A neighborhood found in the south-central section of New York City, Midwood is a part of the Brooklyn borough. It's patrolled by three precincts of the NYC Police Department: 61st, 66th and 70th and found in Community District 14. The community is also served by the NYC Fire Department. The fire station is found on East 14th Street and it's home to Engine 276, Battalion Chief 33 and Ladder 156.
The neighborhood is found between the Bay Ridge Branch tracks and Avenue P. The western border is found at Ocean Parkway or McDonald Avenue, while the eastern border is found at Coney Island Avenue, Nostrand Avenue or Flatbush Avenue.
The history of the neighborhood comes from Dutch roots. Midwood actually means middle woods and comes from the word Midwout in the Dutch language. The name was given by Dutch settlers because of the woodlands found midway between Breuckelen (Brooklyn) and Boswyck (Bushwick). Jan Stryker, Toms Swartwout, and Jan Snedeker were given the right to settle the area together with outlying farms in Nieuw Amersfoort and Breukelen.
The suggestion from Swartwout was to name the settlement the village of Midwolde or Midwout. He was appointed the magistrate or schepen of the settlement in 1655 and served with Snedeker and Adriaen Hegeman as the Midwout court.
The settlement later was known as part of old Flatbush, which was found between Flatlands and Gravesend.
Midwood was started by the Dutch in 1652 and was conquered by the English in 1664. The area was undeveloped and considered rural until it was annexed into the City of Brooklyn in the 1890s. The development began to grow and started to really thrive in the 1920s. Many apartment buildings and larger middle-class housing tracts were built during this time.
Several of the residents living in Midwood moves to the suburbs throughout the 1970s. This happened because of the decline Midwood saw when it came to the commercial districts in the area. However, new residents started to flock to Midwood during the 1980s due to the middle-class ambiance. It became a haven for immigrants from all over the globe.
Many of the new immigrants came from the Soviet Union, Jamaica, Mexico, Haiti, Guyana, Ireland, Poland, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Israel, Iran, Pakistan, India, China, Korea and several other countries. There was a short time when it was mainly a Jewish neighborhood with German-Americans and Irish-Americans, but that time has passed.
Several local residents still call Midwood Flatbush or they will claim it's part of Flatbush. In the 19th century, Flatbush did include Midwood, but it doesn't anymore.
Some even consider the neighborhood of Fiske Terrace/Midwood Gardens to be a portion of Midwood. This is due to the poorly defined neighborhood boundaries and the fluidity of those boundaries in Brooklyn.
Midwood is a neighborhood with several parks including Kolbert Park. It's also home to the Rachel Haber Cohen Playground, which is found near a few basketball and handball courts. Kolbert Park is one of the most popular for those in the area. It's used by Yeshiva boys at lunch to play basketball and by Russian male Seniors to play board games daily. It's often referred to as Avenue L Park.
Friends Field is another park found here at Avenue L and East Second Street. This park offers baseball diamonds and tennis courts. It's also found very close to the Erasmus Hall High School Football field, which is closed to the public when it's not being used.
There is a block found near Midwood High School Field on East 16th and 17th street at Avenues K and L, which offers tennis courts, a running track, handball courts and a field for rugby, soccer, and football. Those riding the BMT Subway line can see the field from the subway. It's also home to the NYPD-FDNY Charity Sporting Games and the Cast Baseball Games for NY-based Daytime TV, such as the show As The World Turns. The field also hosts several NYC public school football games including playoffs and championships.
The Midwood Field Concerts series was once held at Friends Field but has since moved. It's currently held at Asser Levy Park, which is found along Sea Breeze Avenue in Brighton Beach. It's also changed names and now it's called the Seaside Summer Concert Series.
Two very popular pedestrian rest spots are also found within Midwood. These are known as Corporal Wilshire Square and Sgt. Joyce Kilmer Triangle. Corporal Wilshire Square is found at the intersection of Ocean Avenue and Kings Highway, while Sgt. Joyce Kilmer Triangle is found at Quentin Road and Kings Highway.
Several famous people either lived in Midwood, grew up here or attended one of the schools found within the area. The list is very long and includes:
• Woody Allen - A writer and a director, Allen attended P.S. 99 and Midwood High School. He also took up residence at 960 East 14th Street and 1402 Avenue K.
• Lou Ferrigno - An actor and bodybuilder, Ferrigno grew up on East 5th Street in the western section of Midwood.
• Annie Golden - The lead singer of the popular 1970s band The Shirts and an actress, Golden grew up in Midwood.
• Darren Aronofsky - A director, Aronofsky may have grown up in Manhattan Beach, but he attended Edward R. Murrow High School in Midwood.
• Ruth Bader Ginsburg - A famous Supreme Court Justice, Ginsburg attended both East Midwood Jewish Center and James Madison High School.
• Letty Aronson (born as Ellen Letty Konigsberg) - A producer and the sister of Woody Allen, Aronson grew up in Midwood.
• Gil Hodges - A professional baseball player and a manager, Hodges was a parishioner at Our Lady Help of Christians Church and has many namesakes in the area including the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge, a bowling alley in Mill Basin, Public School 193 and a portion of Bedford Avenue.
• Arthur Miller - A playwright responsible for creating Death of a Salesman.
• Elliot Goldenthal - A classical music composer, Goldenthal attended Andres Huddle Junior High School.
• Joel Moses - A computer scientist and a professor at MIT, Moses attended Midwood High School.
• Erich Segal - Professor and novelist, Segal graduated from Midwood High School
• Didi Conn - An actress, Conn graduated from Midwood High School
• Tony Sirico - An actor in The Sopranos, Sirico was born in Midwood.
• Bruce Wasserstein - A businessman, writer and investment banker, Wasserstein was born and raised in Midwood.
• Sy Syms (born Seymour Merinsky) - Founder of clothing retailer SYMS, Syms graduated from Midwood High School.
• Peter Steele - Signer and composter for Type O Negative, Steele graduated from Murrow High School.
Along with these notable people that lived, went to school or grew up in Midwood, all of the following famous people have ties to Midwood, as well:
• Noa Baumach - Writer and director
• Yosef Goldman - Author
• Barry Manilow - Singer/Songwriter
• Adam Yauch - Rapper and one of the founders of Beastie Boys
• Chris Stein - Part of the band Blondie
• Michelle Trachtenberg - Actress
• Jack Sarfatti - Theoretical Physicist
• Josh Silver - Keyboardist for Type O Negative
• Marisa Tomei - Actress
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