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View Full Version : New Yorkers, I need your help...



Hip-Hop-a-potamus
03-15-2012, 11:13 PM
I'm trying to plan a trip for the old man and me so I can see all these locales, but until then...

I know there is cobblestone on some of the streets in various areas of New York, but I need to know about Brooklyn, and Prospect Heights specifically.

Where there cobblestones on the streets there? Modern day is only important if they are still there. The book begins around 1917 or so. Anyone know if there were cobblestones in place historically? I've done some googling, but I'm not getting the answers I want.

Thanks, all.

Bing Z
03-16-2012, 06:00 PM
I have never been in Prospect Heights and in fact rarely been to Brooklyn, but I have a couple of points.

Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobblestone) says many of the so-called "cobblestone" pavements are actually "sett (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sett_%28paving%29)" pavements. The former are made of naturally rounded stones, the later quarried stones. I drive through a couple of cobblestone/sett streets in TriBeCa regularly and this seems correct. Those "tiles" look more like bricks than natural stones. You're not writing an academic paper but still the term may have an impact. You may either have to dig into 18/19th century literature or go vague on it.

Wikipedia also shows pictures of some gorgeous row houses on their Prospect Heights page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prospect_Heights,_Brooklyn). You see all those stairways that lead from the sidewalks to second floor entrances. These stairs, I've read, were a design to avoid bringing into the house mud and horse droppings. This means when these houses were built, horses were roaming the streets. There were traffic and there were streets. These house are beautiful and chances are they were expensive. Chances were the city would have paved for citizens living here, who might have loud voices in the city council, instead of leaving them with dirt trails. What would they use? There were no tarmac and no asphalt.

I believe you can also get some info from city-data.com NYC forum (http://www.city-data.com/forum/new-york-city/).

Hip-Hop-a-potamus
03-16-2012, 10:28 PM
Thanks, Bing.

I ran across information on some of the slate type sidewalks, but hadn't seen sett yet. And I'm so nearsighted, it's hard for me to see in some of the pix online.

Good idea. I haven't used citydata for a while. Should check in there again. Supposedly, my character grew up in dire poverty in Prospect Heights. I think the character of the neighborhood was a lot different when she grew up there than it may look now.

Bing Z
03-17-2012, 02:52 AM
Are you sure Prospect Heights (or a part thereof) was a slum back in 1917?

With all those elegant buildings I'm a bit reserved. That neighborhood was bad during the 60s-70s but that doesn't necessary mean it was a poverty stricken area a few decades before or after. It isn't now. Not as expensive as Park Slope or maybe Brooklyn Heights but still far from reasonably cheap.

Hip-Hop-a-potamus
03-17-2012, 07:13 AM
Supposedly Clara Bow was born there, and spent most of her life there, except for a year or two in Sheepshead Bay near Coney Island.

Her family were supposedly slum nomads, moving from one tenement to another to escape landlords from nonpayment of rent and other reasons. That's all I got. I know very little about NY myself other than what I've seen on TV and movies. I'm hoping to change that with a trip to the main NYC library and various other locales around NYC and vicinity (I need to hit New Brunswick, NJ and Westchester County for some other story ideas too)