About the East New York Project
The East New York Project is a multimedia archive of the history of my childhood neighborhood. In general, it is the area currently referred to as the Highland Park area in Brooklyn, bordered by Atlantic Avenue to the south, Elderts Lane to the East, and Broadway to the West. However we also feature pictures and history south of Atlantic as well. It is intended to be a collaborative effort, and contributions in the form of stories, pictures, and even video are welcome. Use the menu bar above to navigate to areas of interest.
Brian Merlis and I have engaged in a three-year collaboration to produce the largest
and finest book yet in his series of works on Brooklyn neighborhoods. The 336-page hardcover
book contains over 600 black-and-white images and a detailed history of our East New York neighborhood. Based on Brian's
extensive photographic and memorabilia collection, my own resources and research, and
rare maps and images licensed from the municipal archives, libraries, and museums, we
cover the entire neighborhood from the Dutch settlers to today. This limited-edition book (1000 copies) is now available.
Hot off the Press!
A follow-up to our successful East New York book, Brian Merlis and I have collaborated on a book covering the Bushwick and East Williamsburgh section of Brooklyn. This photographic journey takes readers through the early settlement, the German era dominated by the breweries, the arrival of the train lines and subsequent residential development. The post-war decline, the famous blackout, and the current recovery are documented as well. Like the East New York book, every effort was made to cover all the schools and houses of worship which touched the lives of every resident.
November 22- I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Diane Lenz sent me her St. Gabriel's First Grade picture from 1963, and on a timely note passed along her recollection of this day when Sister Rose led all the children into the church to pray for President Kennedy. I was in first grade as well, and recall someone bursting into our classroom in tears to pass the news. Tony Della Croce had just recently sent me some 1940s images of Essex Street, and you can find Diana's picture and Tony's recent contributions on the Essex Street page under Zone 6.
November 3 - Thanks to Tony Della Croce for sending over a shot from the St. Rita's 100th Anniversary celebration. Seen in the picture are Barney and Tony Samartano. Barney of course owned Barney's, on the corner of Essex and Atlantic Avenue, and a number of years ago Tony D. sent a wonderful article about Tony Samartano meeting his future wife there. We've never come up with a picture, so I'm finally going to post the story here.
October 30 - I've returned from traveling and saddened to report the passing of Rev. John G. Huneke. Pastor Huneke served my family's church, Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Barbey Street, for the last 40 years. Also in recent news, St. Rita's celebrated a 100th anniversary and we're looking for some photos of that reunion event. I also made an update to that new Jamaica Avenue page, adding Gerry Carter's reminders of Tommy Gallagher's Golden Glove victory in 1959.
October 11 - I've have requests to build a Jamaica Avenue page over the years, though many pictures can already be found on the individual street pages. I have made an attempt to add new images combined with ones already on the site to forma new Jamaica Avenue page.
October 1- A short while ago Jeff Alexander, a musician, approached me for permission to use a picture from the site for a music video. I directed him to Gloria Galloway, who had submitted pictures of her father playing stoopball on Sunnyside Avenue. Jeff has completed the acoustic version of his project, "Brooklyn in My Bones", and here is a link to the video which is a photo montage of Brooklyn. "Brooklyn in My Bones".
July 27 - It's been a quiet summer; Tom Atanasio sent over some St. Rita's class pictures but otherwise thee have been few new submissions. A few months a go I picked up an estate sale of photographs belonging to a George Hennessey, who lived on Liberty Avenue in the 1940s. Alas, the only picture I could identify of the area is seen on the left. The women are standing across from 476 Grant Avenue, just north of Liberty Avenue. That tailor/furrier in the background is all bricked up today. If anyone knows the family or its descendants, contact me as I would like to give them the this collection some of which dates to the 1920s.
June 11 - Now here is a timely photograph! Richard Nowak sent this image taken in front of 18 Vermont Street on June 14, 1954 - Flag Day. Flag Day commemorates the recognition of our national flag on June 14, 1777. This section of Vermont Street lies north of Jamaica Avenue and is included on our Sunnyside page where we have more images including update images. Steve Rothamel sent over some shots of his parents 1948 wedding at Reformation Church on Barbey Street. Roberta Beary sent over some pix and documents of her parents which can be found on the Blessed Sacrament, P.S. 64, and Franklin K. Lane pages.
May 22 - Heading into Memorial Day and summer I have been working on uploading this classic film footage shot in 1954 by the DiPrisco family. These scenes were taken in Highland Park and I'm happy to say that after obtaining this footage I was able to track down the family and return the original film reels to them. This current version is small, but I am wrestling with my video editing software to create a larger version doesn't generate a huge file size. Click on the image to launch the file.
April 30 - My apologies for all the Guestbook spamming, what a waste of time. It appears the reservoir work will not be finished soon, and now the projection is for the end of summer. On the left is a view of some of the work; at several key locations there will be sitting areas featuring granite benches. They are also building new fences, lighting, paths, etc. that will make it a great walking destination once again. Last month I added a P.S. 76 page , and James Celovsky sent over 3 class pictures from the 1950's as well as his 1961 Class 9-2 picure from P.S. 171. Recently Joann Montgomery had sent me a matchbook cover for the Norwood Grill (Palace) and while doing some research I heard from a Lynette Maheu, whose great-great-grandfather owned the Palace. She shared some memoirs all of which can be found on the Norwood Avenue page.
April 6- Play ball! Baseball has begun, and I finally got around to building a page devoted to Dexter Park. Though it was located in Woodhaven, Dexter Park was closely tied to Brooklyn throughout its history. We also received some contributions for the Blessed Sacrament page; Louis Sarcona sent in a class pic and diploma from 1961, and Linda Feiling Weiss sent in the 1963 graduation program.
March 23 - Quite some time ago Rich Nowak sent this picture of his P.S. 76 1970 kindergarten class, noting the class was held in Temple Sinai's school building a block away. It wasn't until William Davis sent me some interior shots of Temple Sinai that I finally finished new individual pages for both institutions - so we now have pages with more pictures and history on P.S. 76 and Temple Sinai . On the heels of that great historic picture below, Carol Matteo sent a shot of the Showboat and several pictures of St. Rita's, all taken on her wedding day in 1959. Darlene Chapman provides a nice multi-generational flair by IDing herself in 1958 P.S. 65 class photo, then sending one of her son in a 1975 class pic as well as her brother's 171 class picture.A great early post card of Essex Street was found recently and added as well.
March 9 - It would be hard to find anyone alive that could recall this historic site. Distler's Hotel and Brewery was located across from Cypress Hills Cemetery and was torn down in the 1930s to be replaced by Weismantel's Showboat. We dated this image to 1877 because it marks the 15th anniversary of a regiment that was formed in 1862, during the Civil War. Ironically I just found a great 1946 image of the main banquet hall inside the Showboat, so you can find more history and see those images on the Showboat page. Rick Constant sent a cool picture of his Cub Scout pack inside Trinity Episcopal and Richard Moore sent a picture of the girls in his 1961 P.S. 108 class. Anthony LaViola sends over more 1950s images on Pine Street which can be found in Zone 6. Barry Mendelsohn tipped me off to two more stars from Thomas Jefferson which I have added to that page.
Feb 8 - While we batten down for the blizzard I've posted some pix that were sent while I was on the road. Anthony laViola sent over an image of 610 Pine Street, and a 1955 First Holy Communion pic from St. Fortunata, both of which are in Zone 6. Dr. Frances Collato enlightened me about the Glenmore Community House and sent pix which can be found on the Elton/Linwood page under Zone 6, as well as a 1956 graduation program for P.S. 171 under that school's page in Zone 4. Another new contributor, Richie Rittmeyer, sent war-era images of Georgia and Sheffield Avenues by Glenmore Avenue which can be found in Zone 5 and the Georgia Avenue page.
Jan 16 - A Happy New Year to everyone! A short while ago, it was brought to my attention that the underground artist Bill Griffith, creator of the Zippy comic strip, hailed from East New York. This strip, used with his permission, features a drawing of his home on the southeast corner of Hendrix Street and Arlington Avenue in 1949. I have long been collecting information on all those homes along "Doctor's Row", the majestic stretch of Arlington Avenue from Hendrix to Cleveland Street. So I finally got around to putting it together and it can be found on the Arlington Avenue page. Of course if anyone has additional background, drop me a line as I continue to research the subject.
Dec 20 - I was looking for a winter image to send along Christmas wishes when Rick Constant sent over this turn of the century image of Ridgewood Avenue. Taken near his great-grandparent's house on 135 Ridgewood Avenue, my guess is the view is west towards Linwood Street. Rick also supplied great early images of 135 Ridgewood and 101 Linwood Street, both of which can be found on the Linwood Street page. Rick's grandparents attended St. Clement's and he also sent early family pictures of the church which can be found on the Pennsylvania Avenue page. Since we are on early churches, I came across an early postcard view of the original St. Gabriel's, with the rectory (still standing) behind it. That can be found on the Elton-Linwood page in Zone 6. Merry Christmas to everyone!
Dec 14 - There were a few passings noted in the Guestbook and I also want to mention the passing of Ralph Colantuoni on December 11. Mr. Colantuoni was an Assistant Principal of I.S 171 and later Principal of I.S. 271. The family lived around the corner from me on Arlington Avenue, across from the library, and Mr. Colantuoni was a strong supporter of that institution for the neighborhood. He is pictured on the left in the 1970s during the library's re-dedication. He was also a fixture at St. Rita's. Our condolences go out to his family on the loss of this great East New Yorker.
Nov. 25 - Let's go to the movies! I came across a number of old ENY theatre handbills for the Miller, Lyric, Embassy, Kinema and Earl Theatres, and decided to update the information I had uncovered in prior research. In the process I realized I had never posted the Premier and Supreme Theatres on the site so I added those as well. If you don't recall where these moviehouses were located and want to find them on the site, I direct you to our updated index page which lists the key landmarks around ENY and where they can be found on the site. In the meantime I received submissions from Vincent Anello (1956 P.S. 158 class pic, Ashford Street in Zone 5), Michael DePaoli sends over a 1971 St. Michael's graduation pic. Marylu Kelly adds a 1963 St. Michael's class pic.
Nov. 6 - First of all our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the hurricane; though I lost power for the week it was a minor inconvenience compared to what many people faced. Also a big shout out to Tom Atanasio for all his efforts to help and provide information. Ironically the photo here is almost 90 years old, but it looks like images we are seeing today. It is Jamaica Avenue by Jerome Street in 1923 after a huge storm hit New York, leaving downed trees all over. I was midway through an update when the storm hit. Joann Montgomery had sent over a number of pix from the St. Rita's school reunion and I have posted them on the St. Ritas page. Rich Adazzio sent over a 1980s photo of 148 Arlington, a huge house that is no longer standing, so I did some research and put it all on the Arlington Avenue page.
Oct 20 - Bushwick book release event - Brian and I will be at Spoonbill & Sugartown booksellers on Tuesday, October 30 to celebrate the release of the Bushwick book. The venue is located in Williamsburgh at 218 Bedford Avenue. Their website is here.
Oct 17 - We've had some recent school picture submissions, and can always use help IDing the classmates. Anthony LaViola sends in JHS 171 Class 9-2 picture from 1960, as well as the 1955 Confirmation class picture from St. Fortunata (Zone 6). Anthony also sent over a picture in front of 610 Pine Street which can be found in Zone 6 as well. Marylu Howell Kelly sends over both 1966 3rd grade class pictures for St. Michaels , noting that her class included actor Steve Buscemi. Finally, Wendy sends over a 1993 class picture from P.S. 108
Oct 13 -A while back, Mike McGrath sent some Arlington Avenue parade pictures, and identified the band as the Blue Knights of Blessed Sacrament. But he found this circa 1967 image of the Blue Knights and noted the uniforms were different. The view is north on Grant Avenue toward Ridgewood Avenue. On the right is one of the Arlington Avenue photos, maybe someone can ID the band. Mike also sent a great 1941 image of his father's class at St. Malachy's. I found a 1933 image so I did a bit of work updating the St. Malachy's page
Oct 6 - Joey Perrone and Tom Hammond were at the reservoir recently, and were able to grab a number of pictures of the renovation project taking place. After 100 years, its finally getting a new fence, walkways, lighting, benches, and even handicapped access. I placed some of the shots on the Reservoir Page to show the progress. Maybe next spring we can all meet to see the final results!
Sep 13 - OK, I know it's not winter, but it has been a slow summer so when JoAnn LaForte sent over a classic from friend Diane Moore Villaseca I couldn't resist. Diana also sent over a shot of the Norwood Avenue station, and Neal Cassoria sent over class pix from 171 and P.S. 213 (Zone 5).
August 1 - I haven't had much chance to post, but Donald DeGennaro sent over a shot from the Liberty Park reunion from a month ago, and Tim O'Reilly sent over his mother's 1945 P.S. 108 class picture along with some IDs.
July 24 - We have all seen the news of the 7-alarm fire which consumed the old Blue Ridge Farms plant Monday morning. Therese Panariello pointed out to me that there is a Facebook group devoted to Blue Ridge Farms.
June 7 - I'm calling this my 'church' update. I've picked up various materials from ENY churches and have finally gotten around to posting them. This great Fick postcard was just acquired recently showing Reformation Church on Barbey Street. It's a great view of the block, and I believe that is a hitching post for a horse at the bottom of that image. I found a 1943 Easter memorial for Reformation, with an interior and exterior picture, which I have posted on the Reformation page. I also found a 1934 Fair program for Andrew's Methodist and a 1956 copy of The Sylvestrian, a monthly newsletter of St. Sylvester's I have placed with the church in Zone 6. I have also added under Zone 6 an image of St. Lydia's and an anecdote from Lawrence Smith. Finally I added an old postcard and a rare photo of St. Clement's under the Pennsylvania Avenue page.
May 25 - Wishing everyone a happy Memorial Day weekend and it is appropriate that we have a patriotic image to post, courtesy of Peter Stango. It's literally a gem, because it is a view along Fulton Street from Crescent on September 13, 1942 and it features the Gem Theater in the background. It's from a Service Flag Parade and you can find another image of the parade on the Crescent Street page. Anthony Messina supplied us with some 1940s shots of Euclid Park and the surrounding area which can be found in Zone 6. Al Pugliese sent over a 1908 image taken by St. Michael's school which of course can be found on the St. Michael's page.
May 12 - You may have noticed a Fr. Augustine posted in our Guestbook; formerly known as Lorenzo Bilello, St. Rita's class of 1967, Fr. Augustine forwarded over some pix of the nuns who served at St. Rita's in the early 1960s. Those can be seen on our St. Rita's page. Fr. Augustine is seeking some fairly clear photos of Srs. Anthony Miriam and Mary Lidwella. Given that the class of 1967 is holding a reunion, the timing is good and perhaps someone can help! Update - Tony Della Croce and his sister (Sister Mary Serafine, SSND) helped supply some IDs to these images.
May 6 - Its been a long time between updates, but I've been busy working with Brian Merlis on a Bushwick book. Back in January I picked up a series of photographs from Art Huneke taken along Atlantic Avenue around 1940 and I've put those together on a temporary Atlantic Avenue Special page.
Mar 21 - Just a quickie update. Theresa (Badalaty) Yocca sent over her 1972 I.S. 171 Class 8-H picture and that prompted me to investigate the rumor that 171 was closing. It appears that they are moving the 5th grade out of the school (moving to P.S. 7) but it will continue to serve grades 6 through 8. Bill Marino manged to dig up the 'other' 1967 graduating class picture of St. Rita's, so that has been posted on the St. Rita's class pix page.
Mar 3 - I'm playing catch-up on a number of submissions, starting with Joey Perrone, who sent a Cypress Pool shot from the 1940s, and a 1950's shot looking up Essex Street to Fulton. I heard from Sam Leftow, who also lived in the Linden Veteran's houses (he knew them as 'the barracks'.) Sam supplied a couple of pictures of the houses as well as his sister's 1951 P.S. 213 class picture. Those can be found in Zone 5. Vinny Capasso sent over update pictures of a few classic Liberty Avenue spots and St. Rita's and they can be found on the Liberty Avenue pages under Zones 5 and 6. Evelyn Israel sent over shots from the Thomas Jefferson High School 1958 yearbook. Judy Close sent over a copy of the front of a 1962 St. Michael's The Victor, the school newspaper, courtesy of her sister Erin. Judy also noted that in our search for St. Sylvester's history there was a 90th anniversary booklet published so if anyone has a copy we would love scans.
Feb 23 - Who says we can't be artistic? Gloria (Profeta) Gallaway, who had previously sent some great Sunnyside Avenue material, generously shared a series of color slides taken by her father in the 1950s of Highland Park, including this shot of the sun setting on an icy reservoir.. Combined with material sent by one of our Highland Park experts, Ronnie Amerise, you have to visit the Lower, Upper, and Reservoir pages to see the new material. Gloria also sent 2 classic black and white images of the Interboro Parkway taken in the 1950s. That prompted me to gather all the Interboro research I did for the book and create a new Interboro Parkway page
Feb 6 - WAY TO GO GIANTS!! Can't believe they did it again. Today is a Sunnyside Avenue update. The 'mansion' which sits on the southeast corner of Sunnyside and Hendrix Street has been discussed in the past, most notably the dumbwaiter inside, and I recently heard from Fatima (Silvestre) Hawkins, whose family resided there in the 50's and 60s. She supplied some pictures and background, and I added my historical research. We also have shots of the infamous Miller Hill at Sunnyside, courtesy of Gloria (Profeta) Gallaway, and I added some from the Brian Merlis archives.
Feb 2 - I've returned from my usual January travels, and have a lot of catching up to do. Old friend and neighbor Mike Pastore sent me some vintage shots of Ashford Street, and a few P.S. 108 class pix, so I'm kicking off my updates with those. Go Giants!
January 8 - A Happy New Year to everyone. Gloria (Profeta) Gallaway sent over some great ENY shots from the 1950s, this one here giving us the best view yet of the old Tennis Pavilion that stood in the park until the late 1950s. She sent more of Highland Park (Lower Park page). a number from P.S. 108, a 1957 parade shot along Arlington Avenue and even shots of her dad playing stoopball on Sunnyside Avenue .
Dec 21- Wishing everyone a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Dec 13 - My condolences go out to the Figowski family. Officer Peter J. Figowski of the 75th Pct. was killed in the line of duty while responding to a burglary at 25 Pine Street yesterday.
Dec 11 - Some nice images have been sent in by new contributors. Richard Nowak lived on Vermont Street north of Jamaica Avenue, and returned recently to discover a neighbor still there after 40 years! He sent a great color slide from the 1960s which forced me to dig into the archives for a 1923 shot. Those can be found in the Sunnyside section where I cluster that section north of Jamaica Avenue. Rich also sent over a picture of his mother's 1946 graduation class at St. Malachy's. Dennis Hehl sent over some 1960s images by 112 Linwood Street. Lou Ectoras sent over some great class pics from the 1950s at P.S. 108. We also received 2 class pictures from Tony Della Croce's brothers which are on the St. Rita's Class Pictures page.
November 28 - It's Cyber-Monday, so I suppose I should remind everyone we still have copies of the book available and they make a unique gift for friends and family from the old neighborhood. That "old neighborhood" was mentioned in the Times today, in an article about the old New York Press Club's burial section in Cypress Hills Cemetery. I recently received several old pictures for addition to the site. Long-time site supporter Tony Della Croce sent over holiday greetings and a 1948 image of the St. Rita's Altar Boy Society. Thomas Schmidt sent over a 1932 image of his mother's graduation class from St. Michael's. Steve Charleston sent over a 1920 image from the old P.S. 72, along with some great memories of the school from the 1940s. That can be found under Zone 5.
November 16 - Kudos to Tom Hammond for spotting the new entrance to Cypress Hills Cemetery and grabbing a shot for us. Its not an exact replica, but a pretty good acknowledgment of the original entrance, and they deserve credit for bringing it back.
October 30 - Unwelcome snow hit the New York area yesterday, but this snow shot from Kurt Eger was welcome. That's his sister Ursula standing next to the family's Plymouth Fury in 1963, with F. K. Lane in the background. On the right is the familiar "Dawn of Glory" statue in Highland Park. For years the rumor was that Charles Atlas posed for the statue, and now Ronnie Amerise has provided the proof. You have to visit the Lower Highland Park page to see it. We also received images from two new contributors. Evelyn Israel sent material for JHS 149, and for two schools we have not covered, JHS 166 and PS 213. Zevi Isseroff sent history and images for Yeshiva Toras Chaim. You can find all that material under Zone 5
October 14 - I've fallen behind with updates, so while I'm updating the site I constructed an update page with a collection of images I recently acquired which documented the building of the IND line back in 1939. This line eventually replaced the elevated line which ran along Pitkin Avenue. The view here is south down Pennsylvania Avenue from Atlantic Avenue to Liberty Avenue in 1940, as they were recovering the roadway that had been opened up to construct the subway line. For the full series, visit the Update Page.
September 18 - Under the 'Lost ENY' section of the website I have 'lost newspapers'. I've added two more; The East New Yorker issue is from 1980, I am still researching start and end dates. I inserted a number of articles, with references and pictures to the Piels admin building, P.S. 108, P.S. 273, St. Sylvesters, and Franklin K. Lane High School. I've also added some excerpts from The Chat, a Bushwick-based local which was issued from 1900 to about 1945. I've included an amazing article about an attempt to bring the Brooklyn Dodgers to East New York. I also found a 1964 edition of School Bank News, published by the East New York Savings Bank. These can be found on the Lost Newspapers page.
August 21 - Ironically, Therese Panariello tipped me off to a reunion of St. Michael's High School Class of 1976 (see above for details) the same week I acquired a 1967 yearbook for the school. It was very well done, and all the undergraduate classes were photographed as well. I have built a sample page of The St. Michael's Commercial High School for Girls 1967 Yearbook and if anyone would like a specific scan drop me a line .
August 6 - Well I'm sticking with a summer theme, and there's no better way to do that than use a shot of the Cypress Pool. This gem comes from Jack Auld, and it was taken in the early 1930s. I heard from Alison Kaplan Dillworth who told me her family was the first to move into the Linden Veteran Houses back in 1946, and she wasn't exaggerating- I found a the front-page picture from the Eagle and the pictures, articles and her story can be found at the bottom of Zone 5. "Subway Al" Zelaso always has a few gems, and sent over an early shot of Williams Avenue, which prompted me to follow up on a tragic event on Williams Avenue involving Irving Berlin's sister. Check that out on the Williams Avenue page of course. Al also sent a Hadassah card I plaed with the New Lots Talmud Torah on the Pennsylvania Avenue page. Tome Kehoe followed up on a 1956 St. Rita's class picture with not only corrections and more names, but the 1961 graduation picture of the class as well. And if you're on the St. Rita's class pictures page, check out the 1936 picture sent in by Peter Stango .
July 15 - A while back George Kowalczyk sent over information regarding the large number of Polish-owned businesses that surrounded the area around St. John Cantius Church on New Jersey and Blake Avenues. Ironically this flyer is for the business owned by his father and his uncles, Henry and Mickey Golasewski, which was located up on Liberty Avenue off of Bradford. The business ran from about 1953 to 1966. It was not until I received a collection of images from Stephanie Johnsen that I returned to this material. Stephanie's images can be seen on the new New Jersey Avenue page, all around the St. John Cantius area.
July 12 - Here's another summer memory. Vacation Bible School was a two-week program, a couple of hours each morning consisting of arts and crafts, learning a few songs, recess (punchball; hey, this is Brooklyn) and snacks. There would be a little service at the end of the two weeks where the songs would be performed. This program is from the end of the 1967 session. We attended Reformation on Barbey Street but this service was at Arlington Presbyterian on Elton Street. In the program, George Kraus was the Pastor at St. Peters, Rev. Ittner was Arlington Presbyterian and Pastor Messina was from Reformation. I never realized Blessed Sacrament was part of the group, I don't recall them being part of any activities. Maybe someone who attended the Blessed Sacrament program can share some memories.
July 1 - Brian Merlis sent over this great shot of the class of 1936 at St. Sylvesters, which serves as a reminder that the diocese is also closing this school and merging it into the Salve Regina Academy. Bobby "Flash" Gennaro put up a video on YouTube he made on the farewell ceremonies which can be found here. I did some additional research on the school and church and that can be found in Zone 6. Thanks also to Alan Miner, who sent over a 1954 P.S. 171 class pic and a neat 1949 image off the corner of Nichols and Fulton which can be found on the Nichols Avenue page.
June 23 - Summer's here! Things have been quiet so I found an appropriate summer photo. This is Brian Hyland, appearing at the Highland Park YMCA in the 1960s. Brian was from Woodhaven, and attended Franklin K. Lane. His summer hit, "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini" hit #1 on the charts in 1960, and he later followed with "Sealed With a Kiss" which reached #3 in 1962. If you recognize yourself in this photo, or remember the occassion, drop me a line, I would love more background.
May 29 - There haven't been many submissions lately, though Carol Leone sent in an East New York Savings Honors Thrift Class picture from 1951 for her third grade class at P.S. 64, which can be found on that school's page under Zone 6. I did receive one great submission, which prompted research about the odd three-block stretch in Cypress Hills known as O'Brien Place. Why does it exist and where did the name come from? To see the answers, visit the new O'Brien Place page.
May 1 - I hope everyone had a terrific Easter. It's been a little slow on new photo submissions, which is good because I've been busy. I also have some old photos I've been investigating, including a picture of 676 Jamaica Avenue. The picture on the left is how it looks today, pretty bland, but to see what it looked like 100 years ago along with some other old gems and a few submissions visit the May 2011 update page.
Mar 23 - We have a TV alert! Therese brought to my attention that on the Friday night NBC show Who Do You Think You Are? will feature actor Steve Buscemi. Steve lived on Liberty Avenue until he was 8 years old, and there's even a trailer on the NBC website showing Steve driving through ENY. I also discovered another celebrity from ENY, but to find out who it was you must visit the P.S. 149 page. I posted a yearbook from 1951 and new contributor Jimmy "The Pea" Warren supplied material from 1963.
As to the picture on the left, Phil Mastriano has been sending in some beauties and this one is a great timestamp. The view is north along Ashford Street across Fulton Street around 1945. Check out the football helmet, the car, the availability of parking and even the woman curbing her dog. Visit the Ashford Street page and the Essex Street page under Zone 6 to see more great images from Phil. Longtime site contributor Peter Stango sent over a shot from the 1940s in front of the Blessed Sacrament rectory with his uncle and the rectory cook.
Mar 10 - I'm dubbing this my "tips" update, for the tips that people send me about ENY. Several people, most recently Art Piazza, tipped me off that most of "Death Wish 3" was shot in East New York. It's an awful movie, and certainly not ENY's shining moment. Shot in 1985, that's Charles Bronson running around the corner of Hendrix Street and Pitkin Avenue. For a montage of additional screenshots, click here. Al Gavin tipped me off that his dad Al Gavin Sr. grew up at 110 Richmond Street and was in the boxing business for 57 years, working with heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis and with Mickey Ward (the boxer Mark Wahlberg plays in "The Fighter".) Al supplied a link The Cutman for more background. Jack Strauss tipped me off that Ilene Graff, the actress who played Bob Eucker's wife in "Mr. Belvedere", grew up on Wyona Street. Apparently her father was a singer, and I'm trying to get more background. Not so much a tip, but Joe DeBlasi sent over some pix from his group "The Classmates", won the talent show at Franklin K. Lane in 1966. You can find those pictures on the Lane page. I just heard from a Margaret Arnold who informed me that St. Sylvester's School will also be closed and merged into the new Salve Regina at St. Michael's. Speaking of St. Michael's , Phil Mastriano sent another fantastic early photo of his mother's class from about 1915.
Mar 1 - Phil Mastriano sent this great early image of his mother's first communion at St. Michael's, circa 1911. I haven't quite pinpointed the location though I assume it was on the grounds. Phil, who solved a mystery photo for me, also sent in an image on Ashford Street circa 1939. Tony Della Croce sent over an image of Father Manno, who was instrumental in the building of St. Rita's school. I received a image of an early menu from Cordes, a neighborhood favorite, along with a lot of interesting background which can be found on the Norwood Avenue page.
Feb 21 -A little tidbit of ENY-related news in today's Times. In Evergreen Cemetery there is a monument to a number of unidentified victims of the famous Triangle Waistshirt Company fire of 1911. Today the Times reported that Michael Hirsch (pictured at the monument) had identified the last six unidentified victims, all buried at Evergreens Cemetery.
Feb 17 - A quick list of updates. On the back of that sad news from St. Rita's, Tony Della Croce supplied an image from 1952 of the Sisters of Notre Dame who were called there. Maureen (Collins) Heilig sent in her 1960 class pic from 171 along with the names. Vito Messina sent in material from his 1959 East New York Vocational Yearbook. Those images are under their respective school pages in Zones 4 and 6. Rich Adazzio, who always sends in great material and stories, sends in a 1941 tax photo of 262 Cleveland Street (Zone 2) and 132 Pennsylvania Avenue. On the Richmond Street page I added some material and history on the Roberts Numbering Company.
Feb 15 - I'm doing an update shortly, but I received news that St. Rita's school is closing this spring. I had recently received this class of 1946 image from Phil Mastriano, so the timing is ironic. The school will merge with St. Michael's and be renamed Salve Regina Catholic Academy. They will use the St. Michael's building. There is no word on the future of the St. Rita's school building or the parish. Thanks to Therese and Maria DeGennaro for forwarding the info.
Feb 4 - I have returned from traveling, but sad to report I lost my Uncle Rich yesterday. He's pictured on the left in front of Reformation Church on Barbey Street in 1967. A long-time East New Yorker, he was a great source of information about the neighborhood, and he will be missed.
I did some catching up, posting Ray Tuthill's early 1960's pictures of Etna Street , and Jack Auld sent in some more great early photos of the Fanchon Place/Marginal Street area in Zone 1. He also sent a couple relating to Christ Baptist Church on the Hendrix Street page. Charlie O'Berry, a new contributor, sent in a 1967 pic on Hale Avenue and a series of pix that can be found on the St. Rita's page.
Jan 29 - Fortunately for me I've been on the road and missing all these snowstorms hitting the northeast - but Ray Tuthill sent this image in of him and Gary Wahlers digging out in front of 407 Etna Street back in 1961, so I though it was appropriate for the moment.
Jan 16 - A few years back I posted this image taken from a parade in 1942. The location was Pine Street and Sutter Avenue. I've now obtained the entire series from that parade, and have a built a page to display the set. There's a chance someone may remember the event, feel free to drop me a line. Visit the Sutter Parade to see the series.
Jan 10 - Sorry to report that St. Malachy's has been demolished. Tom Hammond has been keeping me posted, and sent this image yesterday of the cleared site.
Dec 31 - History Lesson#3 (No Tim, there will not be a test!) A very Happy New Year to everyone. We finish with a great picture sent to us by Noreen Lavan. I received this several weeks ago and its hard to believe this house was located in Cypress Hills. Known as the Kelly Mansion, Noreen supplied some family history and I added my research to try to uncover the history of the mansion. So if you want to learn about ropewalks, Pine Street before it was Pine Street, and some early Cypress Hills history, visit our Kelly Mansion page.
Dec 28 - While all of us in the tri-state area dig out from this snowstorm, Joann Montgomery sends over a blizzard of 1964 shot looking up Norwood Avenue towards Fulton, with the Norwood Palace in the background. Joann even IDs the crowd; " The little boy is Joseph D'Auria, his Mom Harriet D'Auria,myself on the snow bank , and Margie D'Auria Kavoures holding my hand."
Dec 22 - I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Since I'm on a history kick, I thought I would post a picture of sleigh riders from 1896. This image appeared in a 1951 Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper, along with some neat background. I haven't figured out the specific location yet.
Dec 17 - History lesson#2 - This image comes from Gary Davidson, who still resides on Logan Street. This arbor-style "Heroes" monument was dedicated in Highland Park on Dec 1, 1918 by Mayor Hylan. It contained the names of 600 Queens residents who lost their lives in World War I. We believe this was in the Upper Park. My research also turned up something called "Heroe's Day" which was celebrated in Brooklyn on Sep. 1st of each year, though I'm not sure how long the tradition continued. I'm not sure when this memorial was removed, but I suspect when they dedicated the "Dawn of Glory" statue in the lower park in 1924, this may have been considered redundant.
Dec 10 - History lesson#1 - I've received some photos recently that have triggered a lot of research. This shot came from Howard Rubin. It was taken in front of a drug store on Hegeman and Pennsylvania Avenues around 1942. Howard IDs Murray Finkel, middle - top row, who fought in Anzio and was wounded in southern France. He also IDs Herman Rubin, top row right, who served as a weatherman in the Pacific. It is the signs in the background that intrigued me. "Buy blades now while we have" is a WW II timestamp. "Rent to Read Lending Library" was explained to me by Howard. There was no library down in the New Lots area at that time, so stores would stock popular titles and rent them out. The I.O.W. sign on the left stood for International Order of Workers, a communist -led organization that provided health insurance, mutual benefits and social organization. Howard added; "The IWO, known as the Wobblies was a left wing labor organization, which still has a small membership, according to an article I recently read in the NY Times. It is mostly defunct. They probably had a health plan which that drug store subscribed to. Remember, after WWII the left wing American Labor Party was strong in ENY. They even had a few elected politicians and were very active in the 1948 presidential election by supporting Henry Wallace. I remember a rally was held in Jeff Field, on Pennsylvania Avenue between Livonia and Riverdale Avenues, where Henry Wallace spoke. I would bet that he garnered many votes in the Jewish areas of ENY and Brownsville." Howard also sent additional images of the Sheffield/New Lots area which can be found in Zone 5. Stephen Lorber sent over a P.S. 64 class picture from 1953.
December 4 - I have posted a number of recent contributions. Theresa Libretti-Kernisan (the same Libretti family that owned the typewriter store on Liberty Ave.) sent in her 1976 St. Michael's class pic. William Marino sent in two class photos from St. Rita's, 1962 and 1967. Roger Gapinski sent a batch of 171 photos, including the 1961 class play. Roger Hulslander sent in a 1958 backyard shot from 304 Hemlock, and Peter Stango another great early 1940's shot by Fulton and Pine on the Pine Street page. Phil Gallagher sent over a reunion shot with Mike Long that I posted in Zone 4 next to a 1950's shot of Phil, John Riccardi and their gang.
November 29 - Some of us are old enough to recall the old Fulton Elevated line that ran along Pitkin and Liberty Avenues. I've put together a new photo collection, my research, and even a video clip on a new Fulton Elevated page as part of my "Lost ENY" series.
November 24- I would like to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving. PBS has posted the web project for which I was interviewed, and can be seen on their The City Concealed page.
November 13- RPPC (Real Photo Post Cards) were popular at the turn of the century, before most people had cameras. Since they were not mass produced, they are hard to find but often provide rare images of lesser-photographed buildings. I have created an updated Postcards Page with a number I have collected recently.
Nov 6 - Art Pirozzi tipped me off that it appears they are preparing to demolish St. Malachy's. If anyone is in the area and can grab some pictures (apparently they have raised a plywood wall around the area so it may be difficult to see much). Art sent over the picture on the left.
Nov 1 - I seem to be on a literary run. Those that recall Long's Ice Cream parlor in Cypress Hills might know that Mike Long's son Matt was a firefighter, but suffered horrible injuries one day when struck by a bus. This book is not about Cypress Hills (though it does have a picture of Long's) but describes his courageous battle to recover and eventually compete as a triathlete. All this prompted me to update the Crescent Street page , including a picture of Long's, as well as a number of items (the rifle club, the dog training school, the Hamburg Bank WWII plaque) that have been buried in my research.
Oct 27 - I'm back from a lengthy trip, so for those who sent book orders they are being shipped today, and for those who dropped me notes or tried to contact me, I have catching up to do. In the meantime I'll wish everyone a Happy Halloween, with a picture of me staring out the window from our porch on 120 Ashford Street back in 1963.
Oct 12- Stephen Duer has authored a new book on Cypress Hills Cemetery, which has just become available. Stephen gave me a tour of the Cemetery last May, so I'm giving him a plug and I updated the Cypress Hills Cemetery page with some new images and information I gleaned from his tour.
Oct 9- Danny Blanda to the rescue! ".. the building with the strange writing was the home to the Cosmas and Damiano Society...which ran the feast of the same name at St.Rita....as a kid I always wanted to go in here and take a look at the statues of the saints .....but my mother would tell me it was only for the society members.....Although St Rita's had their own set of statues, the society would use their own for the feast (when the new church was built, the society donated a new set of statues to the church and then the old church statues were used for the feast) When they left this building on Pitkin Ave around 1967, they relocated to a small storefront on the sw corner of Essex and Liberty." Ronnie Amerise added some additional history on the feast; "The feast originated on Glenmore ave and Ashford st., back in the 40's and early 50's. As far back as I can remember, the feast went down from Ashford St. to Essex St. and made a left to the Church. As I recall, the Feast started on Liberty ave in 1953." The St. Rita's page in Zone 6 of course has images of the feast.
Oct 8 - Site fan Tim O'Reilly tipped me off to a great photo collection on the Brooklyn Historical Society website that features the work of David Morrell. There are a number of pictures taken of the neighborhood between 1959-1963. The one on the left has us stumped. The image is too small and the resolution too low to make out the details. The view is the north side of Pitkin Avenue between Elton and Linwood streets in 1963. There is a building with an odd sign on the face, a series of strange symbols and we're wondering if anyone can identify it.
Oct 5- Our condolences go out to Rod Maggio's family. Anthony Ritsua noted his passing in our Guestbook. Rod was an avid fan of the site and supplied me with tons of information about East New York. He will be missed.
Oct 1- This very cool shot comes from Jack Auld. According to Jack, Mondone's Stables were located on the northeast corner of Sheffield Avenue and Fulton Street. Jack sent over some great material of the west end of Jamaica Avenue, so I did a complete overhaul of the Zone 1 page, adding 26 shots. For fun I even added the Lutheran Hospital bill from my birth on the page, but you have to take a guess before you peek. Jack also supplied a series of class photos from P.S. 76, which is on the Wyona Street page.
Sep 21- Alice (Hetherton) Price sent over some images from the 1940s by 228 Etna Street, which can be found on the Etna Street page under Zone 3. Roger Gapinski noted Cub Pack 179 used to meet at the United Presbyterian Church on Etna and Elderts Lane, so on the same page you can find a Cub Den shot and updated material on the church. Alice also sent contributions for the Blessed Sacrament page and a shot of Lincoln Ave. (Zone 4 page). Ronnie Basso sent over shots from the Liberty Park reunion which can be found on our Reunions page.
Sep 10 - I'm calling this a 'fun facts' update. On the left is a view east on Liberty across Jerome, and St. Michael's school is visible on the left. What I circled on the right is 606 Liberty Avenue, and I discovered that actor Steve Buscemi grew up there. On the right, Brian Merlis tipped me off that on Essex Street and Liberty Avenue there is building that has the pre-1887 name for Essex Street (Eldert Street) on the side. Meanwhile, Cathy Reydel tipped me off that you can still see a sign for Fortunoff's on Pennsylvania Avenue down by Livonia Avenue. Thom Henrickson sent in a picture of Cordes from 1963, which can be found on the Norwood Avenue page. Finally, I took a trip to the reservoir today to help PBS on a web project, and I grabbed a number of unique shots which I have posted on the Reservoir page.
Aug 31- John Riccardi, longtime Chestnut Street resident, has filled me in with a lot of great stories I need to get on the site but in the meantime he sent over shots of Chestnut Street from his days. He also sent over a shot of grandfather in the rear of 107 Pine Street, the house with the infamous columns. That led me to post my research and theory on the appearance of those columns on the Pine St. page. Gerry Carter supplied a picture of the Eagles baseball team posing in upper Highland Park in 1962, and from the same year, a picture of him in his baseball uniform on Jamaica Avenue between Logan and Norwood, seen on the Norwood Avenue page.
Aug 19 - Thanks to Mike Biscuiti and Charlie Passantino for sending me pix of the St. Rita's 1960 50th Reunion held recently. Pictured are Mike, Joe Lombardi, Chet Vinci, Tom Ruvulo, and Charlie. Mike also provided a picture of the same group back in 1967 in Germany (along with the story), and that can be found on the Zone 6 page. Hank Rich sent in a great 1945 class shot from JHS 171 which included members of the family that owned Jahn's Ice Cream Parlor and Weismantel's. On the right is my most recent project. These rare postcards of Cypress Hills date to 1910-1915, and we used a whole series of them in the book courtesy of collector Bob Stonehill. Brian Merlis had graciously sent me copies of ones we've never seen, and I added them to some "outtakes" we didn't use in the book to create a new Postcard series.
Aug 11 - A quiet but hot summer, and today I stumble on an article in my local paper about Willie's lemon ices. The author was reminiscing, and yes, he found my site when trying to research it. The article can be found here . Though he didn't credit me, he did respond to my e-mail and it turns out his father grew up on Warwick Street! Small world. On the left is a picture sent by Tom Hammond. He took it very recently from his cell phone to show me they were building volleyball courts in the upper park where the bandstand stood many years ago. While not unraveling the mess made by my computer crash, I've been doing research. Over on Hale Avenue , I posted some research back in June on the location where the old Knights of Columbus building stands- and uncovered what I believe was ENY's first "mobster"- Charles E. Ackron. This guy was a piece of work, and I added that background to the Hale Ave. page. I built a page to hold the research I did on Trinity Episcopal Church and I also built a page to hold my research on the old Weismantel's Showboat on Jamaica Avenue. That page includes a great tax photo and a great image sent in by Peter Stango, and can be found here. Finally, my apologies who anyone who got spammed on our directory list.
July 16 - I received a tip that the actor Vincent Schiavelli lived on Etna Street. Schiavelli (1948-2005), appeared in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Ghost as well many other movies. I did confirm he was born in Brooklyn, but he attended Bishop Loughlin High School so I have no confirmation of any ENY ties.
When Rod Maggio solved one of our mystery pictures, it triggered some research on Euclid Park which I have compiled and placed in Zone 6.
July 11- I managed to find a search engine that covers the Brooklyn Daily Eagle to 1954, and while researching various subjects I stumbled on some images - though the quality is weak they are pretty rare so I put together a page I call the Brooklyn Eagle Special to pull those together. Meanwhile Rod Maggio solved a tough one of our mysteries, visit the Mysteries page to see what he spotted. I'm also enjoying the Willie Mays biography, and they reference to the liquor store pictured below under the May 10 entry. It seems Willie was looking to open a liquor store up in Harlem (where he lived near the Polo Grounds) but couldn't get a liquor license, so they opened the store in Brooklyn with hopes of transfering the liquor license over. That fell through, and the Brooklyn store became a bust for him.
July 8- I hope everyone had a great 4th of July! The new computer finally arrived and I have a lot of catching up to do. Rick Constant had sent this terrific panoramic view looking south towards Jamaica Plank Road in 1892. Those farms in the foreground would all give way to Highland Park, except for the one at the far left which is sitting where National Cemetery is located today. Sharp eyes can spot the Essex St. tollbooth on the Jamaica toll road (it would burn down several years later.) The Stoothoff house, which is still standing, is also visible. To enable a closer view, Click here to see the left-hand side enlarged, and click here to see the right-hand side enlarged.
June 15 - While I'm battling a computer crash, I thought I would post this image sent in by Bernadette (Nicholson) Gill. She's on the right in this 1957 photo with her friend Laurie Marino, on their way to first communion at St. Rita's. We believe the view is looking east down Fulton Street from Shepherd Avenue but maybe someone can confirm that. Bernadette also sent in a 1955 kindergarten class pic from P.S. 108 which I posted on that page.
June 2 - A road trip and a computer crash have set me back a bit, but I have been hearing from a lot of folks so I'm still busy with the site. Peter Stango reminded me about the Knights of Columbus Hall on Jamaica and Hale Avenues, and that set me off on a research binge. The results are all on the Hale Avenue page , and if you scroll to the bottom of that page you will also see a 1909 photo sent over by co-author Brian Merlis. Peter also sent over a 1955 image of his sister in front of Andrews Methodist (Richmond Street page) and a 1992 article on Andrews' entry into the Register of Historic Places (Andrews page under Zone 3.) Rick Constant used to live at 101 Linwood Street, and he sent a 1916 image as well as a view across the street in the 1960s which can be found on the Linwood Street page. A number of people confirmed the Willie Mays story, with Tom Valenza supplying the most details; "Willie Mays visited the Apprigliano family to see their daughter. Sadly, she passed away not too long after the visit. He indeed did show up in a pink Cadillac with a 'Say Hey' license plates. " Tom recalls the house was on Ridgewood, near Logan, but thought it was closer to 1974-75, not 1972. If anyone has more details, drop a note. We've also had a couple of confirmations on the Lena Horne story, apparently she was a neighbor of Lou Alba on Highland Boulevard. Lou, if you're out there we would like to hear from you! Laurie Marino gave me a technical correction on our featured postcard below, you have to click the trivia button so we don't give away the answer. Marylu Howell-Kelly corrected one of our 'mysteries' entries, visit the Mysteries page to see those details.
May 22 - Sorry I cannot be at the Blessed Sacrament Reunion today, but they declined my offer to attend. I wasn't ready for an update, but I found this very cool picture and had to post it. It is circa 1915, and you can try to figure out where it is - the answer is under the trivia button.
May 15- No response yet on our Willie Mays story. I've been working on 2 projects, one of which is my "Lost ENY" series. I've added to the "Lost" Newspapers section, adding a 1944 copy of the City Line Post and a 1948 copy of the East New York Savings Bank's "School Bank News". My second project was a building a page for Highland Park for just the postcards; many of the cards showing the bridge and flower garden are fairly repetitive so I will keep them in one location. I added about 9 card images that were previously unposted. Louis Passantino sent over his I.S. 171 Class 8_L picture from 1972.
May 10- I hope all the mothers out there had a nice Mother's Day, today we are doing a little celebrity research. I found this shot in the Daily News archives, taken Dec. 1, 1954. Willie Mays used to own a liquor store along with teammate Monte Irvin at 556 Pennsylvania Avenue. Frank Calderone recalls Willie once visited a sick girl on Logan Street around 1972, arriving in a pink Cadillac with "Say Hey" license plates. Does anyone else recall this, or better yet, have pictures? I also noted today that Lena Horne passed away. One legend that is that she once lived on Highland Boulevard though I have never been able to verify that. If anyone has insights on these two stories, drop us a line.
May 5 - Richard Woitowitz nailed 2 of our mystery photos, check that page out if you were stumped. Frank Calderone sent a number of contributions for the Blessed Sacrament page, and a shot for our Chestnut Street page. For theater history buffs, I found some early articles on the Warwick Theater I have posted to the Jerome Street page.
April 20 - I have accumulated some submissions where the location is unknown, and I used that as incentive to update the stale Mysteries page. If you recognize the location, drop us a line. Anyone reading the papers will note that Goldman Sachs is in the headlines, for better or worse. Did you know that Lloyd Blankfein, CEO, was a Thomas Jefferson grad? I've created a new Thomas Jefferson High School page which includes a few outtakes we did not use in the book. Zone 3 gets some attention, as Thom Henrickson sends over early photos of 109 Shepherd Avenue, Joey Perrone adds early photos of 175 Essex Street (check out the car!) and Joanne Kirk suppies a pic of 666 Jamaica Ave. (Norwood Ave. page).
April 10 - Richard Woitowitz sent over a treasure trove of pictures. I've created a Hendrix Street page under Zone 5 (south of Atlantic Avenue) to accommodate his pictures from the late 1950s and to raise the trivia question, where does Hendrix Street end? Richard also lived on Wyona Street down by Livonia in the early '60s and those pix can be found on the Zone 5 page.By the 70s Richard was on Lincoln Avenue, and those pix can be found in Zone 4. Jean Kestel sent over an early pic of Hook and Ladder 107 on New Jersey Avenue and I added another historical photo with it in Zone 1. Shelly (Wall) McNamara squeezed in a Franklin K Lane 1954 baby day pic to add to our collection.
Mar 31 - Anyone checking out the New York Times today, in the New York section there is an article about Martin Raskin, who lives on the Upper East Side and maintains a collection of old public school memorabilia including desks, chairs, doorknobs, etc. Some of the material is from his alma mater, P.S. 202 on Hegeman Avenue in East New York.
Mar 29 - It's Easter week, so what's more fitting than a chocolate Easter egg? Marianne (Giugliano) Kobbe sent this, it's from her husband's side of the family. The egg was won from a local candy store, and the view is looking north across Atlantic Avenue around 1940. The Cypress Hills Laundry sat between Euclid Avenue and Pine Street, I know it was there since 1929 but that's all the history I have. I've also created an Evergreens Cemetery page under Zone 1. On the right, "Subway Al" Zelazo adds to our pony collection with a shot of his Aunt Nettie in the 1930s on Williams Avenue. Al also sent in a cool shot of his mother on Williams Avenue, which prompted me to finally generate a Williams Avenue page under Zone 5.