Monday, March 02, 2009

The Old New Lots

Kings is the second most densely populated county in the state of New York, but there's still enough room in Brooklyn for an old church and its churchyard to persist for 186 years and counting. I've got an affinity for the remaining wooden churches in Brooklyn, so when I saw this beautifully-preserved specimen from the New Lots 3 train platform, I had to scurry down and grab some photos.

The building pictured is the New Lots Reformed Church, erected in 1823 by the Dutch farmers of New Lots because they were tired of walking nearly five miles to the Flatbush Reformed Church every Sunday. At the time, the area was a part of the town of Flatbush, and was known as "New Lots" because the land was parceled out to farmers starting in 1677, after the the "old lots" of Flatbush had been settled ("new" is, of course, a relative term). The residents whose funds and efforts got the church built are today remembered by the streets of East New York, including Abraham Van Siclen, Tunis Schenck, John Blake, and Issac Snediker. The new and old lots kept close ties, and the two churchers were variously referred to as mother and daughter congregations.

The building has drawn photographers for decades (great shots from the NYPL here), and its caretakers have garnered citywide acclaim for their preservation efforts. It has been one of the 141 Brooklyn spots on the National Register of Historic Places (there's a complete account of Brooklyn's contributions to the list here) since 1983.

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