about 200 children and a staff of 17, offers for $2,800 a year a 10-month session for 2- to 6-year-olds; it also has a six-week summer camp for the same age group.

PARKS include the 6.7-acre triangular Alex Lindower Park at Mill and Strickland Avenues, which recently underwent a $600,000 renovation of its playground, comfort station, ball field and warm-up equipment. Two 2.3-acre parks in Old Mill Basin are James Marshall Power Playground, at Avenue N and Utica Avenue, where adult softball teams compete, and Monsignor Crawford Athletic Field along Avenue U, which has two ballfields (one called Amity) where Little Leaguers gather. The Mill Basin Racquet Club on the Bergen Beach border has eight courts and hourly rates ranging from $22 to $36.

The Mill Basin branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, which has moved five times since opening in a storefront 40 years ago, has stayed at Ralph Avenue and Avenue N for the last 16 years. In addition to having almost 30,000 volumes, it is the meeting place of a knitting club and a chess club.

Also along Avenue N are Italian restaurants like Villa Pasquetti, Pinocchio's and King's; Kar, a popular Chinese restaurant, and Landi's Pork Store, established in 1928, which calls itself the "sausage king."

For moviegoing, residents can choose from the four screens at Kings Plaza, two screens at Georgetown or nine screens at Movies at Sheepshead Bay.

A 15-store shopping strip is along Strickland Avenue and there is a mini-mall on Avenue U and 66th Street. Along Avenue T, in a smaller shopping strip, is the Mill Basin Kosher Deli and Erte gallery.

Mill Basin still has its link to the sea, too. Bergen Beach Yacht Club, chartered in 1901, has 55 members from around the city, and 50 slips that accommodate boats up to 48 feet.

Kings Plaza Shopping Center and Marina, at Flatbush Avenue and Avenue U, was built 21 years ago. There are 130 stores in its 1.1 milion square feet, with a dozen more expected to open. Its marina has 160 slips.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is DUMBO?
Those DUMBO haters from curbed. com board created this map, I bet you.

1:22 PM  
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12:27 PM  

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