Flatlands is located in south-east Brooklyn, next to Canarsie and Old Mill Basin. The neighborhood borders Canarsie to the east (at Ralph Avenue), Old Mill Basin to the south (at Flatlands Avenue), East Flatbush and Flatbush proper to the north (at Church and Foster Avenues), and Ditmas Park / Brooklyn College to the west (at Bedford Avenue).
Flatlands was one of the original Six Towns of Brooklyn, settled as early as 1661. The town’s original name, “Nieuw Amersfoort”, was changed to “Flatlands” after the British took over Dutch-controlled lands in Long Island.
The neighborhood’s rich history, diverse community development, and its location on the crossroads of several highways, have contributed to a great variety of housing. In Flatlands, a potential buyer can find almost any type of house – from 1-family wood-frame duplexes to ornate Victorian townhomes, classic Colonial and Dutch dwellings, modern 2-family brick rowhouses, and much more.
Flatlands is home to quite a few historical landmarks:
The Schenk-Crooke House (Avenue U between East 63rd and East 64th Streets), built in 1656, is considered one of the oldest houses in New York City.
The Hendrick I. Lott House (1940 East 36th Street, between Fillmore Avenue and Avenue S), built around 1720, was a stop on the Underground Raiload. The house was inhabited by the Lott family until the 1980′s, and offers a unique window into the American lifestyle of almost 300 years ago.
The Flatlands Dutch Reformed Church (Kings Highway north of Flatbush Avenue) was originally built in 1663 by order of Peter Stuyvesant himself, then rebuilt in 1794 and again in 1848. The FDRC is one of the oldest churches in New York City, and a perfect example of the clean, precise style of the Dutch architecture of the time.
One of the more modern landmarks is the prestigious Beth Israel Hospital, located at Kings Highway and Avenue N.
The Flatlands of today offers much of the same tranquility that made the area attractive to the original settlers. The diverse community, lack of a subway system, and absence of major commercial districts contribute to Flatlands’ fame as one of the quietest, family-oriented neighborhoods of Brooklyn.
Like most southeastern Brooklyn neighborhoods, the shopping areas of Flatlands are laid out along its boundary streets. Ralph Avenue offers a large selection of outdoor malls selling every commodity imaginable, while Flatlands Avenue is home to the traditional storefronts. Utica Avenue’s designer and wholesale showrooms are a great source for home furnishings, flooring, and other materials.
Although located a few minutes away, the Kings Plaza Mall, in neighboring Marine Park / Old Mill Basin is the main shopping destination for area residents. The recently renovated 1.1-million-square-foot complex offers over 150 shops, a multiplex movie theater, its own marina, and serves as the starting point for 7 bus lines.
Public transportation in Flatlands is provided by several local bus lines (Brooklyn local 6, 7, 8, 9, 41, 46, 47, 82, and 103, Queens local Q35) that ferry passengers to the L train terminal in neighboring Canarsie and the 2/5 train next to Brooklyn College. There is also an express bus to Manhattan, and several private transportation companies that fill the community’s needs. Auto-commuters can take advantage of the Belt Parkway (few minutes down Flatbush Avenue), the Linden Boulevard, and several other major highways that surround the neighborhood.
Green space and recreation in Flatlands is provided by several small parks throughout the neighborhood – Paerdegat Park (3.56 acres), Amersfort Park (3.55 acres), David A. Fox Playground (2.25 acres), and many others. The parks feature sports equipment, safety-enhanced playgrounds, and picnic areas. In addition, Flatlands is only a few minutes away from the 132-acre waterfront Canarsie Park, and the 4,000-plus-acre Jamaica Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.