Brooklyn’s Best-Kept Secret: Fulton Mall

Fine, I always feel about a minute away from a drive-by when I hit Fulton Mall but this area has serious potential.

You can find people AND beautiful old buildings aplenty just crying out for divine intervention. They wanted to pray over me and the tween just now, btw: something like 10 Christian soldiers in red aprons.

So what the hell went wrong in Fulton Mall and why can’t somebody fix it? Like NOW. This place could be the best neighborhood in Brooklyn without much effort.

There are more great steel-framed hulls of glorious architecture gone by than any other hood in Brooklyn, I bet. All steel-metal construction. Built to last.

It’s already pedestrian-friendly. Close to the city. Just get rid of the buses, throw in some bike lanes and hello gentrifiers.

My Grandma Sally used to order the frog’s legs at the late great Gage & Tollner.  And you should see the lady’s room on the 9th floor of the Macy’s building on Hoyt! My favorite restroom bar none.

Can’t Marty or some SMART developers (I realize that’s an oxymoron) take the whole joint over by eminent domain or, better yet, by buying it like Red Hook’s O’Connell bought the artists that town upstate. And turn it into condos and great stores and restaurants and street life and offices for crunchies and creatives? Get rid of the buses and put in a big fat bike lane? And an Apple Store.

This is almost as good an idea as my 4th Ave High Line.

I can see it now.




  1. Gwen’s avatar

    Actually, there is quite a bit of eminent domain occurring in the Fulton Mall neighborhood. The goal seems to be to get rid of longtime, successful businesses, especially in Albee Square, that lower income people frequent (and have frequented for decades) and replace them with “condos and great stores” as you suggest.

  2. Raul Rothblatt’s avatar

    The neighborhood was developed in part using eminent domain. Ratner used it to destroy existing buildings for MetroTech. The old Ablee Square Mall was also built via eminent domain.

    More recently, Bloomberg and his friends at the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership tried to demolish the Underground Railroad Station at 227 Duffield Street in order to build a parking lot and micro-park. That property was saved, but the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership seems intent on getting rid of all Brooklyn-owned businesses.

    Downtown Brooklyn has been the 3rd largest economic district in NYC for years. Its transformation has been dramatic, especially since the rezoning that was passed in 2004. You can expect to see a lot more H&Ms there, and a lot fewer immigrant-owned stores.

    Walt Whitman lived in what is now MetroTech, and he wrote about escaped slaves in the area in Leaves of Grass. Duffield Street (a.k.a. Abolitionist Place, especially between Fulton & Willoughby) has a proud history fighting slavery at a time when New York City was strongly in favor of it. I encourage everyone to get to know this history- it should be part of a unique and exciting future for the neighborhood.

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