On This Day in History: Ocean Parkway Becomes Landmark
On Jan. 28, 1975, Ocean Parkway was designated a scenic landmark. Ocean Parkway runs about six miles north to south from Prospect Park to the southeastern edge of Coney Island. In the 1860s, the parkway was suggested in reports to the park commissioners of Brooklyn by Frederic Law Olmsted and Calvert, designers of Prospect Park, who together had drawn up a plan influenced by boulevards in Paris and Berlin.
In 1874, construction was begun and completed by 1880. It resembled Eastern Parkway, which extends eastward from Grand Army Plaza, and had a width of 210 feet, a central roadway, two malls, two side roads and two sidewalks and was lined with trees, benches, playing tables and a bicycle path. The neighborhoods it ran through included Parkville and Windsor Terrace. Such new neighborhoods as Kensington were later built along the parkway.
At the turn of the century construction began of houses along the edges which attracted buyers from Bushwick, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Brooklyn Heights. About the time of World War I, many grand houses were built and marked the end of a period of suburban affluence in the neighborhood. In the 1920s, rows of one- and two-family houses as well as small apartment buildings were constructed, and the upper reaches of the parkway became the site of luxury apartment buildings with elevators. After World War II, more apartment buildings replaced older houses on streets near the parkway. Coney Island Avenue, an important commercial street, lies parallel to Ocean Parkway and several blocks to the east.