The neighborhood is an amalgam of smaller neighborhoods lying south of East New York Ave. between Kings Highway and Nostrand Ave. and, of course, east of Flatbush, a word that comes from the Dutch vlacke bos, meaning “flat woodland” or “wooded plain.”
It was formerly known as Rugby and was primarily developed in the 1920s, populated largely by the overflow from neighboring localities.
It encompasses Rugby (named by developers in the 1890s); Remsen Village (which took its name from the avenue, which in turn was named for the family of Joris Remsen, an early settler and landowner); Wingate (originally called Pig Town after the many small animal farms there, but later named for Gen. George Wingate, founder of the National Rifle Association); Farragut (named for Adm. David G. Farragut, an American naval hero of the Mexican War and the Civil War); and Erasmus, in the west of the neighborhood.
The western section of East Flatbush — bordered by Bedford Ave. — was part of the original Dutch town of Flatbush. Parts of the eastern section — delimited by Rockaway Parkway — were within the original Dutch town of Flatlands.
The area was primarily farmland until the 20th century, when developers bought 65 acres in 1892, expecting a promised subway extension. The IRT subway line wasn’t extended along Nostrand Ave. until 1912, when the area grew quickly as a residential neighborhood.
Brooklyn-born Norm Goldstein is retired, after working 44 years for the Associated Press, the global news agency, where he served as a reporter, feature writer, editor, author and administrator. He also worked for AP as director of Educational Services and editor of the AP Stylebook. He graduated from Brooklyn College and the Penn State Graduate School of Journalism. He currently lives in Brooklyn Heights.