A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from September 22, 2005
Swedish Broadway (Atlantic Avenue)
Atlantic Avenue (Brooklyn) used to be called "Swedish Broadway" in the 1890s and soon thereafter, but it has entirely lost its Swedish influence. Middle Eastern stores can be seen there today.

Cobble Hill, W. central sect. of borough of Brooklyn, N.Y. city, SE N.Y., S of Atlantic Ave., N of Carroll Gardens, and just below Brooklyn Heights. Brownstone dist. whose roots date to 17th-cent. Du. farm country; filled with comfortable row houses built in mid—19th cent. and occupied largely by Germans and Italians, followed by an influx of Syrians and Lebanese after World War I. Atlantic Ave., known as "Swedish Broadway" at turn of cent., is now famous for its many Middle Eastern businesses; it is known as N.Y. city's Middle East.

3. In the mid-20th century, there was a street nicknamed "Swedish Broadway." When the former Washington Market area was demolished to construct the World Trade Center, the Middle Eastern community was forced to move. With the convenience of the South Ferry, the Middle Eastern community logically moved across the water to "Swedish Broadway." Today, there is not one Swedish or Scandinavian business left on the street. In fact, Sahadi's, on this thoroughfare, is the largest importer of Middle Eastern foods in the United States. What street was formerly "Swedish Broadway" and is today the center of the Middle Eastern markets?

a) Stuyvesant Street in St. George, Staten Island
b) Montague Street, Brooklyn Heights
c) Bay Street in Stapleton, Staten Island
d) Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn
New test samples: 1. B; 2. C; 3. D; 4. D

There were a significant number of Scandinavians who immigrated to Brooklyn around the turn of the century. Many of them settled in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn. Many of them also settled in the area near the harbor end of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. In 1893 the "Standard- Union" called this area the "Swedish Broadway".

The Norwegians were the largest group from Scandinavia. The Norwegian Seaman's Church was a 33 First Place, Brooklyn in what is not the Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn. It is currently a condo.

Most of the Norwegians in Red Hook came from southern Norway.

The proposition looked interesting, so shortly thereafter I accepted the position. I was advised that in Brooklyn there was large element of Scandinavians. Hence I took my residence there; on making inquiry where to find the Scandinavian district, I was told that Atlantic Avenue was the Swedish Broadway, and here is where my first contact is made. In walking along the avenue for several blocks, I am at Third Avenue and there is a sign "Ostene Herald" [actually Osterns Härold] (a Swedish newspaper.) I enter and, after a personal introduction to its business manager, Peter Magnuson, who was about to leave for the day [sic]. We adjourned to a nearby restaurant, and so after a good dinner, and various interesting topics of conversation, I asked if there was any special project that would have the universal interest of the Swedish people.

"Well, he said, "we have a Swedish college here in Brooklyn. Its name is Upsala."

15 May 1949, New York Times, pg. 70:
An altar cloth or antependium embroidered by King Gustaf V of Sweden will be presented on his behalf by a representative of the Swedish Consulate to Bethlehem Lutheran Church of Brooklyn, Third Avenue and Pacific Street, as a seventy-fifty anniversary gift at 4 P. M. today, it was announced yesterday.
The Bethlehem Church was organized by immigrants from Sweden on April 15, 1874, when the neighborhood of the church, because of the many Scandinavian residents, was known as the "Swedish Broadway."

Posted by Barry Popik
Streets • (0) Comments • Thursday, September 22, 2005 • Permalink