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Bernie Sanders' Brooklyn: Where the presidential candidate grew up

Sanders, a Vermont senator, was born in the borough in 1941. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders rallied outside his childhood home

Sen. Bernie Sanders rallied outside his childhood home in Midwood on April 8, 2016, while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination. He announced on Feb. 19 that he will run again for president.  Photo Credit: Getty Images/Eric Thayer

Bernie Sanders joined a crowded field of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates Tuesday, launching his second campaign for president. 

The Brooklyn native returned to his home borough to set up a New York headquarters in 2016, when he ran unsuccessfully against Hillary Clinton.

Though he lost the New York primary that year, there's no doubt the Vermont senator is a Brooklynite at heart. His brother, Larry Sanders, who now lives in Oxford, England, told amNewYork in 2016 that their childhood in Brooklyn had clear influences on Bernie’s character and political beliefs.

He was born in the borough on Sept. 8, 1941, and spent the first 19 years of his life there. Here's a look at some of the places the Vermont senator frequented while growing up.

East 26th Street in Midwood

Bernie, his brother Larry, who is seven years older than him, and their parents lived in apartment 2C of 1525 E. 26th St., between Kings Highway and Avenue P. Today, the neighborhood is known as Midwood, but Larry said it wasn't called that when the Sanders family lived there.

“We were sort of undefined,” he said. “Sometimes we were part of Flatbush.”

PS 197 in Midwood

Bernie attended elementary school at PS 197 on East 22nd Street between Kings Highway and Avenue O. He played basketball at the school, and Larry said while his brother always loved the sport, he wasn't tall enough in high school to make the “first team.”

Kingsway Jewish Center in Midwood

The Sanders brothers attended Hebrew school on the weekends at the Kingsway Jewish Center on Kings Highway and Nostrand Avenue. Larry said both he and Bernie had their bar mitzvah celebrations at the center.

“We had a mainstream, traditional Jewish upbringing,” Larry said. While they grew up relatively secular, they had a “cultural attachment” to the religion, he said.

James Madison High School in Midwood

Bernie attended James Madison High School on Bedford Avenue between Quentin Road and Avenue P. During his four years at the school, Bernie ran on the track and field and cross-country teams and became captain his junior year. He was one of the star runners, coming in first place multiple times in the Flatbush championships and third in the city in the indoor 1-mile race.

“The incredible stamina he's got now comes from that time,” Larry said of his brother. “He never gave up.”

Kings Highway in Midwood

Larry said he and Bernie often ate at eateries along Kings Highway, including a Jewish deli and a Chinese restaurant, though he couldn't remember their names.

“We were out for hours and hours after school,” Larry said. “We were very independent.”

Prospect Park

Bernie and Larry also stayed active at Prospect Park when they were growing up.

“We were keen on rowing, and when the lake froze we skated,” Larry said.

Sheepshead Bay

Larry said he remembers going to restaurants with Bernie in Sheepshead Bay. One that he recalled was Lundy's — the former Lundy Brothers Restaurant was a popular restaurant on the edge of Sheepshead Bay, but it closed for good in 2007.

“I remember the clam chowder and the soft rolls and, I think, we first tried lobster there,” Larry said.

Coney Island and Brighton Beach

The Sanders brothers went to Coney Island and Brighton Beach when they stayed in Brooklyn for the summers. Larry said that Bernie used to leave the city some summers to attend the Ten Mile River Scout Camp, where he became a scoutmaster. When he no longer attended the camp, he worked as a waiter at hotel restaurants, Larry said.

Brooklyn College and East 21st Street in Flatbush

Bernie attended Brooklyn College for one year (1959-60) before transferring to the University of Chicago. His passion for social justice grew at that time, Larry said, and Bernie would later participate in the civil rights movement while at the University of Chicago.

While he attended Brooklyn College, he moved out of his family's apartment and rented a room in the attic of a home on East 21st Street between Glenwood and Farragut roads. His mother was sick at the time, and she died during his first year of college, Larry said.

Her death and his aspirations to go to a different school led Bernie to move from Brooklyn, the New York Times reported.


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