The Fulton Mall is really the great connector of many of the Downtown Brooklyn Legends, like the Fulton Street Elevated Line, X Marks the Spot on Albee Square, Beat Street Records, the Dime Savings Bank, Edna Lewis, Gage + Tollner, much of Vaudeville Brooklyn, and, by proxy, Junior’s.
Long before Brooklyn and Manhattan were connected by magnificent bridges, the two boroughs were connected by the Fulton Steam Ferry service, launched by Robert Fulton in 1814. On the Brooklyn side, our east-west Fulton Street thoroughfare starts from the Brooklyn Heights Fulton Landing on the water, then stretches through Downtown Brooklyn and Fort Greene to Bedford-Stuyvesant.
As traffic here increased thanks to its connection to Manhattan, Fulton Street became a hive of commercial activity, lined with major department stores like A & S, which owned several buildings along Fulton until it folded entirely under Macy’s, still a mainstay in the neighborhood today.
In 1900, Downtown Brooklyn was one of the finest retail neighborhoods in the entire city. New Yorkers of all backgrounds, races, and ages got dressed up to go shopping on Fulton Street, donning their hats, gloves, suits, ties and beautiful dresses to spend the day strolling. At the same time, Vaudeville became a global phenomenon, and Fulton Street was home to many of Brooklyn’s most famous theaters.
As times and neighborhoods changed, Fulton Street was eventually transformed into the pedestrian-friendly Fulton Mall in the 1980s after a major investment by the City of New York.
The mall then became a mecca for street and sneaker culture. Hip hop lifestyle was on full display, as Albee Square became known for its rap battles, Beat Street Records brought DJs and rappers from around the world through its doors, and sneaker heads came here first when a new shoe dropped.
Today, tens of thousands of shoppers head to the Fulton Mall to shop, where they can find the hundreds of small business and national brands that have made it a major shopping destination yet again.
Our Legends Artists
A series of nine drawings by Macaro, and a large scale painting by Adam Suerte.
About the Downtown Brooklyn Legends Pop-Up
They say you can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been. No matter the era, Downtown Brooklyn has always been at the center of Brooklyn’s renaissance, as it evolved from a turn-of-the-century shopping destination to a mecca for hip hop culture, and now, the most famous borough in the world. This Downtown Brooklyn Legends Popup Gallery helps to tell the rich history of the area in a way that speaks to people’s hearts as much as their minds. The hardworking Brooklynites of the past made this borough what it is today, and through the work of these 21 artists, we are telling key stories as Brooklyn speeds into the future.
All the pieces will be available to view (and purchase) at the Downtown Brooklyn Legends popup gallery at the Brooklyn Historical Society December 9 – 31, 2016. Proceeds go toward the artists.