New Utrecht’s first settler was Cornelius Van Werckhaven, who arrived in New Amsterdam from Utrecht, Netherlands, in 1652.
He purchased what wouldbecome Bensonhurst, Gravesend, and Bay Ridge from Dutch governor Wilhelm Kieft and later, from the Nyack Indians.
Over a couple of centuries, the City of Brooklyn gradually absorbed the other towns (after part of Flatlands became New Lots).
By 1896, Kings County and the City of Brooklyn were finally coterminous…but then, Brooklyn voted to consolidate with New York City, by a very thin margin, in 1898.
It was twinned in February 1977 with 1,076 seats on the orchestra level and 1,140 seats on the balcony level.
In February 1984 the balcony was divided into two auditoriums, making the theatre a triple-screen operation. At first I was stumped about what bank this present-day Chase was at 19th Avenue and 86th.
It was just a couple of years earlier everyone wore rags and smoked weed, vowing never to become The Man. People are instinctually acquisitive, and disco was emblematic of this characteristic. I’m unsure if these once-grand buildings came before the construction of the el in 1917-1919, or later.
A second former theater, recognizable as such by the comedy and tragedy terra cotta masks on the pediments, just south of 20th Avenue.Lenny’s Pizza, at 1969 86th, is indelibly imprinted as the pizzeria where John Travolta’s Tony Manero buys two slices and eats them while strutting down 86th Street at the opening scene of 1977’s .In the 1970s, I was amazed at how quickly the disco craze arose, and has never really left.I mean, one of these days, to walk 86th Street from the Narrows to Gravesend.It is the main east-west street in southwest Brooklyn, and contains many secrets of old.The town of New Utrecht was named for Utrecht, Netherlands, the 4th largest city in that country.