I love it. Love it! Just when you get comfortable knowing what to call the terra firma beneath your boots, someone bursts your bubble with an authoritative take on Brooklyn neighborhood boundaries. (if you're a longtime reader, you might want to skip this one. I'm rehashing some old terrain. Then again...who remembers their trigonometry? Come along for the ride!)
We all know that neighborhoods grow and contract with the times, and real estate folk demarcate with increasing creativity. As has been discussed ad nauseum, we have a particular set of problems in our 'hood. Let's start with what we know.
Lefferts Manor has defined boudaries due to the covenant laid out by its developer, Master Lefferts. Prospect Lefferts-Gardens Historic District is the moniker used by the Landmarks regime for pretty much the same thing, with a few houses thrown in to spice things up a bit. So they're basically the same chunk, give or take. Those names are legal in nature, referring to one set of rules or the other. And those rules are set in stone. You can't "apply to get in." or get invited, and real estate agent can't suddenly decide to expand its reach. Here's a map of PLGHD. Native Society of the Haughty East Side.
So for quite some time the Manor/PLG-HD has been a small enclave in the greater Flatbush neighborhood, the word being born of the old Dutch town of the same name, sister town to places like Bedford and Midwout. And boy does Flatbush got game. Heck, The Brooklyn Dodgers were Brooklyn's team, but they belonged to no 'hood more than Flatbush. Heck, Duke Snider was the "King of Flatbush," not the King of Flatlands or the Sultan of Sunset Park. Before the Fonz was the Fonz, he was a Lord of Flatbush. The list of Erasmus alums is staggering. And let the record show that Flatbush's borders are pretty distinct - south of Empire, nee Malbone; most folks agree that New York Avenue is the eastern border, with folks calling anything past that East Flatbush. To the west one exits Flatbush at Coney Island Avenue, and nearly no one disputes the LIRR tracks as the southern boundary. All good!!
Within Flatbush we have juicy micronabes like Caton Park, Ditmas Park, DP West, Prospect Park South, Pigtown or Wingate (depending I guess on whether you keep Kosher). They all have histories and reason for their names, often dating back to their current housing stocks' creation. We really did have "subdivision" type growth here, just not the type that happened later in the suburbs. Generally, new developments went up over razed houses, shacks and farms, and a lot of it happened more than 100 years ago - ancient history for most Americans. My house celebrates its 100th next year. What does one do when one's home hits a century? Do you throw it a party? It's quite likely that people of the 19teens derided our house and its brethren as gaudy cheap intruders or worse. And the people that bought them? Heathens! Apparently some of the tradesmen of the time actually worked on the houses they eventually moved into. That must have been an enormous joy for immigrants accustomed to renting from slumlords. Sounds familiar! (can one be an immigrant if he comes from the Midwest?)
Prospect Lefferts Gardens Maximus, or "Lefferts" as I like to call it, has evolved over the years, mostly stemming from the creation of the PL(e)GNA neighborhood empowerment group way back in the soulful Sixties. People were fighting the good fight back then, and we owe a lot of our neighborhood's sense of cohesion to the brave soldiers of those housing wars. If you haven't heard, PLeGNA is staging a comeback of sorts. Reach out to them at PLGNA.
Somehow, in the '70s and '80s, and without unanimity, Lefferts became the catch-all for everything south of Empire, east of the Park, North of Clarkson and West of New York. Part of it might be the Police Precinct boundaries (map here). Partly it's the Community Board
FLATBUSH per CB14
As much as I, the Q, on the north side of Clarkson, want to believe Bob Marvin et al when they say I'm part of PLG, this map just makes more sense to me. You know, the park, and the aptly named Parkside Avenue, just seem like natural dividers to me.
Next up, a profile of some REAL Caledonians!
The Q at Parkside
News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.