Southern Brooklyn

Photo: Sheepshead Bay Road Didn’t Look So Different In 1938

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

I bet those folks back in 1938 would’ve expected a lot of change to happen over the course of 76 years. I can just envision them, chomping on their cigars, flipping their derby hats in their hands, and saying, “Boy, oh, boy, in that there 2014, this here Sheepshead Bay Road will just blow your wig. Make no brodies about it, pally, there’ll be big ol’ skyscrapers everywhere, and clocks as grand as the sultan’s suds. I bet all the walls will have talkies showin’ all these tomatoes, and all the boys will be dizzy with dames on this here stretch.”

Well, they were wrong. This 1938 photo, taken from the elevated platform of what is today the Sheepshead Bay subway station, pretty much shows what a bunch of twits my imagined 1930s neighbors were. This road looks almost exactly the same now as it did then. Who would’ve thought it?!

Of course, there are some obvious differences. The building in the distance was torn down to make way for a bank (now Popular Community Bank), but that’s the only architectural change; all the other buildings still stand.

A real notable difference between the storefronts? They’re occupied in the photo. Also, the streets are clean and there aren’t 1,000 livery cabs threatening to bring a crushing end to your miserable life.

Anyway, just a side note: I found this photo up for auction on eBay. It lacks any description indicating the photographer or copyright holder. I wouldn’t normally do this, but old photos like this have a way of coming and going, and never being seen again – so I wanted to have it saved somewhere (thus the purpose of our Postcard series). If you’re the copyright holder, it’s not our intent to infringe, and you can contact me here.

Comment policy


  1. Creative blurb! Other differences between then and now, is that most of the folks in the photo, are probably dead by now, and those few were probably all speaking English, with Brooklyn accents, while with the vast increase in numbers now, you’d have a hard time finding many speaking English, and even less with Brooklyn accents! Otherwise, a wonderful community then, as it still is now!!!

  2. One other change. The building on the immediate left where Chase Bank is noe located is now two stories. So either another floor was added or it is a new building.

  3. I thought about mentioning it, but didn’t think it was all that visible here (it is in the original, which I cropped). Anyway, to my knowledge the second story was added – not a new building.

  4. Great photo.
    Let’s hope it doesn’t change much in the future. There are people who would love to see every one of those buildings as a 6 story structure with a sushi restaurant at the base and medical offices above.

Comments are closed.