The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

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.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Phantom Toll Booth

Ever wondered what's up with that olde tyme carnival money booth near the Lefferts House and Carousel? Does this look familiar?

This is Flatbush near Hawthorne. I have never seen a picture that so beautifully captures how Flatbush looked in the late 19th Century. And what an odd idea, to charge for use of a boardwalk on top of the dirty/muddy road, to make it easy for horse-drawn buggies to travel. Wow. This is a real mind-blower.

From the Historical Society website:

This photograph features a toll booth that stood on Flatbush Avenue between Fenimore Street and Winthrop Street in what is now Lefferts Built in the 1850s by the Brooklyn, Flatbush, and Jamaica Plank Road Company, the booth was used to collect tolls on Old Flatbush Turnpike, one of the main thoroughfares connecting the town of Flatbush to the city of Brooklyn. The road’s plank surface made it easier for wagons and carriages to travel on the dirt road. When the road company went out of business in 1893, the booth was gifted to John Moore, the last Flatbush Road Commissioner, who placed it in his backyard in East Flatbush. Today, the booth stands in Prospect Park, near the Lefferts Historic House and the carousel.

Among the major investors in the Plank Road were members of the Lefferts family. You can learn more about them and their role in developing the town of Flatbush from An American Family Grows in Brooklyn, BHS’s new digital exhibit.


Bob Marvin said...

I've always thought it a shame that the last surviving Flatbush toll booth is not marked in any way.

Anonymous said...

I agree, it's weird the toll booth itself is not marked. I've known about it for a while and think it's so cool; I was shocked when one day I stumbled across the obscure sign about it located further into the Lefferts Homestead area, because it's historically significant but not treated as such. And is there really no way to continue using the toll booth in some fun way? How about putting a barista with an espresso machine and a soft serve ice cream machine in there throughout the Summers? It could be an income producer for the park.