Marine Park

Escape the hipsters, head for Marine Park

Eye on Real Estate

July 1, 2015 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Welcome to Marine Park, where this nature preserve is a neighborhood treasure. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan
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Escape the hipsters. Head for Marine Park.

The neighborhood and the vast city park that shares its name are great antidotes when the summertime scene in Brooklyn’s hipster neighborhoods starts to seem annoying.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: We love hipster Brooklyn. But sometimes people need a break from it, and that goes for the hipsters as well as Middle-Aged Persons like us.

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Marine Park the neighborhood is situated in southeast B’KLYN on Jamaica Bay, with the actual park standing right along the shoreline. The park has a 530-acre salt marsh and grassland nature preserve.

Talk about an urban oasis. When’s the last time you trekked along a salt marsh hiking trail without leaving Brooklyn?

We’ve been thinking about this quiet, non-hipster neighborhood because we just read Mark Chiusano’s story collection “Marine Park” in a quest to catch up on works by noteworthy Brooklyn authors.

By the way, it’s terrific. In April, it received a PEN/Hemingway Award honorable mention.

This award, founded by the late Mary Hemingway to honor her famed husband Ernest Hemingway, recognizes distinguished debut fiction books by American authors.

If you haven’t been to Marine Park lately, or ever, you take the Q train to the Kings Highway stop, then switch to a B2 bus. The route is mentioned various times in Chiusano’s stories. If you want to soak up as much summer sunshine as possible, of course you walk instead of riding the bus.   

The neighborhood boundaries are the park to the south — with Avenue U slicing through it — and Gerritsen Avenue and Nostrand Avenue to the west, Avenue N and Flatlands Avenue to the north and Flatbush Avenue to the east.

Hendrick I. Lott’s House is looking good

In addition to the salt marsh, another photogenic neighborhood destination is the landmarked Hendrick I. Lott House at 1940 E. 36th St.

The historic Dutch Colonial farmhouse, which was partly built in 1720, gets a shout-out in one of Chiusano’s stories.

At the moment, you can’t while away the hours on the columned porch of the fine white-shingle house. The city-owned property is closed to visitors while renovation is ongoing. But you can get a good look from the sidewalk.

The house exterior and the landscaping are in fine shape. The Hendrick I. Lott Preservation Association is raising funds for interior renovation and cultural programs. Preservation-minded Brooklynites who wish to put their money where their mouth is should see to get in touch with the organization.

The group is collaborating on the house restoration with the Marine Park Civic Association, the city Parks Department and the Historic House Trust of New York City.

See related story for more photos of the historic house. 


Dutch Colonials and terrific Tudors

The neighborhood is full of houses we love. Some are on Marine Parkway, which has an eye-catching collection of Dutch Colonial houses — the 20th-Century kind.

One of our particular favorites is 3006 Marine Parkway, on the corner of Quentin Road, which has a red umbrella on the patio. Another is 1825 Marine Parkway, which is tucked underneath lush trees. It seems like a cottage in the woods though it’s in the middle of the block.

We also have quite a crush on 1777 Marine Parkway, a stately white stucco house on the corner of Avenue R.

There are blocks of handsome attached and semi-attached Tudor homes all over the place, so many that it’s hard for us to pick favorites.

We also really like the “twins” on various blocks — pairs of semi-attached frame houses with matching designs, but the house on either side of the shared wall is a different color and has different façade details. They’re like twins who wear different clothes so you can tell them apart.

Since Marine Park residences are two or three stories tall, on sunny days the sky looks huge and endlessly blue.

On the side streets, it’s so quiet you notice the leaves rustling on the trees and song birds warbling. This time of year, sweet-scented white flowers cover some of the trees.     


A shout-out to Joe Torre

Yankees former manager Joe Torre, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame last year, grew up in Marine Park. We discovered this while perusing old New York Times stories about the neighborhood.

Walt Whitman would love this place

As for the park, it covers 798 acres in all, and has ball fields and boccie courts and a place to rent a surrey should you want to go for a spin. Some people don’t realize it’s the largest park in Brooklyn — yes, it’s bigger than Prospect Park.

Marine Park’s salt marsh is a patch of earthly paradise. You needn’t be a huge fan of Nature to be stunned by the scenery. The birds that inhabit it will wow you, and make you wish you’d brought a really powerful telephoto lens.

Its hiking trail winds along the water’s edge, then takes a turn through a prairie with tall grass. So bring Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” with you.

This is the perfect setting to read it. There are benches so you won’t encroach on any creature’s habitat if you decide to settle in for the afternoon.

See related story for more photos of the nature preserve.

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