Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Mountains of Brooklyn

This from the "pure whimsy" file: there appears to be an entirely wholesome war of names going on at two bodgeas on opposite ends of the same block in East New York. At Pennsylvania and Belmont, you finds the Green Mountain Deli (maybe founded by a transplanted Vermonter?). Walk a block down on same (east) side of the street and you'll hit the Red Mountain Deli at Sutter and Pennsylvania.

I didn't ask about the names, but I wondered. The Green Mountains are, at least to my New-England-raised ears, a fairly well known mountain range. There is a Red Mountain in Colorado that technically could be a range (it's composed of three peaks), and another in British Columbia that houses a ski resort. The Columbia Gazetteer of North America credits the name to a small range in Wyoming. Still, I think it's a relatively safe, if totally unexamined, assumption that the red deli is the derivative.

Oh, and down the street you can hit up the "Green Land" Deli, which I hope against hope carries this beer.


  1. Hi Nick,

    Although a Crown Heights residents of more than 40 years, and a genealogist, my current research has only recently revealed that today's Crown Heights section of Brooklyn was actually part of a pre-Revolutionary series of hills named the "Green Mountains." These actually helped to thwart the British during the Battle of Brooklyn 1776, and kept Washington's army from being totally obliterated. These mountains were huge, soaring peaks with deep valleys that over the years were leveled, with the excess soil dumped into the clefts. Each hill eventually developed its own name, and by the 1830s neighborhoods took on the name of the local hills: Prospect Hill, Bushwick Hill, Bedford Hill and Crow Hill, to name just a few. By the way, Crow Hill is located much further east, with the peak starting at Brooklyn Avenue and cresting at Schnectady Avenue. This is the true local of Crow Hill. The current Crow Hill label at Franklin Avenue is in fact a misnomer. This really needs to be corrected. Check the old Brooklyn Daily Eagle papers from the 1800s, there are lots of mentions of the Green Mountains of Brooklyn from long ago, and accurate information about the true Crow Hill. I'd be interested to know how the grocer on Franklin Avenue decided on the "Green Mountain" name. Could they know the history of the Central Brooklyn peaks? Wil

  2. This is absolutely fascinating--do you have any images (drawn or painted) or maps of what the area looked like? I'd love to post your comments and learn some more about the pre-urban landscape around here, but there's very little online.

  3. I wonder what part of Pennsylvania these are found in. I would love to find a place like this to visit. My wife and I love to visit historic buildings.