The other faces of Prospect-Lefferts Gardens

A few days before the end of the pre-Sandy era, I went to Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. You might have seen my post about the beautiful buildings on Maple Street, but I prefer not to leave you with the impression that the entire area is like that – in fact, it’s one of the more diverse communities I’ve seen.

To the north:

Sterling Place is one example of a block with a variety of architectural styles. Some buildings retain the single-family charm of Lefferts Manor, while others sprung up to serve the growing population in a more cost-effective way.

I spoke with a woman named Cena, who was sweeping leaves off her sidewalk while her elderly dog watched. She moved from Bed-Stuy to Prospect-Lefferts Gardens in 1960, and says she was on the forefront of white flight. “They saw us tan people coming, and they left,” she said.

To the south:

More large buildings mix with some smaller outposts. Fenimore Street, for example, has some nice houses, although this one appeared to have been under renovation. (I hope it was, anyway.)

To the west:

At the northwest corner of the neighborhood, Flatbush Avenue spits out cars from the causeway between the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Prospect Park, and meets a headache of an intersection with Ocean Avenue and Empire Boulevard (fka Malbone Street). As it does farther south, Flatbush has a storefront-heavy appearance.

The BMT Brighton Line (B/Q) emerges above ground at the Prospect Park station, severing the westernmost block of Prospect-Lefferts Gardens from the main body. There are a few neat “nubs” of streets here between Flatbush and the tracks. On Chester Court, a dead-end about a football field long, I taught two 9-year-olds how to throw a spiral. A kid willing to throw you a pass just because you put your hands out must feel part of a safe community.

To the east:

Rogers Avenue is much as it is in Crown Heights. Many of its buildings show signs of wear, and drivers treat it as both speedway and personal parking lot. I found some firefighters parked in front of Engine 249/Ladder 113. The one placard I checked expired February 1, 2012.

To the season:

As this was October 25, Halloween decorations abounded – but not everyone was in the “true” spirit of the season. (“No demonic or monster costumes,” read this advertisement for a party at Grace Reformed Church.)

And, finally, the twilight scene at one of my favorite MTA stops, Prospect Park.

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One Response to The other faces of Prospect-Lefferts Gardens

  1. hjdole says:

    What a quote from Cena. I like the specific instructions for the Hallejulah party. When I taught at Wingate we weren’t allowed to celebrate Halloween, but now in Harlem it’s fine to have a school Halloween party.

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