This Saturday's activity was a history walk thru Coney Island and the Gravesend section Brooklyn (the area immediately north of Coney Island), the latter of which started as a Dutch village as far back as the mid 17th century.
This spot on the western end of the boardwalk, at about West 29th St, was in front of the Half Moon Hotel, a popular resort hotel in the 1930s and 40s. In November 1941, an early Mob rate, Abe Reles was under police guard in this hotel, expecting to testify against the 'Murder Incorporated' group of the 1930s. On November 12, 1941, however, he either jumped, or more likely, thrown out of his window to his death. On the spot of the hotel is currently a senior housing building.
At about W. 19 St, just west of Keyspan Stadium, is a building that was once Childs Restaurant, part of a popular restaurant chain. A scene in the 2002 movie, "Two Weeks Notice" with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, was filmed in front of this building on the boardwalk.
Natural sand dunes on the north side of Coney Island.
In the heart of Gravesend, a monument on the corner of 86th St. and Avenue U, for Antony Meucci, said to be the true inventor of the telephone – and it is right outside of a Verizon switching building.
If you know the area, there is a long playground on McDonald Ave. between Avenues S and T. This was the site of the Brooklyn Jockey Club, a horse race track that was host to the Preakness for 15 years in the early 20th century. Actually, 3 tracks were all located in the southern end of Brooklyn
Lady Deborah Moody, an English woman seeking religious freedom, is said to have been the founder of the village of Gravesend, the heart of which was the area surrounding McDonald Ave. and Avenue U. This 17th century Dutch house (with the 20th century siding) was said to be the 'Lady Moody House', but actually was not hers; it only dates from the time she was alive.
About 2 blocks from there, a house at 2138 McDonald Avenue, between commercial buildings and under the subway, was built in 1750 and has survived and been renovated.
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