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Sunday, August 27, 2006

A Road By Any Other Name

I guess I'm not quite finished with the street name change thing. Please indulge me. This won't take long.

The neighborhood, East Flatbush, started life as Rugby, (hence the Rugby Theater, The Rugby branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, the Rugby post office.  Get it?) yet you have to travel to the equivalent of E14th St to find a Rugby Rd in the heart of what is now Ditmas Park and its million-dollar Victorian mansions. Rugby Road starts at the Parade Grounds at Caton Av and ends around Av H where it assumes its more pedestrian E 14th St.

I had a friend who lived in an apartment house on the corner of what is now Dr. Wesley McDonald Holder Av and Detectives R. Parker and P. Raffery Way.

(Try giving that address to a cab driver!) The names honor local residents and the intersection is Schenectady and Snyder Avs.

'Schenectady' isn't one of those words that just rolls off one's tongue, and it sure isn't easy to spell - not like Utica or Troy or Albany. OK. 'Rochester' was already taken, but there have to be easier names.

I've tried to figure a pattern for the street names along Church Av or Linden Blvd between New York Av and Kings Highway . 

New York Av is the equivalent of E35th.

Brooklyn Av, the equivalent of E36 St, sneaks in and messes up the theory but the next wide street is six blocks east of New York Av- Albany Av(E41st); followed by Troy Av (E44 St) and then Schenectady (E47) and Utica (E50).

The wide streets have upstate names. And at three-block intervals. But, why no names for E53rd or E56th? And why are some two-way streets?

Well, back to Schenectady Av. It's interesting that it's the only named street that most people from the neighborhood feel more comfortable referring to in writing as E47th.

Want to know if someone is really from Brooklyn?  Ask them to pronounce Nostrand Av.
NOS trand?  No way!  NO strand? Way!

Well, I apologize for the digression. Thank you for your patience.

Next session, we'll talk about commerce in the neighborhood. Where we bought stuff; where we ate out; what we did for fun that wasn't free.

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