Brooklyn, NY – Revolutionary War Brewing in Crown Heights Over Street Excavation

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    Crown Heights architect Michael Cetera kneels on Clove Road, where he says historical artifacts from the 1770s should be unearthed.  Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/brooklyn/2010/06/10/2010-06-10_street_a_war_zone_dig_in_crown_hts_to_hunt_for_1776_artifacts.html#ixzz0qUPxaqVECrown Heights, NY – Neighborhood activists hope an archaeological excavation will unearth Revolutionary War artifacts beneath Clove Road, a tiny, crumbling street.

    The dig will be launched this summer – despite a study that was lukewarm on whether the street was an American outpost from the 1776 Battle of Brooklyn.

    “This is not your average street,” said Community Board 9 District Manager Pearl Miles. “There’s more than meets the eye.”

    But not everybody is happy about the impending dig – mostly nearby residents who say it will be dangerous and disruptive.

    “How is it going to help me?” said Dvorah Eidelman, 41, a mother of eight who lives on Malbone St., which intersects with Clove Road. “It’s going to be a mess. My children are young and they’re going to run around. It could be dangerous.”

    The 2002 report by the RBA Group, a private engineering and architectural firm hired by the city, found that 800 American soldiers guarded the road – then known as the Bedford Pass – in August 1776 before retreating from advancing British forces.

    Even though evidence was thin that important archeological objects would be found, the report concluded the dig should go forward because it “would enhance our understanding of American defenses in Brooklyn” and “provide a glimpse” of how camp life was for the troops.

    The city Transportation Department wanted to reconstruct Clove Road – a one-block stretch of cobblestones, cracked pavement and potholes – but halted its plans to wait to see what the 2002 study would find.

    The project languished until Councilwoman Letitia James (WFP-Prospect Heights) provided $200,000 to fund it last year.

    Neighbors have complained that the street has deteriorated during the wait for a dig that might not yield anything important.

    “The street looks like a Third World country,” said Solomon Neubort, 42, a lawyer on Malbone St. “You may be imposing a great burden on residents of the streets without much of a payback.”

    Advocates said the road, which was also part of a 19th century route between Brooklyn’s jail and mental hospital, needs recognition – even if archaeologists don’t uncover anything.

    “Somewhere near here was a battle or event that is not being properly commemorated,” said Michael Cetera, 64, a Crown Heights architect who has called for turning Clove Road into a park or pedestrian path. “We’re trying to reconstruct history.”

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    16 COMMENTS

    1. I love archaeology and think this is fantastic news. The street is only one block long, so it’s not a big deal to take it out of commission for a while, remove all the surface layers and see what’s below.

    2. The chevrah from Crown Heights clearly have no sense of strategic planning and how to respond to these excavation plans. They should have some “expert” announce that he had found firm evidence that the street contained kevorim of 17th century “colonial era chassidim”. Within 48 hours there would be riots from Chareidim protesting the disturbance of yiddeshe remains. Chartererd flights would be arriving at JFK from eretz yisroel with more protestors experienced with burning dumpsters and throwing dirty diapers. Before you know it, any plans for an “archeological dig’ will be quickly cancelled.

      • Why do the jews have to think they own everything. I say dig the hell up out of that street, just to piss them off. In fact I’m going to volounteer just so I can see the looks on the faces of those miserable old jewish hags.

    3. Go take a look at Kingston Avenue near Eastern Parkway. The old street car tracks are fully exposed, asphalt is missing extensively, and the bricks underneath are showing.

      Why doesn’t the neighborhood do something about this dangerous situation (to cars, bicylists, and pedestrians)?

    4. They should dig and see if there are any artifacts under the road. It will be educational for the children to see that we take out history seriously.

    5. Reply to #4 – they are workin to redo the whole kingston — hence the mess.
      As a CH resident I’m extremly happy that we’ve got so much hisrory right here in my frontyard

    6. Growing up in CH, they also said that Clove St. was an Indian trading road dating before the Revolution, and that it connected to Kings Highway, the major Indian road of Western Long Island. Clove Street is on the last remaining part of this road.

      As for finding Revolutionary artifacts, the ideal place to look for these would be in the north-eastern area of Prospect Park, where Gen. Washington camped out during the disastrous Battle of Long Island, in 1776. How many yeshiva kids know that this area of Brooklyn was where the whole Revolution began, with the very first battle fought here?

      The British were able to surround the American forces by dispatching soldiers all the way east to New Lots Ave. (East NY), and then crossing through Bed-Sty to Prospect Heights-Park Slope. This forced the American to retreat to Williamsburg-Greenpoint, from where they famously crossed in the dark of night on small boats to Manhattan. Not one soldier was lost or left behind in this crossing of the East River.

      Also, the British landed on Long Island from Staten Island in Sunset Park. So it’s possible that they marched through Boro Park to fight in Prospect Park.

      (V. “1776” D. MuCullough)

    7. Why are you all a bunch of Yentas? You can understand that in middle of “Yerushalayim Ir Hakodesh” there should be excavations because maybe they will find an old sefer torah or genizza that will bring back our past. They dig everywhere to fing old Keilim possibly from Bayis Rishon or Sheni. This one understands.
      Why can’t you understand your neighbors that they want to build. Don’t kvetch about the inconvenience.

      What you should ask for is that the excavation process should not be started until it is well planned, so that it doesn’t take forever. They should have a plan that it should cause the least inconvenience to all neighbors black or white. Bus routes should not be affected or alternate plans should be considered. It should be a safe worksite, where children are not injured, Excavations should take place on reasonable hours, etc etc. Living and coexisting and understanding others is crucial

    8. Isnt it funny how when they find something “old” in the USA, its maybe 300 years old but in EY, when they find things, they are 3 THOUSAND years old????

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