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Street Value Shopping, Planning, and Politics at Fulton Mall Rosten Woo and Meredith TenHoor with Damon Rich Princeton Architectural Press New York


6 Introduction 10 Merchants on the mall 16 down on the street Photo Essay by Gus Powell 32 INVISIBLE STREET A HISTORY OF FULTON MALL Rosten Woo 116 planning conversations Meredith TenHoor 174 More on Malls, Architecture, and Planning, circa 1968 Meredith TenHoor 188 Afterword Fulton Mall Streetscape Design Guidelines Damon Rich 202 Bibliography 206 Acknowledgments


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Street Dreams Artists’ renderings of a new Fulton Street, 1929–2008

1929 Take the shopping crowd off Fulton Street and let motorists use it

1945 Remove the elevated train to reveal the street

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1979 Unify the street with urban design features and signage regulations

2008 Remove all traces of 1979

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Not many stories get told about Fulton Mall without some reference to a bygone era—when the streets were thronged with shoppers coming from miles around to socialize, shop, and find goods that couldn’t be found elsewhere. Consider this quote from the New York Times in 1998:

As the paper of record can tell you, the golden age of Fulton Street arrived in the mid-1940s and centered on a specific kind of shopping experience epitomized by Abraham & Straus’s department store.1 There were bargains, for sure, but also ele­ gance and generosity. For a generation of Brooklyn residents, Abraham & Straus, Korvettes, Schrafft’s, and J. W. Mays still conjure up a scene of the postwar glamour of the department store: live models in the windows, Santa at Christmas time—a style of consumption that came with a brand of civic pride, at least for the white middle- and working-class shoppers that were welcomed.

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Shopping on Fulton Street. Top: a drawing of Abraham and Straus circa 1900; Bottom: customers crowding Loeser’s in 1952

A Faded, Bygone Existence


Street Value: Shopping, Planning, and Politics at Fulton Mall