Prospect Lefferts Gardens is a residential neighborhood in Flatbush in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. The area is bounded by Empire Boulevard (formerly Malbone Street) to the north, Clarkson Avenue to the south, New York Avenue to the east, and Ocean Avenue/Prospect Park to the west. Prospect Lefferts Gardens is part of Brooklyn Community Board 9 and is serviced by the NYPD 71st Precinct.
The area was originally settled by a Dutch family in 1660. In 1893 the Lefferts estate was divided by James Lefferts into 600 building lots, now known as Lefferts Manor, and sold to developers. Lefferts observed construction from the Lefferts homestead, then located on Flatbush Avenue between Maple and Midwood Streets (now a historic museum located in Prospect Park). In order to ensure that the neighborhood would contain homes of a substantial nature, Lefferts attached land-use deed restrictions, dictating that each lot contain a single family residence built of brick or stone at least two stories in height, among other restrictions. The land-use covenant still exists in Lefferts Manor. Houses in Lefferts Manor were mostly constructed during the late 19th Century, the last of which were constructed in the late 1950s.
Lefferts Manor and parts of Lefferts Avenue and Sterling Street, not in the single-family covenant, were granted landmark status by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission on October 9, 1979. The Lefferts Manor Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. In 2009 the neighborhood gained a second landmark district when the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the Ocean on the Park Historic District. As a small, early 20th century enclave that is set-back from the street, this historic district consists of only 2 brick and 10 limestone townhouses. Yet it stands in striking architectural contrast to the long line of large and stately apartment buildings which otherwise dominate Ocean Avenue at the southeastern border of Prospect Park.
Concurrent with the development of Lefferts Manor was the growth of the surrounding area, now known collectively as Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Many one and two family homes were constructed in the early 20th Century. Presently, other areas of Prospect Lefferts Gardens contain a mixture of single-family and multi-family homes as well as larger apartment houses.
The neighborhood contains an ethnically diverse community with a largely Caribbean population. However, in recent years, Prospect Lefferts Gardens has become one of Brooklyn's most gentrified neighborhoods. Residents from parts of Manhattan have been moving in, and residents from Park Slope as well. Due to this, many new shops have opened, new schools, and of course, more housing.
The Prospect Lefferts Gardens neighborhood is serviced by the Franklin Avenue Shuttle and the Q and B trains (BMT Brighton Line) at the Prospect Park station and the Q and B trains at the Parkside Avenue stop, as well as the Sterling Street and Winthrop Street stops on the IRT Nostrand Avenue Line (2 and 5 trains).
Prospect Lefferts Gardens has a long tradition of community participation and involvement. In 2009 PLG Arts transformed a series of unsightly construction facades into murals that reflected the area and its artists. The recently formed LinRoFORMA organizes Lincoln Road residents and businesses to revitalize the street and neighborhood. PLG Community Supported Agriculture links the community and a Connecticut farm, bringing organic produce and vegetables to residents and providing sustainability for future growth. Strong interest in improved food options led to the formation of the Lefferts Community Food Cooperative in 2009, a planned market that will use cooperative principles to sell socially responsible and healthy food products. Other organizations include the Lefferts Manor Association, which was founded in 1919 to enforce the single family covenant and PLGNA - Prospect Lefferts Gardens Neighborhood Association. Founded in 1968, PLGNA coined the neighborhood name, which stands for Prospect Park, Lefferts Manor, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Like the greater Brooklyn, residents tend to be in close contact with their representatives. In 2010 New York State Senator Eric Adams (20th Senate District) gained national prominence with his Stop the Sag program. Although some individuals supported the advertising campaign and some derided it, the attention Adams received was unusual for a state senator. On a local level, the neighborhood is part of Community Board 9 (Brooklyn Community District 9) and also has the 71st Precinct Community Council (Precinct 71). Although most of the neighborhood is represented in the state assembly by Assembly Member Karim Camara (Assembly District 43) a small portion is spoken for by Assembly Member Hakeem Jeffries (Assembly District 57). Other officials governing the area include: Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene (City Council District 40), Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (11th District of New York), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Senator Charles E. Schumer.
There are four public schools within the area's borders which are part of NYC School District 17. Two middle schools include M.S. 002 for sixth to eighth graders and M.S. 61 which serves the sixth through ninth grades. P.S. 92 is an elementary school for kindergarten through fifth grade. In 2010, the Lefferts Gardens Charter School opened an elementary program that focuses on environmental science and experiential learning.
The name Prospect Lefferts Gardens was created in 1968 by the Prospect Lefferts Gardens Neighborhood Association. It is unclear whether a hyphen was intended as part of the name as the organization never used it in literature or communications with the community. It did however use a hyphen when the organization incorporated in 1970. Some of the confusion, which extends to media coverage, appears to stem from a historic district within the community which shares a name with the area but was given a hyphen for unknown reasons by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Few residents refer to the complete area as having a hyphenated name.
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