Take the train to Vanderveer Park (where's that?)
The past has a knack for resurfacing, even from under the weight of decades of paint. To wit: This sign at the Borough Hall station in Brooklyn, which, if you struggle to read it, directs straphangers to the Nos. 4 and 5 trains that will take you to a Dutch-sounding eden known as Vanderveer Park. From what we can make out, the sign says: "To Atlantic" on the first line, "East New York" on the second, and "Vanderveer Park" on the third. Below the words is a directional arrow.
If you wanted to go to Vanderveer Park today, you'd be visiting the Flatbush area. According to nyfd.com:
Vanderveer Park was the northern most part of the Town of Flatlands, which was annexed along with the Towns of Flatbush, New Utrecht and Gravesend in 1894. Today Vanderveer Park lives only in name at the Vanderveer Park Houses on Foster, to Newkirk Avenues between Nostrand and Brooklyn Avenues. Other than the housing projects the name is lost in history and the area is now the junction of Flatbush, Farragut and Midwood.
The neighborhood made the news from time to time. For instance, in 1898, Vanderveer Park had some burglars "prowling around." From the New York Times of Oct. 2, 1898:
Capt. Knipe and Acting Detective Betts of the Flatbush Precinct, Brooklyn, went sleuthing yesterday morning in such a crafty way that they aroused the suspicions of the residents, and were "held up" by eight citizens with revolvers. Burglars have been prowling around the Vanderveer Park section, and the residents have agreed that if one of them sees a burglar he shall fire a pistol as a signal to rouse the neighborhood.
A year before, one of the Vanderveers was involved in a lawsuit, according to a Times article:
Peter F. Vanderveer, principal owner of Vanderveer Park, in Flatbush, and one of the wealthiest representatives of the old-time families in that suburb, has been sued by Dr. William H. Nans, a Flatbush physician, for services alleged to have been rendered Miss Kate Hoffman at the instance of the defendant.
Please share with Urbanite whatever you know of Vanderveer Park's history, tabloid friendly or otherwise.
-- Rolando Pujol