A few weeks ago, I walked home from David's with the intention of checking out a cemetery on Flatbush Avenue that had been on my radar for a while. My Brooklyn apartment was on Flatbush, but the avenue is long and I had only ever seen the cemetery from the bus. The cemetery is in the churchyard of the Flatbush Reformed Church, which was founded in 1654, however the earliest legible marker in the cemetery is from a hundred years later and the whole church complex was designated a New York City landmark in 1966.
I walked to Flatbush via Church Avenue, which runs west to east through the neighborhoods of Kensington, Prospect Park South and East Flatbush. I've seen a lot of Church Avenue in the more than two years that David and I have been together, but I hope I never tire of taking long walks through different New York neighborhoods.
Living in New York, you can't escape talk of gentrification and near-constant change, but there are places like Church Avenue that still manage to feel authentically New York. Of course every single person has a different idea of what that means, but I love the storefronts, signage and people—in every different shape, color, size, ethnicity, language and age imaginable.
When I finally arrived at the cemetery I found that all of the gates were locked. I didn't see any signs or information about when or even if the cemetery is ever open to the public, but I did circle the block to make the most of my trip. As I was coming up E 21st Street, I came upon two culs-de-sac that looked completely out of place and time—Kenmore and Abermarle Terraces—a tiny historic district comprising 32 houses built in the Colonial Revival and English Arts and Crafts styles.
The parsonage of the Flatbush Reformed Church is also located on Kenmore and the two and one-half-story wood-frame house was built in 1853 and moved to this location in 1916. The beautiful, slightly crumbling house with a wrap-around porch was an odd sight—even in the far reaches of Brooklyn—but it instantly became my dream house when I realized that its backyard was the cemetery that I'll hopefully get to properly explore one day.