A Day of Contrasts

My plan for today was to see the Weeksville Houses. They form an Historic District consisting of just four houses showing African American heritage in Brooklyn. They are maintained by an Heritage Center now. I easily found them in the very east of Crown Heights on Bergen Street, east of Utica Avenue. There was a sign “office” at the last building. I went in but nobody was there. I called but nobody heard me. So I just took some photos of the houses and left again. What else should I do?

To get there was not that easy. I took the Shuttle up to Fulton Street and the C train to Utica Avenue. Then I had to walk along a not so pleasant part of Utica Avenue between Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue. Bergen Street in this part shows newly constructed row houses on one side and a housing complex on the other. Not Crown Heights’ most attractive area for sure.

Next I wanted to have a look at Flatbush. Flatbush is a huge neighborhood in Central Brooklyn and the home of Brooklyn College. That’s where the 2 and 5 trains end. To avoid walking back to where I had come from I walked down Utica Avenue to Eastern Parkway to catch a train there. Utica Avenue is lively, but far from nice. The east of Crown Heights is poor, buildings are badly kept, front gardens are fenced by netting wire, parkings by barbed wire.
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Five years ago I took a photo of a deserted restaurant. I did not remember that it was on Utica Avenue, but it still looks the same.
I haven’t had a proper lunch, so I got hungry. On Eastern Parkway I found a takeaway with a long line outside. Must be good. But I did not want to stand in line without knowing if I could get something to eat right now, without knife or fork. Something like a beef patty. In the window I could just see barbecued chicken pieces and the awning announced fried fish and jerk chicken.
I remembered the Jewish bakery on Kingston, where I had bought the challah bread. It was three blocks ahead, so I walked there. Again the place was very busy, but they did not have the bread. Maybe it is just for Sabbath. I bought another loaf of something. Looks like a snail shell, is slightly sweet and has the consistency of a bun. And a piece of pastry for right now.

I got off the subway at the intersection of Flatbush and Nostrand Avenues. Flatbush is a traffic artery and a shopping strip offering a bit of everything.
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Side streets are a colorful mix of all types. There are apartment blocks, midsize individual homes, row houses. In between them churches and corner Delis. In a Chinese run food market I found a variety of herbal teas for all kind of purpose. From mental health to fat burning. Brooklyn College has quite a big campus. Its brick buildings are grouped around a neatly trimmed lawn, following the model of an ivy league college. The library has a church tower.
I walked around a bit and caught a bus on Rogers Avenue to take me home. Buses take longer but sightseeing is included. B49 runs through Flatbush and Prospect Lefferts Gardens up to Crown Heights. I could get off right at Park Place.

For dinner I felt like Indian food today and found Baluchi’s on culinary and nightlife paradise Fifth Avenue in Park Slope. It has a nice ambiance in exposed brick and carved wood. Lamps in various colors with flowers on them were hanging from the ceiling in varying heights. My goan salmon in coconut curry was delicious and my Sauvignon Blanc surprisingly good and even served in a suitable glass.


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