Wednesday

Newkirk Plaza (It Still Looks the Same)





During a recent walk, far from home and with no particular destination, I came upon Newkirk Plaza. The shabby little subway station/mall in the middle of nowhere gave me more delight than would seem warranted by such a place, for I had passed this way before.

Twenty years ago, when I first moved to Brooklyn, I worked for my friend’s little two-man construction company and the job we were doing was in Midwood, renovating a couple’s basement (in a house on a tree-lined cul de sac, right next to the train tracks). And every morning we took the D train to Newkirk Plaza, which came to symbolize for me the dreariness of those sleepy early mornings and that work for which I was totally unsuited. The trip would register in my head like a tape loop of misery: “Newkirk, Newkirk, Newkirk, Newkirk.” Today, though, with the routine long behind me and trumped by the curious accident that summoned the memory, Newkirk Plaza just makes me smile.

12 comments:

  1. I remember the D train used to go to Newkirk, now it is a B!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Carol Gardens10/24/07, 3:33 PM

    The Newkirk stop appears in Paul Mazursky's film NEXT STOP GREENWICH VILLAGE.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Though the "shabby little subway station/mall" is difficult to dispute, for those of us who live here it is NOT "the middle of nowhere". It is our home.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Newkirk Plaza has, in fact, changed quite a lot over the last six or so years that I've lived in the neighborhood. It's gotten far safer and better-lit at night. Many old grungy stores and restaurants have been remodeled or replaced entirely with newer, nicer places - the Mexican restaurant, which used to be shabby and sketchy and featured live entertainment nightly that was audible for blocks, is now quite clean and the food's fine. (And we have a Dunkin' Donuts!)

    It still looks like a time warp, but it's more of the "frozen twenty years ago" variety rather than the "untouched for twenty years" variety.

    Oh yeah, and there are fake bricks.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's certainly nice to see a spot that DOESN'T have a Starbucks or McDonalds!

    ReplyDelete
  6. This "shabby little subway station/mall" was built around 1900 and was the first open air retail mall in the country. The Plaza is unique in that the Transit Authority owns and maintains the deck and station, the Dept of Transportation owns the bridgeand the buildings on the Plaza are owned by private owners. Any improvement projects take serious coordination and cooperation between all parties. The Newkirk stop is an express stop and will get you downtown Brooklyn om about fifteen minutes. Manhattan in twenty so it is not in the middle of nowhere. There have been noticiable improvements to the Plaza within the last couple of years with more planned.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It used to be the B before the bridge work rerouted the trains.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Aw man, I used to live on Ruby Rd. about 1/2 a block from that little train station. I do miss that place sort of... Especially the Jamaican place with some of the best Jerk Chicken in all of Brooklyn!

    I am now in Bed-Stuy but do reminisce from time to time. Thanks for putting this up.. memories :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. ``I remember the D train used to go to Newkirk, now it is a B!''

    When I was there it was the "Q" express! I miss those rides over the Manhattan bridge :(

    ReplyDelete
  10. I lived on E.17th from 1945 to 1965. I grew up at this plaza. There was a seafodd store "Grillos" whose son Mike is a dentist practicing on Rugby road...we took the BMT all over the city and coney island as kids...glad to see it rejuvenated and thriving. Andy K.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I lived on E.17th from 1945 to 1965. I grew up at this plaza. There was a seafodd store "Grillos" whose son Mike is a dentist practicing on Rugby road...we took the BMT all over the city and coney island as kids...glad to see it rejuvenated and thriving. Andy K.

    ReplyDelete
  12. "middle of nowhere" is a hilarious term considering the overwhelming gentrification that is going on in this part of Flatbush right now. "Victorian Flatbush" is definitely on the map now, much to the dismay of most of us native residents.

    ReplyDelete