Georgetown: a very, very brief history

I like to nerd it up on Tuesday afternoons in the Brooklyn Public Library’s Brooklyn Collection. (If you’re ever there at that time, I’m probably that guy taking pictures on his iPhone of old books.)

Fulton Ferry and Clinton Hill gave me lots of reading material: not only did I have official designation-reports to work with, but also amateur histories, books on architecture, and photo-albums. I even got access to some of the books in the roped-off, “STAFF ONLY” section. It was there where I found that awesome comic on the Fulton Ferry. Bits of paper were falling off in my hands! There’s nothing quite like that feeling.

This week, I was in and out in 45 minutes, as my search yielded me one longish paragraph. One! It was nestled in a section about Bergen Beach in a book called The Neighborhoods of Brooklyn, edited by Kenneth T. Jackson. (Borough President Marty Markowitz wrote the foreword, so you know it’s legit.)

You can’t get much more Brooklyn than Mr. Brooklyn himself. (New York Post photo)

While it confirmed what I already knew about the Georgetowne Greens development, I learned that development was stalled by the proposal of Mayor John Lindsay (1966-1973) for a 900-unit middle-class project called Harborville. The Harborville proposal was ultimately shot down, but the uncertainty of competition caused the early termination of Georgetowne Greens.

The archives of the New York Times were slightly more friendly, yielding three(!) articles on Georgetowne Greens – all from 1967 – but none on Harborville. The lack of information on Harborville is surprising, given that the book attributed the initiative’s failure, in part, to Mayor Lindsay’s unpopularity with middle-class voters.

I would later discover that the project was actually known as Harbour Village.

Contrary to popular belief, Mayor Lindsay was not a blue-blood, although he was in Scroll & Key at Yale. (New York Daily News photo)

The first article on Georgetown Greens, from May 11, announces “400 homes for Mill Basin”. The homes would be built by Triangle-Pacific Forest Products Corporation of Great Neck, through its subsidiary, Georgetowne Greens, Inc. The first homes would be priced from $45,990 (more than $300,000 in 2012 dollars) and would be available late that same summer.

The second, from July 2, gives the details: each “suite” has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and each building has a rec room in the basement. It also gave a floor-plan and the first picture of the model:

Introduction to a July 2, 1967 New York Times article. Copyright © The New York Times

The final article is from December 17 and is easily the most amusing: it boasts that the homes “will have a separate gas-fired, warm-air heating system for each apartment”. Ah, what a long way we’ve come.

It looks like most of the research I do will have to be in person. One final bit of information: the area is predominantly Italian and Jewish, so at least I’ll eat well, as my friend Brooke suggested.

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2 Responses to Georgetown: a very, very brief history

  1. chickenunderwear says:

    Notsomuch Italian anymore. The Jewishness has grown in its size and intensity.

  2. Matt says:

    Can you believe there’s talk of them leaving the Big East? Kidding – interesting stuff. I’m anxiously awaiting your reportage from Windsor Terrace!

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