Pennsylvania Avenue
South of Atlantic


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Pennsylvania Ave and Atlantic Ave.
Two great early shots from the Brian Merlis collection. The first is a view north up Pennsylvania, with the Jamaica El visible in the distance running along Fulton. The second view is south. Both are from 1900. The building on the left is the East New York Savings Bank. The building on the right would become the Metropolitan Life Insurance building. I left the images large so you could enjoy the detail. A sharp eye can see the turret of St. Clements in the distance.
Atlantic Ave.,Looking East from Pennsylvania Ave
Undated circa 1910 Maker:Unk Status:Need

Great postcard view, complemented by a 1938 tax photo shot of the East New York Savings Bank. The entrance to the bank building had been enhanced though we have not pinpointed the date. The new entrance was there as early as 1917.
East New York Savings Bank
Super site contributor Peter Stango noted his Uncle Ray worked for the bank and sent in this shot of his uncle in front of the bank in the 1940s. On the right, Peter's mother's ENY school savings bank book from P.S. 171.
Atlantic and Pennsylvania
Neil Sullivan provided the updated view of the bank, and I inserted an undated aerial view of the intersection, circa 1940, to show the entire intersection of this photo series.
Cor.Pennsylvania and Atlantic Avenues
Dated: 1912 Maker:Wm. Fick Status:Own(BG)

The southwest corner was the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. You can see it in the right of the Shinske card above. Its the same building in the 1900 photo; the clock tower must have been added later. I'm not sure what the label "P.O. Station E" means.Neil Sullivan provided the 2006 view, which shows the clock tower has been removed.
Pennsylvania and Atlantic
This is the northeast corner in this 1930 photo. On the corner stood Joseph Schluchnter's Apollo Hall, a meeting hall and recreation area in the 1870s. Schluchnter owned the entire north side of Atlantic Avenue from Pennsylvania to New Jersey Avenue. Another thanks to Neil for the 2005 photo, showing the U.S. Post Office on the corner today.
A few folks have now identified this 1944 photo as Pennsylvania and Atlantic; Neil supplies the 2006 view. It looks like the tower on the Metlife building is still there but cropped off in the 1944 photo.
On the north side of Atlantic near Pennsylvania stands a building visible not only in the picture above but in the 1900 photo at the top of the page. I grabbed the tax photo simply because the image was clear and investigated it after the fact. It is 2631 Atlantic, it appears to have been built by Herbst and Wiesenbach in 1879. If you look at Neil's 2006 photo above you can see the building is still standing on the right, but the fancy peak is now gone.
I'm cheating a bit as this is north of Atlantic; at 68 Pennsylvania sat the "Tyrian Temple". At the turn of the century, membership in clubs was not only a major pastime, but defined social status. This was a significant meeting hall. The Tyrian Lodge #618 was formed in 1867. This structure was built between 1905 and 1907. This building was sold by the surviving trustees in 1971 to the Prince Hall Second District Association, a division of an African American Masonic Lodge. Now it is the Atlantic Senior Center. Thanks to Monica for the update.
This 1929 shot from the NYPLD archives shows part of the Tyrian Temple and 74 Pennsylvania, which for some time served as the local post office. You can see in the 2006 aerial view from Local Live that both are still standing.
St. Clement's Protestant Episcopal Church
Maker:Souvenir Post Card Co. Dated: 1907 Status: Own (BG)
This congregation was formed around 1888 as an offshoot from Trinity Episcopal on Schenck and Arlington. They won a battle with Trinity to build this church (dedicated on September 21st, 1890) convincing Bishop Littlejohn that Trinity's exclusive rights within ENY were valuable in 1854 when it was a small village but were overprotective by 1890. The land it was built on was owned by John Pitkin's family. The congregation did not last long however, and the church was replaced by a courthouse in 1929.
St. Clement's Protestant Episcopal Church and interior, 1903
Rick Constant's grandfather was a member of the congregation, and he found 2 1903 images taken by the family of the church with a great view of the stained glass windows facing Pennsylvania Avenue.
St. Clement's Protestant Episcopal Church
On the left is a RPPC from 1906. On the right is an image taken in 1928, after the building sits in disrepair, having been sold to be replaced by the courthouse. From the Brian Merlis archives.
26th Ward Branch YMCA,corner Liberty and Pennsylvania
Dated:1907 Maker: Souvenir Post Card Co. Status: Own(RG)
This was the original YMCA for the 26th Ward. Neil Sullivan's sharp eye spotted the roofline in the postcard below and pinpointed the location as the southwest corner, which I have verified on the 1912 Plat maps. It opened Nov. 6, 1893. It was still standing in a 1928 aerial image. By that time the new YMCA on Jamaica Ave. was under construction and this became the headquarters of the Polish Democratic Club of the 22nd Assembly, Brooklyn. Rod Maggio recalls the structure lasted into the 1950s as the Polish Falcon Club, often acting as a catering hall. Rod recalls a fire in the 1950s leading to its demolition, replaced by the "Burger Flame" restaurant.
Pennsylvania Avenue, mid 1950s
Rod's memory proves to be quite sharp. Judy (Rothstein) Zimmer sent in this photo looking across Pennsylvania Avenue from P.S. 173 in 1953. You can see the old YMCA in the background, then the Polish Falcon Nest. Judy recalls the fire; "We were right next door to the Polish Falcons Nest, and I recall the fire that Rod mentioned and evacuating. My parents were not unhappy about it--Saturday nights, the polka music would keep them up until the wee hours. We moved in 1956, so I'd say the fire took place sometime between 1954 and 1956."
To the right in the background is the National City Bank. That's Judy with her parents by their 1949 Plymouth. On the right is an image from Judy circa 1956 showing the courthouse on the northeast corner of Pennsylvania and Liberty Avenues.
The bank in the background of Judy's shot sits on the northwest corner of Pennsylvania and Liberty, seen here in a crummy 1941 tax photo. It was built for the Homestead Bank in 1922, which was eventually taken over by National City Bank (Citibank). it was bought by Jehovah's Witness in 1977 and is currently used as a church. Under the 'History' button is an interesting Brooklyn Eagle article on the bank's opening. On the right, Empire Title as seen in the 1941 tax photo, was located on the east side of Pennsylvania between Liberty and Atlantic and is no longer standing.
Rich Adazzio supplied this 1941 image of 132 Pennsylvania Avenue, right next to the bank. It was the onetime office of his family doctor, Louis Fisher. Richard makes an observation about Pennsylvania Avenue- "My grandfather died young in 1920 – but at the time of his death business was doing well enough that he had a car and a chauffer –my grandmother was a widow @ 28 with 5 children – didn’t speak English and until her death in 1952 – never had to work – supported herself and the children from the real estate properties that she held mortgages on up and down Pennsylvania Ave and from Olive Oil importing –. My mother used to go with grandma to collect the mtg payments from who they considered the ‘rich Jewish’ people who lived in the ‘fancy’ homes on Pennsylvania Ave – guess Pennsylvania Ave was a prestigious address at one time".
Just to drive that point home, I've included this 1941 image of a magnificent home that once sat at 306 Pennsylvania Avenue. It belonged to a lawyer. It is no longer standing, though that small octagonal structure to the left remains.
> Aerial view, 1928
From the back of the "Good Old East New York" publication, the bank itself is circled to orient the viewer to the Penn/Atlantic intersection. The view is south-southeast. One block behind the bank, to the right, you can see the dormers of the YMCA building. You can also see catty corner from the Y the tower of St. Clements, still standing 1928. The large school in the background is P.S. 173, seen below.
Pennsylvania Avenue from Liberty Street
Maker: Wm Fick Date: 1910 Status: Own (BG)
A better view of the corner, first time I have seen Liberty "Street" as opposed to Avenue.
Public School 173, Pennsylvania Ave.
Dated:1923 Maker: P. Miller Status: Own (RG)
Pennsylvania Ave. and Public School No. 173
Dated: 1915 Maker: P. Miller Status: Need
P.S. 173 was built in 1913 and eventually became the William Maxwell Vocational School in 1950. We now have a Maxwell Vocational page devoted to both the history of P.S. 173 and the vocational school.
Pennsylvania Avenue Congregational Church
This was the Congregational Church that sat on the location where 173/Maxwell sits today. The congregation was formed in 1892, and I believe built this structure in 1896. It was a very small congregation, and financial issues forced the sale of the building and the group was dissolved circa 1901. The building was sold to the Lutheran Church of the Reformation who occupied it until they built their permanent home on Barbey Street in 1909.
Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church, Pennsylvania and Glenmore
Neil Sullivan supplied these photos. The building sits on the southeast corner and dates to 1935, though the congregation dates to 1909. Joanne Ahern Kirk was the first to send a picture and some information about the church and 402 and 404 Glenmore, the houses with the onion-dome pediments. "They were acquired in 1949 and after extensive alterations, three dwellings were established. For the Priest, the Choirmaster and the Church Custodian. Provisions were also made for an office, a Church School and a club room for the youth. I can attest to the fact that we had many good times in the youth group that I belonged to back in the late 60's early 70's. "
Sunday School class, 1964
Joanne also supplied this great shot of the Sunday School class from 1964. The view is north from the courtyard towards Glenmore Avenue, with Maxwell Vocational in the background. Joanne IDs;" I am 7th from the right in the second row with the hat on and my Sister, Marsha Elsner is 2nd row from the top - second in from the left with the hat on"
I asked Joanne to fill me on some details of the church at that time; "The Priest's name was Very Rev. George Lukashuk. There were about 250-300 parishioners at the time the photo was taken. There were approximately 60 children registered in the Church School." Joanne lived way over on Jamaica and Logan, and recounts a distinct memory about attending the church; "We would attend Church every Sunday morning along with my Grandmother who never had the patience to wait for the B56 bus. She would have us walk the 25 blocks to save the 15 cents carfare! " Thanks to Joanne and her sister Marsha for the info.
Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church, Christmas play
Richard Woitowitz followed up on Joanne's Sunday School picture (he was in the Sunday School) with shots from a Christmas play put on by the school in the 1960's. Richard explained to me that the church has a huge basement with a stage where the plays would take place.
Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church, Christmas play
Second group of shots from the plays. Richard explained; " The Russian Orthodox denomination is part of the Eastern Orthodox Church, which follows the old Gregorian calender. As such our Christmas plays were in January on or around the 7th of that month."
Temple linas hatzedek v'esras achim
Demetrius Pestun is tracking down all the synagogues for us. Built in 1929, between Sutter and Blake. Transferred over to the Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in 1969.
Thomas Jefferson High School
Located at 400 Pennsylvania Avenue near Dumont Ave. We now have a Thomas Jefferson High School page . They have accumulated a decent following at "Classreport.com" which can be found here. Unfortunately the city has chosen to close it and the last graduating class was in the spring of 2007. Neil Sullivan provided the 2006 shot.
New Lots Talmud Torah
Demetrius Pestun sent over this 2007 shot of the former New Lots Talmud Torah, located on the southwest corner of New Lots Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue. On the right, a 1965 report cad from the school sent over by "Subway Al" Zelazo.
New Lots Talmud Torah Hadassah card
Also from Al, a Hadassah card from 1976.