The Many Places of Brooklyn
There were so many interesting building, stores, homes and institutions in the borough that have a story to tell.
Here are some of those stories and many photographs of Brooklyn in its heyday. Enjoy your visit down memory lane!
The Coney Island that many of us have known and grew to love in our youth is, without a doubt, one of the world’s most famous seaside attractions. An island less than five miles long and half a mile wide, it has drawn millions upon millions of visitors seeking rest and relaxation for as long as anyone of us can remember.
Who can ever forget
Steeplechase Park, the Cyclone roller coaster, the Wonder Wheel and the
Parachute Jump? Of course, Coney Island did not start out this way ...
Late in the nineteenth century in New York City, a transformation had
begun in earnest. No longer would the immigrant have to live in one of
the many crowded, dilapidated tenements on the Lower East Side of
Manhattan. Advances in bridge building and improvements in the
transportation system provided the immigrant with options not available
to them before. What would occur over the next couple of decades would
change the face of Jewish demographics, and at least for a short period
of time, give the immigrant a chance to pay a lower rent and live in a
more healthy and bucolic environment. Many moved eastward to Brooklyn,
which at that time was not very developed. One of the first areas to
receive an influx of new residents was what would be called Brownsville.
These two sections of Brooklyn were the places where I was born or where my parents grew up, and/or in which I spent the first few years of my life, visiting till the age of thirteen. They were multiethnic areas that housed many businesses that those in the neighborhood and elsewhere went to shop and visit or simply take a casual stroll.
From the Loew's Pitkin movie theatre, to the pushcarts on Blake Avenue, to the stores under the "El" of Livonia Avenue, these streets were vital in the daily lives of the area's denizens. Here you will see various video slideshows of the establishments that lined these streets in 1940, and you will be able to imagine life back then, or reminisce about your attendance here in your youth.
Here you will find old
photographs of former movie theatre houses that once stood in Brooklyn.
There were so many, much more than we would find today. Some were quite
palatial, others were small in size. These edifices were remarkable for
their time. Many had stage shows, vaudeville, some with an orchestra.
Others had contests to draw people to the theatre. Some had a "dish
night," where they would give out a dish to all attendees one night per
week. Others had games where people could win money. And they had
cartoons too! Back in the 1940s, admission to the theatre was less than
one dollar. That was quite a time!
From Abraham Goldfaden and the
open-air stages in gardens of Iasi, Romania, to the Lower East Side of
New York City, the Yiddish theatre expanded throughout the world. At one
point there were a great number of Yiddish theatres in New York City,
but knowing that a part of the burgeoning Jewish population were moving
away from the densely packed tenements of the Lower East Side, the
theatre entrepreneurs, the impresarios, decided to reach out to other
areas of the City, either uptown to The Bronx, or eastward to Kings
County, subsequently the city of Brooklyn. The theatres there too were
packed mostly with Jews, who were looking for some sort of entertainment
after a hard day or week of work. Here we will explore a few of the
theatres that presented Yiddish theatre productions, namely the
Hopkinson, Parkway (formerly the Rolland), and the Liberty theatres ...
Here you will find a listing of
dozens of synagogues that once stood in Brooklyn, New York. For many
years they were populated with many, many denizens of the neighborhood,
most of whom walked alone, or with family members, to synagogue, or
shul, for Shabbat, the many Jewish holidays, or even on a daily basis.
Many Jews felt a strong sense of religion then, and regular attendance
and worship was not unusual. Today, however, with changing demographics
and sentiment, the number of synagogues in these areas have decreased
severely, or been eliminated altogether. Even so, to see photographs of
these many beautiful shuls, big or small, ornate or simple, they served
the community well since the settlement of Jews in these sections of
In her book with the aforementioned title, Brownsville native Sylvia Schildt z"l wrote a lovely book of reminisces of a neighborhood that she remembered so fondly.
It was a neighborhood full of immigrants, most of
whom were Jewish, who were affected by both the good and bad during that
time, whether it be the World Wars, the Cold War, the Brooklyn Dodgers,
or the famed Loew's Pitkin movie house, which she writes about in detail
in one of her chapters that she has permitted us to put online for all
to enjoy. Another chapter deals with the Holocaust and the immigrants
who lived in Brownsville, who survived.
Many of us remember those years where we had our
family seders during Pesakh (Passover). Maybe it was only on the first
night; maybe on the first two. Many of us had our extended family over
for the seder and perhaps cousins or friends. Probably we didn't have
such a large gathering the Pier family (see photograph) had in
1928, but during this time we all came together to celebrate the holiday
. It is traditional for Jewish families to gather on
the first night of Passover (first two nights in Orthodox and
Conservative communities outside the land of Israel) for a special
dinner called a seder. The table is set with the finest china and
silverware to reflect the importance of this meal. During this meal, the
story of the Exodus from Egypt is retold using a special text called the Haggadah ...
The Holocaust Memorial Park is located between Emmons Avenue and Shore Boulevard in the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn. The park was created through the efforts of the Holocaust Memorial Committee with the support of Community leaders and legislators. The park overlooks Sheepshead Bay and provides the visitor with both a lovely view as well as an opportunity for learning and contemplation.
Thousands of names have already been inscribed on many granite
markers that stand in tribute to all those individuals, families and
communities that were so harshly affected during the Holocaust, those who
dedicated themselves to aid those who suffered during this time.
Taken from the historical archives of newspapers, these articles will give you a feel for, and greater insight into the history of Brooklyn and its many parts since the late 1800s.
Reading such articles takes one back in time, often giving the reader a greater perspective, a fuller understanding of the history of Brooklyn, a place where our family might have made their home when Brooklyn was in its heyday.
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