Prospect Park South, Brooklyn (History)

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(Neighborhoods In Brooklyn)

neighborhoods_brooklyn_prospect_park_southProspect Park South is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, within the community of Flatbush. It is bordered by Church Avenue to the north, the Brighton Line (B & Q trains at present) of the New York City Subway to the east, Beverley Road (sometimes spelled Beverly) to the south, and between Stratford Road and Coney Island Avenue to the west. Prospect Park South is patrolled by the NYPD’s 70th Precinct.

In 1899 visionary developer Dean Alvord created Prospect Park South as a community of substantial homes. The motto he chose for the development was rus in urbe (country in the city). Its location was selected to take advantage of the train service on the Brooklyn and Brighton Beach Railroad of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (BRT). The line, now known as the BMT Brighton Line, offered express and local train service that remains to this day. The trains emerged at Fulton Street as an elevated line and continued across the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan.

The houses in Prospect Park South were required to be substantial, freestanding homes exceeding 3,500 sq/ft and costing over $ 5,000. Several other “restrictions” were placed upon builders wishing to develop the lots. Trees were planted along the property lines to block out adjoining houses giving the illusion that each house was the only one on the block. It was required that there be two grass medians, one along the property line and one curbside, with the sidewalk in between. While not the first attempt at suburban development in Flatbush, Alvord’s vision of a rural park within the confines of a city block excited the interest of the wealthy of Brooklyn Heights, and of Manhattan residents. Ultimately, Alvord’s restrictions not only created an exciting new design but a standard to become a blueprint for the modern suburb. Enthusiasm for his design in following years would see South Midwood, Fiske Terrace, Ditmas Park, Beverley Square and many more developments spring up in Flatbush to accommodate the demand.

The Alvord Mansion at 1522 Albemarle Road was built by Alvord for his family. Later, it was purchased by Israel Matz, founder of the Ex-lax Company. The Alvord Mansion burned down in approximately 1955 under mysterious conditions after its sale by the Matz family to apartment developers fell through in the face of community opposition.

Prospect Park South was designated as a historic district by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1979. Among notable houses in the neighborhood are the McEntee residence at 15 Buckingham Road [note: this address is not in Prospect Park South], the Cole residence at 131 Buckingham Road, the Norwood residence at 143 Buckingham Rd., the McDonald residence at 1519 Albemarle Rd., the Miton/McAllister residence at 1510 Albemarle Rd., the Woodhull residence at 1440 Albemarle Rd., the Crafts residence at 1423 Albemarle Rd., the Ekins residence at 1306 Albemarle Rd., the Gale residence at 1305 Albemarle Rd., the Goetz residence at 156 Stratford Rd., the Benedict residence at 104 Buckingham Road, and the Morel residence at 219 Marlborough Road.


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