Flatbush Frolic 2009

Sunday, I tabled for Sustainable Flatbush at the Flatbush Frolic. For the second year, Sustainable Flatbush presented an Environmental Fair at the Frolic, partnering with organizations that represent their four main initiatives: Energy Solutions, Livable Streets, Zero Waste, and Urban Gardens & Farms.

Now in its 33rd year, the Flatbush Frolic is one of a handful of street fairs that stands out from the hundreds NYC hosts annually. The Frolic is locally organized, and features local businesses and organizations.

Because I spent most of the day tabling, I didn’t get to see much of the Frolic, but here’s some of what I did see.


Related Content

Flickr photo set


Environmental Fair, Sustainable Flatbush
Flatbush Frolic Web site

FDC Benefit Dinner Thursday, March 12

This Thursday, March 12, I am among the Neighborhood Association Honorees at the Flatbush Development Corporation‘s (FDC) 34th Anniversary Celebration dinner at Gargiulo’s Restaurant, in Coney Island, Brooklyn [GMAP]:

FDC traditionally honors people who have made outstanding contributions to the Flatbush community. Along with neighborhood association and business honorees, this year, FDC’s 34th Anniversary Award recipient will be Wendy Weller-Jones, long time neighborhood resident, and FDC volunteer. Her dedication and commitment to Flatbush Development Corporation and the community has been tremendous.

Individual tickets are $135; total contribution less $80.00 per ticket is tax deductible. To purchase tickets, call FDC at (718)859-3800.

The benefit and journal proceeds will help offset the financial cutbacks to our funding from city, state and foundation grants. Proceeds from this event will support the FDC programs and initiatives that help to build a strong community. These include commercial revitalization economic development activities; after-school programs for children and teens; recreation, mediation and health programs for at-risk teenagers; housing assistance to landlords, tenants, homeowners and cooperators; and assistance to our area’s immigrant residents.


34th Anniversary Award Recipient

Wendy Weller-Jones

Neighborhood Business Honorees

The Farm on Adderley & Sycamore – Gary Jonas & Allison McDowell
Midwood Martial Arts – Alison Morea & Alfred DiGrazia

Neighborhood Association Honorees

Beverley Square West – Chris Kreussling
Ditmas Park – Nama Taub
Ditmas Park West – Dani Sucher
Fiske Terrace – Judy Hoffman
Midwood Park – Barbara Parisi
Newkirk Area Neighborhood – Giselle Nakhind
West Midwood – Carole and Len Grau

Related Content

Other posts on FDC


Flatbush Development Corporation
Gargiulo’s Restaurant

Victorian Flatbush House Tour

2008.02.13 IMPORTANT UPDATE: The date for this year’s tour will be Sunday, June 14, the second Sunday in June, and not June 7 as originally reported.

This year’s Victorian Flatbush House Tour is scheduled for June 14, 2009, the second Sunday in June. If it follows the schedule of past years, the tour will run from 1-6pm.

1306 Albemarle Road, Prospect Park South

Unfortunately for me, that means it will conflict with the Brownstone Brooklyn Garden Tour, like it did last year.

Don’t miss the architectural awesomeness of these neighborhoods, which boast a diversity of architectural styles and house types.


317 Rugby Road

Dining Room


700 East 17 Street, Midwood Park, Flatbush, Brooklyn

House in South Midwood

1306 Albemarle Road, Prospect Park South

House on Argyle Road

Related Content

2007 Victorian Flatbush House Tour


Victorian Flatbush House Tour, Flatbush Development Corporation

Frolic in Flatbush this Sunday, September 14

This is not your ordinary, generic, same-vendors-at-every-event street fair. For the second year in a row, the Frolic is organized completely by staff and volunteers from FDC and the Flatbush community.

Via press release.

The Flatbush Development Corporation is proud to announce that the THIRTY FIRST ANNUAL FLATBUSH FROLIC neighborhood street fair is set to take place on Sunday, September 14, 2008 in Victorian Flatbush on Cortelyou Rd. between Coney Island and Ocean Avenues, from 11.00am to 6.00pm, rain or shine.

This year’s FROLIC theme is “Flatbush United Nation AKA F.U.N.: From Many Places, Many Shining Faces.” The Cortelyou Road farmer’s market, a chili-cook-off, bake-a-rama, arts & crafts shows, environmental showcase, and Sports Challenge with Martial Arts, Gymnastics and Basketball Tournament will be just some of the attractions showing the diversity back of this stretch of former farmland in Brooklyn. “We want to celebrate with great local artists and music acts from the heart of Brooklyn, and capture the spirit of the community unity, with participants who’ve come from all over the world but who’ve chosen to live work and play here in Flatbush,” said Mannix Gordon, FDC’s director of economic development, who’s organizing the event.

With an annual headcount of over twenty thousand attendees, the FROLIC is the ultimate celebration of this unique Brooklyn neighborhood and all it has to offer: its history, diversity, character, Victorian architecture, tree-lined streets and its charming feel of Americana in the big city.

Fairground attractions will include a wide range of local food and retail vendors, children’s rides and activities, and information booths detailing the neighborhood and its local businesses.

This year we’re proud to bring three stages of live music to Cortelyou. The main stage at Rugby road will showcase an eclectic mix of top Kid Rock, Hillbilly Blues, Reggae, Experimental Jazz, Hip Hop Soul and R&B acts.

– The Dirty Sock Funtime Band: the highest energy kids’ rock band ever to break out of NYC

– Alegba & Friends w/Jeanine Truly and funky band; intense diva vocals and all-female horn players. Alegba & Friends Band: local roots reggae jazz superstars

– Sean Nowell Band Cerebral Music, but played with soul and feeling; ballads that somehow build into frenetic climaxes

– Tah Phrum Duh Bush & Coole High presenting Off the Dome Flatbush Hip Hop & Phat Beats

– 37 Deep Showcase: Radikal is a live fusion of SOUL, R&B, HIP-HOP, and World music

– The Waywords Hillbilly Blues for the New Millennium with Slim Dixon

– Carlos Jimenez Orchestra & The Latin Fever Dancers High Energy Horn Blowin, Roof raising Toe stomping Latin Jazz with the fabulous and famous dancers form Cortelyou Road.

At Stratford Road at the Western Stage, in front of the Vox Pop café, bookstore and performance space, performers from Victorian Flatbush will showcase the best the neighborhood has to offer. Jenny Hill & Liquid Horn [Brazilian Jazz] Demander [Indie Rock] is a post-sexy, post-punk, post-gregorian/ambrosian trio that sets fire., My Sister in 1994 (indie rock), Robbers on High Street – (indie rock), Andrew Thomas and the Believers (alternative) Rene Collins (reggae folk) Proud Simon (indie rock) a whirlwind of sounds and stories.

A Third stage at the Eastern end will have latin dance lessons all day, by Marisol of Latin Fever Dance Studio, DJ Copa and Tah Phrum The Bush will host an open-mic in the afternoon. Sure to please and get you dancing. And if that’s not enough check out Midwood Martial Arts all-day activities in the ‘Just For Kids’ area & the ‘Cortelyou Station’, Cynthia King Dance Studio and CASYM Steel Pan Orchestra B (Calypso), Traditional Pakistani, Chinese Music & More!!

Fairground attractions include: a carnival amusement park, baking contests, basketball tournaments, games of chance, double-dutch contests, Cortelyou Station martial arts exposition, interactive dance and arts & crafts. Environmental attractions sponsored by Flatbush Food Coop and Sustainable Flatbush will challenge you to think, act and promote green technology.

Stay tuned for more special events, guests, elected officials and public speakers.

FOR VENDING & GENERAL INQUIRIES: please contact Joyce or Jean @ FDC @ 718.859.3800

FOR MUSIC, PRESS & SPONSORSHIP INFORMATION: please contact Mannix Gordon @ 718.859.4831 mgordon@fdconline.org


Flatbush Frolic Web site
Flatbush Development Corporation (FDC)

Sunday, June 8: 2008 Victorian Flatbush House Tour

85 Westminster Road, Prospect Park South, Flatbush, Brooklyn, on last year’s Victorian Flatbush House Tour
85 Westminster Road, Prospect Park South, Flatbush, Brooklyn

Competing for my attention Sunday with the Brownstone Brooklyn Garden Walk is the annual Victorian Flatbush House Tour, from 1pm to 6pm this Sunday, June 8. They fall on the same day, and nearly the same hours, this year. If I go to either, I’ll only be able to make one or the other.

ADVANCE TICKET SALES END AT 3:00 PM, SATURDAY, JUNE 7TH. After that please purchase tickets, June 8th at the the start of the tour: Temple Beth Emeth, 83 Marlborough Road. [Google Map]

Please bring your PayPal Receipt with you to the house tour starting place – Temple Beth Emeth, 83 Marlborough Road at Church Avenue, where you will receive a map and ticket (required to enter homes), and further information on the tour.

Related content

2007 Victorian Flatbush House Tour


Victorian Flatbush House Tour, Flatbush Development Corporation

A report on last night’s Flatbush Unity Garden kickoff meeting

Anne Pope reports on last night’s meeting regarding the community garden for Flatbush, now named the Flatbush Unity Garden:

A group of 20+ people met at P.S. 217 to share their ideas of what they’d like this community resource to become. In addition to growing vegetables and fruits and flowers, what many of us expressed was the desire for a place where we can meet our neighbors, form ties to our community, and enjoy a peaceful outdoor environment. New York City has many examples of gardens that serve as hubs of neighborhood cultural and social interaction as well as providing beautiful green spaces (and in some cases food as well). Clearly there is a longing for such a place here in Flatbush, and our goal is to create one.
Flatbush Unity Garden kicks off!, Sustainable Flatbush

I’ve added a new tag, Flatbush Unity Garden, for all my posts and photos of this project.

Related content

Blog posts


Flatbush Unity Garden kicks off!, Sustainable Flatbush

May 28: Public forum on the Flatbush Community Garden

Future site of the (potential) Flatbush Community Garden
Future Site of Flatbush Community Garden

Since last November, when the vision for a community garden in Flatbush was first made public, a lot of meeting, brainstorming and planning has been going on behind the scenes. Yesterday, Sustainable Flatbush made the formal announcement for a public forum next Wednesday evening at P.S. 217:

Are you someone who loves all things green?
Have you always wanted to grow your own flowers, fruits, vegetables and herbs?
Here is your opportunity!
We have a potential space for a Flatbush Community Garden!

Come to a meeting to learn more!

WHEN: Wednesday, May 28, 2008, 6:00 – 8:00PM
WHERE: P.S. 217 Cafeteria, 1100 Newkirk Avenue, at Coney Island Avenue

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it. My Pest Management class at BBG started last Wednesday.

Food, drinks, and child care will be provided.
Get involved and grow!

For more information, contact:
Susan Siegel at: 718-282-5595
Anne Pope at: anne [at] sustainable flatbush {dot} org

Sponsored by Sustainable Flatbush (Fiscal Sponsor Flatbush Development Corporation)

Related content

The Future Home of the Ex-Lax Gardens, November 1, 2007
My photos of the site


Flatbush Community Garden Meeting, Sustainable Flatbush
Flatbush Development Corporation

Call for Volunteers for 2008 Victorian Flatbush House Tour

Wraparound porch at 1306 Albemarle Road in Prospect Park South, one of the homes on last year’s tour.
1306 Albemarle Road, Prospect Park South

Via Flatbush Family Network

It is that time again!! Time for the annual Victorian Flatbush House Tour. I am writing to ask for your help in promoting this year’s event and in getting HOMES and VOLUNTEERS.

The Victorian Flatbush House Tour will take place this year on Sunday, June 8. It will start at 1pm and will run until 6pm. Each year, the tour features about 11 homes from the various neighborhoods that are open for visitation. More than 600 people attend the tour, with participants coming from all 5 boroughs, the greater metro area and beyond!

We are in need of lots of volunteers to help with the house tour. It takes over 100 volunteers to put on a successful tour each year. That includes the 80+ volunteers that are needed the day of the tour to meet and guide guests through the homes AND it includes the volunteers that are needed to plan and organize the tour over the several months preceding the actual tour.

If you, anyone in your association, or anyone you know, are interested in helping with planning or volunteering for this year’s tour, please contact Robin Redmond at Flatbush Development Corporation at (718) 859-3800. Come get involved and help us showcase our beautiful neighborhoods.

We are also in need of homes to be on the tour this year. We have already had a couple of neighbors offer to have their homes be on this year’s tour so we have a start but, there is still a need for more. If you would like to suggest your home, or a neighbor’s home for being included in the tour then please, call Sidney Wormsby at (718) 791-8707.

Thanks for your help and support.

Related Posts

Victorian Flatbush at risk from inappropriate zoning, October 23, 2007
2007 Victorian Flatbush House Tour, June 10, 2007


Victorian Flatbush House Tour, Flatbush Development Corporation (FDC)

Imagine Flatbush 2030

Update 2007.12.13: Added link for all related posts on Imagine Flatbush 2030.

Imagine Flatbush 2030 Winning Logo, Credit: Imani Aegedoy, 11-9-2007

Last night I attended the first of a series of four workshops for Imagine Flatbush 2030. Brooklyn Junction and
Sustainable Flatbush were also in attendance. Sponsored by the Municipal Arts Society (MAS) and Flatbush Development Corporation (FDC), IF2030 is a community-based process to develop goals and indicators to inform any future planning for the area:

The Mayor’s PlaNYC2030 is a citywide sustainability agenda that lays the groundwork for achieving and maintaining affordable housing, open space, good transportation, clean air, water, and land and reliable energy. It affords an enormous opportunity to rethink the development of the city. As part of Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York, MAS will work with the residents, business owners, and civic leaders of Flatbush, Brooklyn, with the partnership of the Flatbush Development Corporation, to assist in creating neighborhood sustainability goals and tools to measure progress toward consensus-based goals.
Imagine Your Neighborhood 2030: a Community Visioning Project

The project study area [PDF] comprises the northern half of Brooklyn’s Community District 14, north of the old LIRR right-of-way which runs between Avenues H and I.
Northern Half of Brooklyn's Community District 14

There will be three more meetings, one each in December, January and February. The final report will be published in March 2008. The next meeting will be Wednesday, December 12, likely to be hosted at Brooklyn College. If you live or work within the study area and would like to get involved, contact Sideya Sherman of MAS [ssherman at mas dot org] or Aga Trojniak of FDC [trojniak at fdconline dot org].

Flatbush is one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the city, growing at a rate of eight percent annually, and mirroring the needs and attributes of a growing population within a district that is both architecturally and historically distinct. Yet the lack of affordable housing undermines the ability of the neighborhood to stay diverse, the resident to open space ratio is among the highest in the city, and heavy vehicular traffic compromise the quality of life.

This area is one of great diversity: ethnic, cultural, religious, and other. It is also an area of great disparity in economics, services, and environmental amenities.

“Welcome” in eleven languages on street sign for Newkirk Family Health Center, 1401 Newkirk Avenue
Newkirk Family Health Center, 1401 Newkirk Avenue

Kings Theater, Flatbush Avenue
Kings Theater, Flatbush Avenue

GreenBranches, Flatbush Branch, Brooklyn Public Library
GreenBranches, Flatbush Branch, Brooklyn Public Library

Da Pride a Flatbush, FDNY Engine 281
Da Pride a Flatbush

Greenmarket, Cortelyou Road
Greenmarket, Cortelyou Road

Flatbush-Tompkins Congregational Church, Ditmas Park
Flatbush-Tompkins Congregational Church

599 Coney Island Avenue
599 Coney Island Avenue

2274 Church Avenue
2274 Church Avenue

Christ My Sufficiency, Brooklyn Foursquare Church, 603 Rugby Road
Christ My Sufficiency, Brooklyn Foursquare Church, 603 Rugby Road

Townhouses in Caton Park
Townhouses in Caton Park

Flatbush E-Cycling, Cortelyou Road
Flatbush E-Cycling

Together We Can Change the World
Together We Can Change the World

Susan Siegel of FDC opened the meeting and introduced the MAS team. Conducting the meeting on behalf of MAS were:

  • Eve Barron
  • Sideya Sherman
  • Lacey Tauber
  • Elizabeth Yeampierre (Executive Director, UPROSE)
  • Juan-Camillo Osario

The IF2030 Advisory Committee includes:

  • State Senator Kevin Parker
  • State Assembly Member Rhoda Jacobs
  • State Assembly Member Jim Brennan
  • Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz
  • City Council Member Mathieu Eugene
  • Ms. Anne Pope (Sustainable Flatbush)
  • Ms. Gretchen Maneval (Center for the Study of Brooklyn, Brooklyn College)


Imagine Flatbush 2030 c/o
Municipal Art Society
457 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Tel: 212.935.3960, x259
Fax: 212.753.1816

Related Posts

Imagine Flatbush 2030


Municipal Arts Society (MAS)
Flatbush Development Corporation

The Future Home of the Ex-Lax Gardens

Updated 2007.11.03: Updated with more history from Erin’s comment. Added photos of the site I took last April.

Future Flatbush Community Garden

This map highlights the future location of a new community garden to be created in Flatbush, in the neighborhood of Prospect Park South. The red border outlines part of the property, which also includes the smaller wedge of land to the east, next to the B/Q subway line. The underlying image is aerial photography from 2004. The gray shapes are the outlines of buildings. The gray box within the red border is a garage, which you can see in the photos below.

The total area is .8 acres, huge by city standards. You can see from the photo that the property is covered by trees. The property is vacant, but not abandoned. It’s owned by a resident of the area who wants it to benefit the community, as a community garden.

Susan Siegel, outgoing Executive Director of Flatbush Development Corporation, has been in communication with the owner of the property for some time. I first heard about this project in February of this year from Jan Rosenberg of Friends of Cortelyou and Brooklyn Hearth Realty. I attended a meeting of some interested community members. Things have been quiet until this week, when Susan let us know that the owner has given us the go-ahead.

The site has an interesting history. As my neighbor, Erin Joslyn, notes, this was originally the home of Dean Alvord, the developer of Prospect Park South, later purchased by Israel Matz:

One of the most impressive homes in Prospect Park South, was the enormous mansion purchased in 1920 by Israel Matz, founder of the Ex-Lax company. After years of neglect, it was consumed by fire in 1958.
Forgotten Flatbush: When Flatbush was Greenwich, Victorian Flatbush, An Architectural history

The forest which lives on the site now is just 50 years old, grown since the building burned down in 1958. “Forgotten Flatbush” includes an old aerial photo of the area from 1908, a hundred years ago, which shows the old “Ex-Lax Mansion”, and the future location of the community garden. The trees for which the neighborhood is known are absent from the photo; they were just a few years old.

Here are some views of the site, taken last April.

Future Site of Flatbush Community Garden
This is the view south down the central drive into the site. The garage is on the right. There’s a lamp post on the left, with Daffodils blooming at its base. Not visible in this photo, the house foundation is to the right.

Future home of the Flatbush Community Garden
This is a view southwest, to the right of the central drive. The garage is to the left. The area in front of the garage and extending to the right is where the house stood.

Old foundation
The sunken area in this photo is part of the original foundation of the house.

Future Site of Flatbush Community Garden
This view is southeast. You can see the garage in this view, too. Somewhere between the garage and where I stood, behind the fence on the right, is the foundation of the house which stood there.

Most community gardens don’t start with a forest. This presents unique opportunities and challenges. The southern end of the property is already partially cleared and cultivated as gardens. For more residents to grow vegetables, more trees will need to be cleared.

I hope that the northern end, at least, can be kept forested. Many of the trees are likely “weed” trees, invasive species, which can and should be removed. There is already wildlife there, and this part of the property could be preserved as a wildlife and bird refuge and sanctuary. There could be wildflower walks and native plant gardens, cool ferny sanctuaries, shady refuges, and story circles.

The foundation of the old house is largely intact, now largely filled in by a half-century of leaf litter and plant growth. This could be cleared and restored. This could become an educational part of the site, evidence of its history. I have visions of developing it as a sunken garden, a grotto of native plants and ferns, which can fulfill other important educational purposes.

Now that the owner has given their go-ahead, there will be many community meetings and other events for those who want to participate and contribute. I’ll post these here on this blog and add them to the calendar in the sidebar.


Backyard of the Day
Forgotten Flatbush
OASIS online mapping service
Ditmas Park Blog
[where: 1522 Albemarle Road, Brooklyn, NY 11226]