Stuyvesant Heights, a flat region of brownstone fronts and two-story homes lying east of Nostrand Avenue between Fulton Street and Broadway, contains the city's second largest Negro population. A few imposing church structures, the homes of some old families, and St. John's University are all that remain of a once prosperous middle-class neighborhood. The poorer Negroes, many of them on relief, are largely concentrated in such business and shopping centers as Gates and Sumner Avenues, Fulton and Jefferson Streets, Flushing, Lexington, and Myrtle Avenues--districts which for poverty and squalor are as bad as the worst areas of Harlem.
St. John's University, Willoughby and Lewis Avenues, was founded in 1870 as St. John's College. The main building, completed in 1870, houses the original College of Arts and Sciences, the Teachers' College, and the Graduate School. A fourteen-story structure, erected in 1929 at 96 Schermerhorn Street, provides quarters for the Schools of Law, Accounting, Commerce and Finance, and Pharmacy, and a division of the : College of Arts and Sciences. The curriculum of the College of Arts and Sciences is based on the traditional Catholic system of education with its emphasis on the humanities. More than nine thousand students annually matriculate at the university.
A new college center is being developed (1939) on the former site of the Hillcrest Golf Club, 176-30 Union Turnpike, Jamaica, where the College of Arts and Sciences and the administrative offices will be moved.
The Geographical Center of New York City lies two hundred feet west of Reid Avenue, between Van Buren Street and Greene Avenue.
245th Coast Artillery Armory, 357 Sumner Avenue, second largest armory in the country, was erected in 1894, and occupies about a square block. Its circular towers with narrow slit windows and castellated parapets on the top give it the appearance of a medieval fortress. The architect was R. L. Daus. The 245th was known during the war as the 59th Heavy Field Artillery and fought at St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne.
Tompkins Avenue Congregational Church, 480 Tompkins Avenue, boasts the largest church structure as well as the second largest Church membership of its denomination in the country. The church was organized in 1875, and the present building, a plain brick structure with a belfry at the corner, was dedicated in 1889. It occupies a ground plot of 135 feet by 205 feet, and rises more than 75 feet in height. The congregation numbers 2,440 members.
Statue of Robert Fulton, in Fulton Park, at Fulton Street and Stuyvesant Avenue, is a 10 1/2-foot zinc-and-copper figure showing the inventor of the steamboat resting one hand on a small boat model Caspar Buberl was the sculptor. The statue was first placed in 1872 in the Brooklyn Ferry House at the foot of Fulton Street. Years later it was found by the Society of Old Brooklynites in a junk pile. In 1930 the statue was rededicated on its present site.
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