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Get to know Flatbush

While Flatbush Avenue runs for almost 10 miles, across most of Brooklyn, the neighborhood of Flatbush corresponds roughly to the former town of the same name, one of the original six towns of Brooklyn. (Its name comes from the Dutch vlacke bos, or “flat woodland.”) The neighborhood sits to the southeast of Prospect Park and extends south to the Bay Ridge Branch of the LIRR (just beyond Avenue H). Only a few sites from Flatbush’s early days remain — the Dutch Reformed Church and Erasmus High School, originally established by the church, foremost among them. Instead, most of the buildings in Flatbush are from the early 20th century or later, a mix of freestanding houses and apartment blocks. Flatbush’s boundaries are somewhat confusing, as areas like Ditmas Park, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, and Prospect Park South are sometimes viewed as their own neighborhoods and other times as subsections of Flatbush.
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Commerce & Culture

Especially if Ditmas Park, Prospect Park South, and the Beverly Squares — collectively referred to as Victorian Flatbush — are excluded, the culture of Flatbush is predominantly Caribbean. Immigrants from many islands, as well as from South Asian and Latino communities, help contribute to the nearly 50 percent of the population that was born outside the United States. Flatbush and Church avenues are two of the main commercial strips, with a mix of bargain stores and ethnic restaurants. If you are in the mood for stewed oxtail, jerk chicken, or simply some chilled mangoes from a street vendor, there’s a wealth of choices. Victorian Flatbush’s Cortelyou Road and the Crown Heights’ section of Franklin Avenue, to the north of Flatbush, may be better choices if you aren’t in the mood for Caribbean fare. The gorgeously restored Kings Theatre, on Flatbush, draws New Yorkers from beyond the neighborhood with live musical performances by top and emerging musical groups.

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