November 2, 2012, Friday, 306


From The Peopling of New York City

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Brooklyn Air Disaster


About Me

Hello readers, thanks for visiting my wiki!

I'm Josh Barocas, a freshman at Brooklyn College, majoring in Music and Psychology.

My family has immigrated to this country from various places in Eastern Europe, constantly racing to find a step towards affluence, and eventually settling in New York City, and staying here. I grew up in Brooklyn, and really have no desire to leave. My acceptance into the Macaulay Honors College as well as the Brooklyn College Conservatory cemented my connection to the borough and the city at large. I don't want to leave, and don't have to. Now, doing this project, I find that my feeling of nativity is not the end-all be-all of my relationship with this city. It is constantly deepening, changing and revealing new faces, much like the city itself.

Current day Sterling Place
Current day Sterling Place

Thoughts for my Wiki

Having grown up in Brooklyn, this wiki project really piqued my curiosity, and I immediately thought of the block I grew up on, Sterling Place in Park Slope, as a perfect candidate. There has always been a feeling of neighborhood solidarity to this Northern chunk of the Slope, whether it was due to the abundance of friends on the block, or simply the staying power of the middle class families in that part of the neighborhood. Each year, fewer and fewer of us can be found there. But this does not necessarily alter the aesthetic of the area: the North Slope is a place of constant change.

So I set to work digging into the history of this little corner of Park Slope. Immediately I was faced with something huge, both in its historical significance and its presence in my own life. Why hadn't I thought of this before?

In 1960, two planes collided in the sky above New York City. One landed in Staten Island. The other landed right here in Park Slope, on the corner of Sterling Place and Seventh Avenue. The effect was devastating. Lives were lost while the roofs were pulled right off the tops of brownstones, and churches burned to the ground.

Walking around Park Slope, I always took notice of the empty lot that sat on this corner, and so my curiosity, steadily increasing since I was a young child, has culminated in this project.

The Project

Thinking of ways to approach the project was quite a reflective process for me. I looked back on my life in Park Slope, trying to bring some of the things that seemed doomed to forever lurk in the background right to the forefront of my memory. Many things came to mind, but after lots of thinking, and some direction from Professor Wills, I decided to focus on two main questions: Why did the lot remain empty for so long? And why did I, having spent my entire life on this block, never know about the tragedy?

After a couple of discouraging trips to the Brooklyn College Archives and the New York Public Library, I was ecstatic to find that the Brooklyn Public Library had an extensive file on the topic, which guided me to several other sources. I found answers to my questions, and my curiosity now feels quite sated.

The process was extremely fulfilling, and I feel privileged to have taken part in the project!

Take a look at my wiki page!


  1.|accessed on 4/21/2009