A New York City neighborhood found in the Brooklyn borough, Flatbush was founded in 1651. The neighborhood was founded by Dutch colonists. Several subsections are found throughout Flatbush and the population is more than 110,000.
Originally, Flatbush was known as the Dutch Nieuw Nederland colony town called Midwout. This was back in 1651 and both the Midwood and the Midwout names were used throughout the Dutch era, along with Flatbush. During the same time, Midwood was settled to the south of Brooklyn College and was often called Flatbush.
Along with 5 other towns, Flatbush became a part of what was known as Kings County. It was all surrendered to the English in 1664. Flatbush was the county seat of Kings County and the center of life during the earlier years. The center of Flatbush was found as the modern-day intersection of Church Avenue and Flatbush Avenue. There's still an old Dutch Reformed Church here and Erasmus Hall, which is the oldest high school in New York City.
During the American Revolution, Flatbush was a key player with many battles fought nearby. David Mathews was one of the loyalist residents of Flatbush and a Mayor of New York City. He lived on the intersection of today's' Parkside Avenue and Flatbush Avenue.
After Flatbush was consolidated into the City of Greater New York in 1898, farming and Dutch merchants still had quite a bit of influence in the area. This move also made Flatbush a suburb of the city.
Before the City of Brooklyn was incorporated in 1894, Flatbush was defined as more than just the Town of Flatbush. It also included a large amount of land in central Kings County that extended all the way to Queens County and it also included the Village of Flatbush. The Marine Park and Flatlands neighborhoods still have some early Dutch structures.
Flatbush has a large population of Jews, Italian-Americans, and Irish-Americans in the first half of the 20th century. Just as it is today, it's a working-class neighborhood. Many residents in Flatbush followed the Brooklyn Dodgers as they were actually a team found in Flatbush, not just Brooklyn. Duke Snyder, the centerfielder for the Dodgers was called "the Duke of Flatbush'. However, the Dodgers left in 1958 and Ebbets Field was torn down. Today, where Ebbets Field was would actually be considered Crown Heights due to the neighborhood boundaries shifting.
The 1970s and early 1980s saw Flatbush shift in demographics from mostly Jewish, Irish and Italian to mostly Caribbean. In addition, some affluent areas started to pop up including Prospect Park South It became home to many doctors on Parkside Avenue.
By the mid-1980s, the neighborhood started to see several abandoned or semi-abandoned buildings throughout the community. Many apartment houses fell into a state of disrepair and many of the affluent residents left the neighborhood. The neighborhood started to become a home for lower-income immigrants.
A part of Flatbush is the southernmost area of Prospect Park.
The neighborhood goes all the way to the old Brooklyn City Line, which is just north of the Sothern edges of Prospect Park. This southern border is just about on the line of the Long Island Rails Road's Bay Bridge Branch. The eastern border of Flatbush is roughly at New York Avenue and the western border is Coney Island Avenue.
Several neighborhoods are found within Flatbush, along with planned communities. The planned communities and neighborhoods include:
• Prospect Park South
• Beverley Square East
• Beverley Square West
• Ditmas Park
• Lefferts Gardens
• Fiske Terrace
• Albemarle-Kenmore Terrace
• Victorian Flatbush
Crown Heights is found to the north of Flatbush, along with the former neighborhood called Pigtown. East Flatbush is found to the east and Parkville and Kensington are both found to the West. Midwood is found to the south and many believe it to be a part of Flatbush. However, it was historically a part of Gravesend, Flatlands, and New Utrecht, not Flatbush.
Flatbush includes several notable institutions, such as:
• Erasmus Hall High School
• Flatbush Dutch Reformed Church
• Ebbets Field (was demolished in 1960)
• Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin
• Mirrer Yeshiva
• Brooklyn College
Ebbets Field used to be the home of the Brooklyn Dodgers and due to boundaries of the neighborhood shifting; it would have been a part of modern-day Crown Heights.
Originally, the Kings Theater was opened in 1929 and later closeted in 1977. It reopened in 2015 after renovations.
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