FOUNDER OF FRIENDS OF CORTELYOU
COMMUNITY SERVICE: Jan Rosenberg has many accomplishments on her resume. Nonetheless, the largest one may be the revitalization effort that she has helped coordinate in Victorian Flatbush, beginning with the Cortelyou Road area and branching out, more recently, to the stretch of Church Avenue bordering the historic neighborhoods of Prospect Park South and Caton Park.
Fast forward 13 years from when Rosenberg formed the Friends of Cortelyou, and the neighborhood, featuring cafes and restaurants as well as beautiful homes, has become a very popular area to live.
It all began with Rosenberg’s studies of neighborhood growth and her analysis of how to invest in struggling areas. “I was researching areas like Cortelyou and found information about Fort Greene and noticed two very big similarities,” recalled Rosenberg. “One was both neighborhoods had very nice and affordable homes, and the second was that there were no local businesses in the area and no place for residents to shop.”
That was when Rosenberg, a real estate agent who had previously lived in Park Slope, knew what had to be done: “We had to bring in young and eager business people who were looking for a place to start both their businesses and their families.”
In 2001, Rosenberg founded the Friends of Cortelyou, which immediate got to work. “The biggest step towards the regrowth of the area was bringing in the farmers market,” she said. The market not only brought people to the area but more business owners. “Soon we saw many small shops opening up around the area,” Rosenberg went on.
MOTIVATION: Rosenberg’s driving force came from seeing the opportunity that the area offered. “With homes that beautiful and affordable, all the area needed was local, family run businesses to allow for growth,” she contended. “I think the best way to put it is I wanted to be inside my home, but not inside my neighborhood. Now, with the new businesses, I want to be out and around the neighborhood seeing the growth that has come.”
CAREER: Rosenberg owns Brooklyn Hearth Real Estate located on Cortelyou Road which opened in 2004. She recently opened up another location in Park Slope.
PERSONAL: Rosenberg has two sons and two grandchildren. Her husband, Fred Siegel, has authored books on New York City.