For those who live in Victorian Flatbush, Cortelyou Road has long served as the neighborhood’s Main Street.
It is, however, a thoroughfare in transition, as the gentrification of the community has resulted in the gradual opening of a bevy of new businesses, many of which participated in a premiere event that was meant to showcase everything the strip has to offer.
Cortelyou at Twilight, which debuted along the strip east of Coney Island Avenue on Thursday, October 10, and sponsored by the Flatbush Development Corporation, Brooklyn Hearth Realty and the city’s Department of Small Business Services, offered event-goers an opportunity to sample the offerings of many of the street’s restaurants, with ticket revenues going to the Garden to Café programs at P.S. 139, on Cortelyou, and P.S. 217, on nearby Newkirk Avenue.
At the same time, shops along the strip were open, giving event-goers an opportunity to browse their wares.
Tastings ranged from a selection of soups ladled out by Catskill Bagel, to roasted cauliflower with pickled onions and hazelnuts at the Farm on Adderley, to intensely flavored samosas offered by Picket Fence, not off their menu but to gauge the interest of area residents who have come to the eatery for years to savor its American-style comfort food. Sycamore provided long-stemmed roses alongside goblets of Mendocino Black I.P.A., an ale-style beer brewed in California, while down at Bar Chord, warm cups of spiced rum mulled with cinnamon went down smoothly, to be capped off with tea biscuit-cocoa-and-coconut balls from Mimi’s Hummus.
The response to the evening was enthusiastic. “There are a lot of different restaurants,” noted Claudette, who hails from Queens, but who came with her friend Ann, who lives near Cortelyou. “Now, we know we can go one place, one day and another place, another day. We will definitely come back.”
Fay Maeda, who was enjoying the offerings at Sycamore, said she had just moved to the neighborhood and had decided to check out Cortelyou at Twilight, because she “thought it was a cool, convenient way to get to know the different places.”
For Maria-Newsom Fahey, the co-president of the parents association at P.S. 217, the event was wonderful in more ways than one. She said she appreciated that fundraising for the school was being done by FDC. “For the community to help local schools is really phenomenal. It really takes a village to support these schools,” she stressed.
Mara Dubovici concurred. With a daughter at P.S. 217, she said, “It’s nice to see not just the school trying but the whole neighborhood.”
But, she added, it’s not just the school that benefits. “Everybody has something to gain,” Dubovici stressed, “the businesses, the schools, the residents, as we taste a little bit of the neighborhood.”