Southern Brooklyn

David Mandl Explores Unknown Brooklyn, Which Is Basically All Of Southern Brooklyn

Source: David Mendl via

David Mandl, a writer, photographer and Bensonhurst native, completed a gorgeous new photo essay for Flavor Wire. The photo essay explores what Mandl calls “Unknown Brooklyn.” For better or worse, it’s almost exclusively Southern Brooklyn, with photos from Midwood, Sea Gate, Canarsie and Sheepshead Bay. Sure, it’s known to us, but we’re used to being a world away from Flavor Wire’s “culturally connected people.” That’s fine by us.

Source: David Mendl via

One of my favorite passages describes Mandl’s trip through Sheepshead Bay where he discovered a strip of tiny houses with an interesting history:

Toward the eastern end of Sheepshead Bay and just off the neighborhood’s main drag, Emmons Avenue, there’s a cluster of tiny streets that most people pass by without even noticing them. Created mostly in the ’20s, and “built on sand,” according to one resident I spoke to, they used to be lined with summer cottages used by wealthy patrons of the nearby race track (which was demolished long ago). Those cottages have been replaced with real, heated, year-round houses, albeit very small ones.

I also appreciated Mandl’s exploration of the abandoned Long Island Rail Road line that cuts through Midwood. The creepy abandoned tracks always give a ghostly vibe when I cross the blocked overpasses that give you a limited view of a once busy transit line.

Source: David Mandl via
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  1. The transit pro promised an article on those creepy tracks. I always wanted to walk along them, but with my luck, they’d start up the line the minute I stepped on them (sort of like Wily Coyote).

  2. Part of those Midwood LIRR tracks may still be in use. You may be able to see the train cars near the piers north of Bay Ridge. Alongside of the tracks there is a gas pipeline of some sort. I have been told that it is part of the system that pipe jet gas to the airports. So, not totally abandoned.

  3. I live right around the corner from the bungalows that sit right off Emmons Ave.. They suffered much damage after Superstore Sandy. Two of them, one of which sat along Emmons, the other faced Emmons were recently taken down.

  4. I think a freight train comes through once a day. I caught sight of one a while ago. Those tracks are seldom used, but not abandoned.

  5. There are a few abandoned tracks around the neighborhood. There is one on Ave X and the corner of East 16th Street. I believe the tracks are still there but unable to see them. The trees are reaching the sky if you noticed I wish the MTA would cut them down. I believe that was from the LIRR in the early 1900’s.. East 17th Street was used for the freight trains coming through if I am not mistaken.

  6. That line, I believe was part of the old Atlantic line, which was once part of the LIRR. People often forget, that Brooklyn is part of Long Island. In its’ previous heyday, the Line shepherded the Elites to the Old Sheephead Bay Race Track, and then they would have the Surf and Turf at places like Lundy’s and Tappan’s. In back of the multi million dollar renovattion of the Neck Road Station, you can still see some of those old elevated tracks. It will be interesting to see how this eventually plays out, as the Neck Road area, is becoming tonier and tonier…

  7. It is my understanding that if Cong. Jerry Nadle’s Cross Harbor Freight Train Tunnel is ever built, the LIRR tracks that run thru Bay Ridge and Midwood east to Queens would be improved to handle additonal freight and at faster speeds. I hear right now the one freight train has to go about 15 mph.. His plan would take thousands of trucks off the streets of bklyn but it’s been under study for about 20 years or more. The elites who live on some of the dead end streets near those tracks have all the legal injunctions typed up and ready to be filed should Nadler inch closer to sucess. They don’t want the noise from freight trains, preferring smoggy diesel trucks, I suppose.


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