InstaBlog: Avenue U, Gravesend

Author's note: Warning—this is a blog-style post based on a social media post. Beware typos and poorly elucidated thoughts. For more polish, perhaps try an article!

Last October, I decided to walk along Avenue U in Brooklyn, starting from the F station in Gravesend*. Walking down from the elevated platform with the crowd, I couldn't help but notice the makeup of the commuters: a surprising amount were the traditional Brooklyn & Long Island stereotype—middle aged, middle class whites, speaking in the (remains) of their famous accent. Once a huge percentage of the population, I had thought almost all had either moved to the suburbs, retired, or been priced out of the city. Nice to see that even in modern Brooklyn, there’s still some space for what has to be a shrinking but historically important community.


I know I'm behind on these! But look at it this way: right now, it is too cold, and the sun sets too early, for me to do many such trips right now. So it all works out! *laughs*

As to Avenue U itself, I was a little surprised by quite how low rise it is. Most of the buildings along the street are only two or three stories, and once I was away from the station, stores were fewer and farther between—although never absent from any block. The side streets consist of tightly packed single-family houses. The Avenue itself, while far from crowded, was clearly an important neighborhood space, with a healthy amount of people. In a nice touch, I caught two elderly women sitting on their porch, talking, watching the world go by. There were a handful of new developments going up between four and five stories tall, but not many; the neighborhood could probably be made denser very easily.

Some random thoughts: Interestingly, the supports for the Culver El were, right at the Avenue, spaced very widely, perhaps once a streetcar stop? A number of the old houses had been remodeled with "fancy" fronts—an interesting vernacular, but I have to admit, I'd probably prefer their original (non-garage doored) fronts. In what's becoming a running trend for me, I realized I had happened across another Jewish neighborhood; I would later learn that this community of Syrian, Sephardi Jews started arriving in the early 1990s.

Based on an Instagram post.
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