Zone 4
Crescent and Hemlock, North of Atlantic

Crescent was known as Cypress Avenue prior to 1887.


Click on thumbnails to enlarge

> Cypress Pool, 1961-2
Situated on Jamaica Avenue between Crescent anf Hemlock was the Cypress Pool, a neighborhood fixture. A huge gold star to Cynthia Rongione for digging up not only a photo of the Cypress pool, but a gem as well, showing a smooth(?) high dive in action and the Cypress Hills Station in the background.The Cypress Pool now has its own page with a lot more pictures and history which can be found here.
Two images relating to the Cypress Hills Roller rink.The badge on the right is from the early 1940s, the ticket from 1935. The building is still standing, it is now a warehouse. It was owned by the Cypress Pool Co., and opened at the same time in 1929. See the Pool page for more details.
Original Cypress Hills Station
Up to 1918, the Cypress Hills station was the last stop of the 'Jamaica' Line (then known as the Cypress Hills Line.) The map on the right is part of a BMT line map from 1912, showing the end of the line. Thanks to Neil Sullivan for this shot and the ones below, from "Tracks of New York 2". BMT map portion from the nycsubway.org site.
Original Cypress Hills Station
The first shot is a closeup; passengers disembarked on the north side of Jamaica. The second shot is looking north towards the last stop. Note the tracks curving to the right. This lead to a ramp that brought the train down to ground level, where the car would continue down Jamaica via trolley wire. This was circa 1903, and the ramp led down to where the Cypress Pool was to be built.
Development Maps, 1893, 1905
The proof lies in the development maps for the area. The second map, from 1905, shows the tracks coming right through the area of the pool. The 1893 map on the left shows the area before the tracks came through. Some things to note; Etna Street did not pass thru in 1893. On the lot was a structure called a "Hot House", which is a greenhouse. The toll booth still stood on the map (see below), it came down in 1897. Jamaica Ave. was called Jamaica Turnpike then.
Crescent Street ramp
The 1916 image on the left is a rare view of the turnoff to the ramp. The view is north, looking across Etna Street. I was surprised to see the structure still there in 1916. On the right, a view of the ramp in 1903 with a train heading down towards Jamaica Avenue.
Jamaica and Crescent
The first shot from Neil dates roughly from the 40s or 50s. The pool would have existed then but is not visible. On the right is the 1941 tax photo from Tim O'Reilly. The view is west of Crescent; Werner and Acker Florists is visible and to the right, the famous Showboat catering hall. Visit the Showboat page to see more on this location and hall.
Jamaica and Crescent
Neil Sullivan's 2006 photo looking straight south down Crescent from Cypress Hills cemetery shows the original support structure. On the right, my 2007 photo shows a new support has been added. Roger Tanner informed me that the curved portions of the track had to be fixed every year due to lack of proper support.
Toll Gate, Jamaica Plank Road, 1895
Jamaica Ave. was once known as Jamaica Plank Road, because the road was literally a set of wooden planks, set down in 1807, prior to the days of automobiles. The company that maintained this road was permitted to collect tolls. This one was on Jamaica by Hemlock. The right side of that structure is actually living quarters, and more than one child was born to the family of the gatekeeper there. The tolls were eliminated and the tollboth removed in 1897.
Jamaica and Hemlock, 1923
Across from the tollboth above was S. Platt Nichols blacksmith shop. The building was still standing in these 1923 photos, but apparently was gone by 1929.
Captain Jack Haggerty's Dog Training School
Almost 4 years ago Judy (Close) Gallagher brought to my attention the passing of Jack Haggerty, the famous dog trainer for television and Hollywood (for instance, Eddie on the the show Frasier.) Judy recalled one of his schools was on Crescent Street; " ..there was a Captain Haggerty's Dog Training School, or maybe it was called Tri-State Dog Training School on Crescent Street, on the east side, near to Jamaica Avenue, as the train crawled up Crescent to Cypress Hills stop on the J line. Especially from the train looking down, you could see the Cypress Pool and the dog pens for Captain Haggerty's place. This was in the early through late 1960s, when crime was on the rise, after all the assassinations, and storefronts put on the locked gates." Rod Maggio had told me he sold the school to Larry Ferder in 1972. Ferder's specialty was Rottweilers, trained as guard dogs. On the right is a shot from the 1980s which I believe is of the school on the far right.
We're now looking at the southeast corner of Danforth and Crescent Streets in 1923. In 1909 the Shaw Hotel, which had been located on Elderts Lane and Jamaica Avenue, was sawn in half to make two houses, which were placed at either end of Danforth Street. The one off Hemlock Street is still standing, but the one pictured here is gone. Tom Pettus, who grew up on Danforth Street, was able to give us some background; "I lived on Danforth St. since my birth in 1956 and as long as I can remember back there was never a house on the west corner. It was always referred to as "the lot". and was a place for kids to play among the bricks and broken glass. It seemed huge at the time and was a great place for carpet gun wars....Circa 1957 an interracial, black man & white woman, moved into the house on the west end on Danforth St. Soon after it was burned to the ground and the speculation was arson pointing toward residents of Crescent St. I don't know if any of this was ever proven but the fire was certain."
Crescent Place, East New York
Dated:1921 Maker: Commercial Art Post Card Co. Status: Own(BG)
OK, a bit of trivia. It's no longer called Crescent Place. Anyone know where this is? Neil supplied the 2006 photo.
Moving all the way back down to Fulton Street, this is the famous "el" curve as the J train turns north along Crescent Ave. In the 1941 tax photo supplied by Tim O'Reilly, you can practically hear the squealing of the train wheels on the curve. Mellor's advertises that it has served Cypress Hills "since 1896" but not necessarily at this spot. Note even in the 1925 photo below, a drug store has always sat in this location!
The northeast corner of Fulton and Crescent, in 1925. It was originally the Lafayette Hotel from 1872-1902, then Starks Old Roadhouse. Damaged by fire in 1922. The building there today was built in 1932. On the right hand side of the photo you can see the marquee for the Adelphi Theater, a silent film house which opened in 1914. It was renovated and renamed the Gem Theater around 1939. The Gem was torn down in 1955.
Gem Theater, 1950
Roger Hulslander earns an East New York Project gold star, turning up a "gem" of a photo. A color slide taken on June 6, 1950 it is our first photo of the Gem Theater. I added an advertising card from 1947.
Service Flag Parade, September 13, 1942
Shots of the Gem Theater are hard to come by, but Peter Stango really came up with a winner- a view down Fulton during a patriot parade. I found the term "Service Flag Parade" was more prevalent during the first World War, but maybe someone can provide more background. Peter Ids the movie titles; "The Great Man's Lady" with Barbara Stanwyck and "Beyond the Blue Horizon". On the right, a bit out of focus, the parade appears to be passing in front of Mellor's under the el.
Service Flag Parade, September 13, 1942
Peter found one more, showing the Honor Roll on the side of the Gem Theater. I believe when Hamburg Savings tore down the theater, the sign was moved onto the Crescent Street side of the bank.
Fulton and Crescent Streets, looking north
I can probably do a page just on this intersection. I used an outtake from our book (the picture is too scratchy) for a view looking north around 1946. Roger Hulslander supplies a similar view from 1985.
Fulton and Crescent Streets, showing Elevator Curve
Maker: Commercial Art Post Card Co.Dated: 1920s Status:Need
All that work to find the Adelphi Theater and Neil Sullivan finds this postcard with a great shot! The view is west from Hemlock. We assume they meant "elevated curve". Neil lined up a 2006 view of the same angle.
Hamburg Savings Bank
Rob Jefferson first reminded us that the bank which replaced the Lafayette Hotel was a Hamburg Savings Bank. Dan Prine sent the 1977 shot of the rooftop sign from the Crescent St. station. Built in 1932, after the Gem closed in 1954 the bank expanded the building; the parking lot seen in the Local Live aerial view is where the Gem used to stand. Hamburg merged with Home Savings in 1987 and in 1990 merged with Greenpoint Savings.
Crescent Avenue Station
From Peter Stango, this 1940s image is of his Uncle Ray, his grandma, and Rita. I had this pegged as the Norwood Avenue station, but Tim O'Reilly correctly ID'd this station. The building in the background on the right sits on the southwest corner of Fulton and Pine, and the view is east.
Hamburg Savings Bank
Of course our book cover features this well-known intersection and Hamburg Savings. Peter Stango relays this story from his mother; "..she said the bank used to be a bar, and then they knocked all that down to build the bank. She said her brother, my uncle Andy used to watch them dig the foundation every morning and was so interested in the bulldozers and stuff he was not going to school. My grandmother finally got a call from the school that he wasn't showing up and found out that's what he was doing every day. "
Michael Savchak sent a story about the streetlight visible on the left; "The streetlight on the corner that is prominent on your cover photo remained as shown up until 1962. One day, I was walking to the Crescent Street station and I noticed a crew from the city replacing the original fixture with a brand new Mercury Vapor light. They had dropped the white glass globe and it was shattered, but they did give me some pieces of the fixture, along with the brochure for the brand new OV-25 streetlight by Westinghouse!"
Hamburg Savings Bank Plaque
Rick Constant reminded me there is a plaque on the west side of the old Hamburg Savings Bank building dedicated to those Cypress Hills residents who gave their lives during WWII. His uncle appears on the plaque; "Eugene E. Constant, Phm1c, KIA June 24, 1945" .
View from the 'crossover'
Dan Prine also sent this 1977 shot of Fulton looking east from the 'crossover', the platform that spanned Fulton St. that allowed people to access the Crescent St. Station from both the north and south side of Fulton St. The same view in the second shot was taken circa 1959 and comes from the Brian Merlis Collection
Hamburg Car Service
Dan Prine sent this 1977 shot of the Hamburg Car Service, located next to Mellor's on the north side of Fulton. I can only guess it was named after the bank. On the right, Dan sent a shot of Andy G., a driver at Hamburg, pictured in front of the Fulton Lounge. Dan recalls Andy had a catchphrase "Here's your chicken dinner" which apparently had a meaning all its own at the Lounge.
Tony and Bill's Candy Store, Fulton and Crescent
Johnny Molloy sent over these shots of the candy store which sat at the bottom of the Crescent Station elevated steps on Fulton Street. Pictured on the left is Tony Russo with Ann Molloy and her children Eddie and Jeannie. The shot was taken circa 1966. Johnny recalls Tony used to work the day and Bill the evening. On the right, inside the store, is Tony with Jeannie Molloy on her graduation around 1974.
South side of Fulton between Crescent and Hemlock
Two long time Cypress Hills establishments were Long's Ice Cream Parlor and Tilotta's (Stuart Jay's) Variety Store. Tim O'Reilly supplied the 1941 tax photo of the south side of Fulton where they were located and noted that the funeral parlor on the left was still there in the 1970s. Judy Close reminded me that Michael Long eventually became a leader of the New York State Conservative party.
Long's
I've "borrowed" this photo from Bobby Gennaro's "City Line" group page on Facebook, to advertise his group and a book that was recently released. Mike Long's son Matt was a firefighter and was seriously injured when struck by a bus. The book The Long Run chronicles his couragous battle to fight back and eventually compete in triathlons. John Riccardi noted that before it was Longs, the place was known as "Adolf and Artie's".
Cypress Hills Rifle Club
Brian found this membership card and we were going to insert it in our book as a joke, but ran out of space. Jeff Behrendt was a member of the club, and he confirmed the location in the 2010 picture on the right . "If you look across the truck on the right side of the picture, you will see a building with a red awning on it. That used to be a liquor store and the entrance to the club was through the sidewalk door in front of the glass window. You went downstairs at that point and walked about 15 to 20 feet and turned right to enter the range. The range went from that point towards Fulton street and approximately 20 feet into the building." I also heard from a Frank Marcia whose father Cosmo was a member of the club in the 1950s along with Joe Albanese. Click on the blurb above to view a 1938 Eagle article.
Roger Hulslander also took a shot of Fulton and Hemlock in 1985, the southwest corner, which I tried to line up with Tim O'Reilly's tax photo shot above. Roger told me the corner real estate office used to be a restaurant.
Southwest corner, Fulton and Crescent 1941
Another tax photo contribution from Tim O'Reilly, Tim recalls the corner store was a Key Food in his day. Rod Maggio noted that Dr. Gillman had an office on Crescent Street and continued to make house calls into the 1990s. Dr. Gillman told Rod he used to work at a family grocery store in his youth and it can be seen in the photo. On the right, a view of the corner looking west in 1985 from Roger Hulslander.
> Adelphi Oval
From the Brian Merlis Archives this image is labeled as "The Adelphi Oval, Fulton and Crescent". I have spoken to archivists at Adelphi who confirmed Adelphi bought land here in 1908 (81 building lots) and a facility was built here which included tennis courts and a track. The Field was dedicated in 1909. They could not find records of the disposition of the land. We do have a map showing the entire area behind the Lafayette Hotel as an athletic field, and we believe the view is east; the buildings in the distance are the back of brick homes facing Railroad (Autumn) Ave. The streets just north, Campus Place and Adler, were built on the site of the old field (Adler was once known as Adelphi Street). The aerial shot on the right outlines the area.
Adelphi Homes Ad
From the Brooklyn Eagle- it appears Adelphi was involved in the development of the land in 1916 according to the ad.
Fulton St. Parade
Another great shot from the Brian Merlis Archives The view is the north side of Fulton between Crescent and Hemlock. The Gem Theater sat right next to the first building pictured on the left. We believe the photo was taken in 1945, perhaps a Memorial Day parade. Thanks to Neil for the 2006 shot. Ruthann Sabon adds; "Can't believe no one has mentioned Miss Helene's dancing school - across the street from Long's ice cream Parlor and Tillotas. Probably 3/4 of the little girls (mine included) in the neighborhood attended her school. (Helene Carstensen) She then moved her school around the corner from the Blessed Sacrament Rectory on Fulton St. She had dance recitals at the end of each year in Franklin K. Lane."
304 Hemlock
Roger Hulslander, who sent in the great shot of the Gem Theater, grew up at 304 Hemlock between 1948 and 1966. His grandfather bought the house back in 1920. On the left is a view of the house in 1965, and on the right a shot he took in 1985.
< 304 Hemlock, 1958
Roger also supplied this shot taken in the yard back in 1958 with his brother Donald and Gail O'Connell. Gail lived over at 311 Hemlock.