Essex Street
South of Atlantic

Essex Street was originally known as Eldert Avenue, which can confuse people looking at old maps with the current Elderts Lane.

See Zone 3 for Essex north of Atlantic


Click on thumbnails to enlarge

Atlantic and Essex, 1940
We all remember Willies Lemon Ices a few doors down, but his first location was on the southwest corner of Essex and Atlantic. After Willy moved, this location became Barney's Candy Store. You can find additional shots of Willies on the Atlantic Avenue page.
Phil Mastriano sent these shots, looking north along Essex Street towards Atlantic Avenue in 1955. In the first shot, Phil is pictured with his mother standing next to his "Super 88". Phils IDs Miranda's fruit store in the bckground on the southeast corner. On the right, Phil's brother Ciro and his mother flank Barney Samartano, the "Barney" of Angelo and Barney's Luncheonette on the southwest corner of Atlantic and Essex.
A picture of Barney's has eluded us, but Tony Della Croce sent this article awhile back which appeared in Newsday in 2009.
> 253 Essex St., 1939
From Tony Della Croce; "Here's a shot of 253 Essex Street, the house in which I grew up along with my brothers, Lou, Sal and Mike and my sister, Antoinette (Netty). The building was comprised of six apartments...all of which were occupied by grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.We were completely engulfed by family! The house stands just south of Atlantic Avenue, and is two doors down from Saint Rita's Rectory and Church.Next door is the "William Braun Brush Factory"....it had a neat set of steps at the entrance which were perfect for "stoop ball". Tony's brother Olmo made a return trip in 2007 and snapped a photo of 253 Essex today.
Essex St., 1945
Tony follows up with a shot looking north up Essex towards Atlantic right in front of the William Braun Brush factory, showing the stoop so perfect for stoopball. In the picture are his sister Antoninette, brothers Lou and Sal ("Olmo") and Tony in the front. In the 'Stories' segment he mentions the Liguori Paper Mill in the background, so I inserted the 1939 tax photo of it.
Essex Street
On the steps of the Braun Brush Factory; Dominick Ribaldi, Louis Della Croce, Sal Della Croce, Louis Gelato. On the right a shot in front of 253 Essex taken June 12, 1942; "Grandma, Anthony, Aunt Rose, Lou Gelato, Lou Della Croce."
Essex Street
On the left, 8 years later in September of 1950; "Pictured are Sal, Sadie (my mother), Louis Jr., Lou (my father), Mike and Anthony." On the right, from 1942, is Grandma and Lou Gelato in front of 255 Essex Street. That building is no longer standing, but can be seen in the tax photo above.
Essex Street
One last shot in this series from Tony. "Pictured are my brother, Salvatore Della Croce (on the day of his Confirmation) and Uncle Joe Albano (his Sponsor). The picture was taken next to the steps of the old St. Rita’s Convent on Essex Street . A part of a temporary, wooden World War II Memorial can be seen. On it were listed the names of the men from the parish who were killed in the war. Eventually, a bronze plaque replaced this memorial. The plaque is now affixed to a wall adjacent to the rectory on Shepherd Avenue. "
St. Rita's, Essex St.
There is now a page devoted to St. Rita's, located here. On the left is a 1930 photo showing the original front. Eleanor Deliberti identifies the building to the left as the rectory. Next to that is the Don Bosco house, where CYA (Catholic Youth Association) meetings were held.
Wedding, St. Rita's, 1951
Leonora Licata sent several wedding shots from her aunt Gussie's wedding on July 8, 1951. These two give views of Essex Street so I have placed them here. On the left, her mother Francesca is entering with her paternal grandfather Francesco and the bride to be Aunt Gussie behind her. On the right, the view is south down Essex from within the church gates. Leonora's cousin Pauline is with Uncle Mike Palladino, who was decorated for service with the U.S. navy during World War I.
Essex Street, 1964
Two great color views from Tony Della Croce in 1964. The first is a view south and shows St. Rita's to the left. From Tony, " Louis Robert (baby), Maria Della Croce (baby's mother), Sadie Della Croce (my mother), Louis Della Croce (Maria's husband, my brother). " On the right, a view north- "Sister Mary Serafine (my sister, Antoinette Della Croce), Tony Della Croce, Sal Della Croce (my nephew)...On the far side of Essex Street can be seen the front of 253 Essex (the building in which we lived), (to the right) another apartment house belonging to the Asselta family, and (furthest to the right) the Don Bosco House."
North side of Liberty Ave., east of Essex Street, 1923. Pretty rustic looking shot. The frame house on the left was a blacksmith shop back in 1870. On the right is a shot from 1943 sent in by Phil Santella of himself on Glenmore Ave. between Essex and Linwood.
Essex St, south of Liberty
Lenore Catapano sent over this shot in front of 325 Essex St. in 1954. That's Lenore, sister Fran and cousin Paul in the shot. "We had a big apricot tree in the back and I remember my dad always having us help him pick the apricots. They were delicious!" On the right, an easter shot from 1960 of Marie Fugalli, Marcella Tammero, Kathy, and RoseAnne Fugalli. The view is a little further south down the block, looking east towards 335-337 Essex.
325 Essex St.
Lenore lived at 325 Essex, and this a shot of the front from 1958. Lenore ids left to right, "Little one is Janet Sabatino, Christine Sabatino, Lenore Catapano, Carol Sabatino, Hope Parisi, Francine Catapano". Lenore attended a 1999 reunion and the shot on the right is Lenore with Maria Fugalli and Christine Sabatino. We have more shots of their reunion on the Reunions Page.
432 Essex St.
Roberta Beary sent over this image of her mother standing in front of 432 Essex Street in the 1940s.
New Lots Ave., Looking West From Essex St. and St. Gabriel's Church, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Dated:1910 Maker: Unk Status: Need
This building was the original P.S. 64, moved around 1900 and converted into a church. Marge Bivona recalls receiving her first communion there in 1957. Marge also attended the school from 1958-1964 and confirms it was newly built at the time. Both Marge and Rod Maggio date the new building to 1958.
St. Gabriels 1st grade, 1963
Diana Lenz sent in her first grade picture from 1963, and recalls that when Kennedy was shot Sister Rose led all the students into the church to pray.
St. Gabriels School
Thanks to Marge Bivona for sending over a picture of the school, which faces Essex Street. Marge also sends her 8th grade class graduation picture from 1964. We are still trying to find out if a school pre-dated the 1958 building and the current status. Ed Farrell did provide some insight; "I grew up from 1945 to 1950 living on Linwood Street and Blake Avenue. At the time, St. Gabriel Church was a very small parish staffed by three priests... At the time, the parish was definitely too small to support a school. Children from St. Gabriel's parish went either to St. Rita School or PS 202."
Jim Cichetti adds some details; "In the Fall of 1958 Grades 1 through 6 were started in the brand new school building with a school principal Sister Margaret Joseph. I was in Grade 6 with Sister Ann Walter, and in June 1959 we were promoted to a brand new Grade 7 with Sister Stevens. This process continued in 1960 when Grade 7 was promoted to Grade 8 with Sister Delorese Rosaire, thus finishing the complete range of Grades 1 through 8. We graduated in 1961." Note- my research indicates the school closed in 1974.
Bill "Red" Piazza asks a good question; how far south does East New York extend? "I lived on those streets mentioned below Belmont Ave. We always said it was ENY..However after WW2 people began to say we lived in "New Lots".....Till that time to us it was the name of a street." Bill sends a 1945 photo of Essex all the way down by Stanley Ave. and a picture of himself in 1949 in front of his mother's house at 891 Essex, also by Stanley. Carmine Morra adds; "I was 3 when photo of 891 (my home at that time..) was taken.....don't remember the year of the panel truck parked in front.. But that was my DADS -Thomas Rocco Morra.. He ran a plumbing & heating business& the Ford convertble with the rumble seat was my brothers.....To the left of 891 there is a small house set back. That is where the Ciardi's lived...(don't recall first names at this time).. The other photo of Bill "Red"Piazza c. 1949 at which time I was 9 yrs. of age..The dog in the photo was my dog "Blackie" ... Set back on right side of house were some garages that we stored materials for the business and it was on the roof of one that Bill asked if my dad would give permission for a pigeon coop.. Bill , taught me a lot about ,raising & flying pigeons."