Monday, September 28, 2009

500 East Fourth and the Cornfields of Kensington

Last week my good friend Patty D told me a story about 500 East Fourth street. The story was basically about all the VW's he used to keep in the driveway along with the small barn in the back of the house. The owner of the house was something like 95 years old and actually grew up in the Kensington as well. She used to tell my friend Pat about how the area was just farmland and cornfields when she was a little girl. And about all the land her family owned before they sold it to developers around the turn of the century.

And thinking back it all makes sense now, because most of the wood frames here were built around 1905 or 1906, so being that this woman was 95 years old in 1975 puts the time line in order. And even the house too is coming back to me, I remember in the 70's there was this small wooden house on East Fourth with a dirt driveway and grass down the center. Something straight out of the Catskills rather than Kensington Brooklyn. And it looked nothing like the other houses built around it either. Small and square looking, plain and simple, rather than overstated like all the large Victorian houses to the left and right of it with their high peaks and Southern style front porches.

No, the farmhouse was just this small functional looking wooden building that was just a place to rest and sleep after a hard day of tending to the cornfields of Flatbush Brooklyn. And maybe even a place where a little girl can dream about the future, and how her world might change around her someday. Yes, that was the little house I remember, and it's all coming back to me now.

Oh, but don't go looking for this house today, because the other day we drove by and it was replaced by a large three story brick Brooklyn "McMansion". Complete with a concrete driveway, concrete front yard,
and no place for the corn to ever grow again.

Gee, imagine a time when a little girl could run though cornfields
in Kensington and not run into a 99 Cent store or Nail Salon
every fifteen feet.

It really makes you smile doesn't it?

Ron Lopez

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My grandmother grew up in that Brooklyn, born in 1900 living on Sackett St. She used to tell us about the farms all over Brooklyn and how they would go get the fresh milk, eggs, and butter from them. I'll bet it was a much prettier place then!