The Brownsville Book Project

Brian Merlis and I (Riccardo Gomes) are embarking on our latest book venture, covering Brooklyn's Brownsville. We are setting up a webpage to make contact with people who have pictures, stories, information, etc. that can aid our efforts to document a neighborhood where so much information has been lost. We would also like to establish a mailing list for those who want to keep in touch and receive updates about the project.

For those who not aware, we have collaborated on three successful prior books, Brooklyn's East New York and Cypress Hills (2010), Brooklyn's Bushwick and East Williamsburgh (2012) and Brooklyn's Historic Greenpoint (2015).

Email me at

Our photographs span Brownsville's history, from the time it was one of the largest Jewish communities in America, through the heavy post-war African-American migration and the failed attempts at urban renewal. We are looking for people who were personally connected to the changes and can offer insights into this unique neighborhood's history.

Click on sample images to enlarge

We are putting together and researching a list of celebrities associated with Brownsville. Chatanow and Schwartz's book Another Time, Another Place lists numerous celebrities but many lived in what is East New York, or just attended Thomas Jefferson High in East New York. We are trying to identify those born and/or raised in Brownsville. To avoid repetition I am posting a "cheat sheet" from their book.

We are also cataloging Brownsville's numerous synagogues (over 150 to date), the history of many having been lost to time. That list is posted here in hopes of digging up more information and background.

97 Amboy Street B'nai Israel of Brownsville
139 Amboy Street Radoshkovichi, Belarus Chevre Torah Anshe Radishkowitz
196 Amboy Street Agudath Achim Anshe Sfard
89 Barret Street Nachlas Hosiah
35 Blake Avenue Kenesseth Israel Beth Jacob
142 Blake Avenue Anshei Steibts
318 Blake Avenue Hassidic Rabbi Stetin
17 Bristol Street Neshvizh, Belarus? Anshe Neshwitz
49 Bristol Street Poale Zedek (Anshe Lomze Benevolent)
113 Bristol Street Beth Abraham
115 Bristol Street Agudath Achim Anshe Homb Tzerougon
215 Bristol Street First Deshower Anshe Sphard
219 Bristol Street Niewesser Old Friends of Brownsville
361 Bristol Street Kiyev, Ukraine Kiever & Homler Congregation
375 Bristol Street Ostrolenka, Poland Ahavath Israel Anshe Ostrolenko
28 Chester Street Anshe Jesierna
31 Chester Street Peilishe Chosidim
123 Chester Street Dokshitsy, Belarus Anshe Dokshitz
167 Chester Street Agudath Achim Anshei Homel
169 Chester Street Nachlath Israel
182 Chester Street Lubaczow, Poland Bikur Cholim Anshei Libishov of Brownsville
324 Chester Street Kol Israel of Brownsville
427 Chester Street Anshe Zedek Nusach Ari
436 Chester Street Chevre T'hillim Kesser Torah Israel
Chester Street & Riverdale Avenue Anshei Zimblin
141 Christopher Avenue Tifereth B'nai Jacob
199 Christopher Avenue Zhitomir, Ukraine Ohel Abraham (Zitomer)
199 Christopher Avenue Hachnosath Orchim Hagadol Tifereth Zion u'Jerusalem
65 Christopher Avenue Chevre B'nai Aaron
100 Christopher Avenue Kol Israel of Brownsville
228 Christopher Avenue Radoshkovichi, Belarus? Achim B'nai Israel Anshei Radish Konitz
349 Christopher Avenue Beth Israel of Brownsville
339 Dumont Avenue Anshe Sphard
403 Dumont Avenue Piotrkow Trybunalski, Poland Anshei Petrikov mi'Brownsville
1458 East New York Avenue Chevre Ahavath Achim
27 Glenmore Avenue B'nai Israel Ossei Torah
135 Glenmore Avenue Israel of Brownsville
137 Glenmore Avenue Gemilas Chesed of Greater New York
78 Grafton Street Linath Hazedek
220 Hegeman Avenue Star of Israel
23 Herzl Street Chevre Machzike Adath Anshe Sphard
23 Herzl Street Zirei Agudath Israel
63 Herzl Street Anshei Chesed of Brooklyn
88 Herzl Street Chevre Chai Odom Anshe Brownsville
216 Herzl Street Russia First Sebelewker Anshe Russia
238 Herzl Street Beth Hamedrash Chadever
493 Herzl Street Piotrkow Trybunalski, Poland Petrikower Anshe Shard of Brownsville
526 Herzl Street Beth Israel
436 Hopkinson Avenue Turov, Belarus Anshe Turover
453 Hopkinson Avenue Adath B'nai Israel
453 Hopkinson Avenue Young Men's Hebrew Leage Misrachi Congregation
521 Hopkinson Avenue Hebrew Ladies Day Nursery Congregation
554 Hopkinson Avenue Society for Hebrew Deaf Congregation
770 Hopkinson Avenue Beth Abraham
857 Hopkinson Avenue Agudas Achim
885 Hopkinson Avenue Ozarichi, Belarus? Anshe Azaritz
Hopkinson Avenue & Sumner Avenue Beth Hifah
Hopkinson Avenue & Sutter Avenue Young Israel of Brownsville
770 Howard Avenue Turov, Belarus Anshei Turov
770 Howard Avenue Chevre Beth Abraham
813 Howard Avenue Brooklyn Hebrew Home & Hospital
403 Legion Street Beth Abraham
305 Lott Avenue Tykocin, Poland? Tiktiver (Tiktiner?) Congregation
309 Lott Avenue Moriah Congregation
144 Newport Street Talmud Torah Ezrath Achim
176 Osborn Street Kol Israel of Brownsville
181 Osborn Street Nemirov, Ukraine Anshei Nemirov
279 Osborn Street Ahenu B'nai Israel Nusach Ashkenaz
305 Osborn Street Bikur Cholim Anshe Sphard
306 Osborn Street Volkovysk, Belarus Adath Walkovisk of Brownsville
314 Osborn Street Anshe Osaretz
315 Osborn Street Kobrin & Antopole, Belarus Gemilath Chasodim Anshei Kobrin
354 Osborn Street Machzikei Torah
461 Osborn Street Austria Gemilath Chasodim Anshei Austria
607 Osborn Street Zhitomir, Ukraine? Anshei Zitower
1794 Pitkin Avenue Adath Israel of Brownsville
1827 Pitkin Avenue Poland Beth Chassidim Anshei Poland
1861 Pitkin Avenue B'nai Israel of Brownsville
1946 Pitkin Avenue Adath Grail of Brownsville
Pitkin Avenue & Douglas Street Anshe Chesed
124 Powell Street Kol Israel of Brownsville
454 Powell Street Young Judah Tifereth Bahurim
460 Powell Street Harav Ez Haim Ein Jacob
462 Powell Street Jewish Center of Young Judah
659 Ralph Avenue Temple Israel
105 Riverdale Avenue Ahavath Achim Anshe Brownsville
217 Riverdale Avenue Zembiner Benevolent Congregation
93 Rockaway Avenue Tifereth Israel Anshe Brownsville
612 Rockaway Avenue Chevre Anshe Sphard Talmud Torah
695 Rockaway Avenue Kohler Brownsville Congregation
337 Sackman Street Beth Hamedrash Hagadol of Brownsville
337 Sackman Street Beth Hamedrash Hagadol of Brownsville
410 Sackman Street Poland Anshei Nemirov
410 Sackman Street Ahavath Achim Anshei Poland
441 Sackman Street Chernigov, Ukraine Chevre Agudath Achim Plech Chernigow
441 Sackman Street Volkovysk, Belarus Adath Wolkowisker of Brownsville
580 Sackman Street Yeshiva Torah mi'Zion
603 Sackman Street Stepina, Poland Anshei Stepiner
700 Sackman Street Beth Israel
760 Sackman Street Talmud Torah Moriah
760 Sackman Street Ahavath v'Achdus Israel
771 Sackman Street Beth Israel of Brownsville
729 Saratoga Avenue
855 Saratoga Avenue Agudath Achim Anshei Harodic
467-471 Stone Avenue Etz Hayim Machzikei Harav Anshei Brownsville
396 Stone Avenue Hebrew Free School
504 Stone Avenue Chevre Agudath Achim Anshei Sheshew
543 Stone Avenue Poland Ahavas Achm Anshei Polin
543 Stone Avenue Kneseth Israel Beth Jacob
600 Stone Avenue Talmud Torah Etz Chayim v'Chevre Ein Jacob
617 Stone Avenue Borisov, Belarus Chevre Anshei Borizov of Brownsville
623 Stone Avenue Yeshiva Torah v'Zion
639 Stone Avenue Talmud Torah Beth Judah
708 Stone Avenue Kobrin, Belarus Agudath Achim Gemiluth Hesed Anshe Kobrin
747 Stone Avenue David Gorodok, Belarus Agudath Achim Anshe David Hurodoch
167 Sutter Avenue David Gorodok, Belarus Agudath Achim Anshei David Hurodoch
267 Sutter Avenue Lomza, Poland Chevre Poalei Zedek Anshei Lomza
403 Sutter Avenue Turov, Belarus? Anshei Turo
451 Sutter Avenue Pitkin Jewish Center
159 Thatford Avenue Chevre Tehillim
175 Thatford Avenue Machzikei Hadas Anshe Sfard
233 Thatford Avenue Kiyev, Ukraine Beth Hakneseth Anshe Kiever-Homler
256 Thatford Avenue Chevre T'hillim Keter Israel
287 Thatford Avenue Meyer Zwi Congregation
135-37 Thatford Avenue Ohav Sholom
195 Watkins Street Lubavichi, USSR? Agudath Achim Anshe Lebowitz
195 Watkins Street Tifereth Israel Nusach Ho'Ari Anshei Brownsville
51 Watkins Street Austria-Hungary First Hungarian Austrian Shaare Tefillah
154 Watkins Street Bikur Cholim Anshei Sphard
195 Watkins Street Lubavichi, USSR? Agudath Achim Anshe Lebowitz
195 Watkins Street Tifereth Israel Nusach Ho'Ari Anshei Brownsville
248 Watkins Street Turov, Belarus Anshe Turow
248 Watkins Street Ein Jacob of Brownsville
369 Watkins Street Chevre Charney Anshe Zedek
391 Watkins Street Krasnosielc, Poland Independent Krasneshitz of Brownsville
391 Watkins Street Stepina, Poland Erste Stepiner Congregation
392 Watkins Street Zembin, Belarus Zembiner Congregation
418 Watkins Street Tifereth Aaron v'Israel
421 Watkins Street Zhitomir, Ukraine Anshe Zhitomer