Highland Park YMCA

The land where the YMCA stands was originally part of the Gilliam Schenck farm, which extended from roughly Essex Street east towards Hale Ave. The houses in the view above were torn down in 1925 to make room for the new YMCA, and the ripped up photo below was discovered by my cousin and was being discarded by the Y!

Jamaica Ave, 1923
The photo at the top of the page is from 1923.It is a view looking west down Jamaica Ave. The house on the corner belonged to John Eldert. The structure known as the Rapelje Homestead was eventually sold to Albert Van Siclen, the son-in-law of Gilliam Schenck (these surnames sound familiar?). The postcard on the right circa 1915 gives a good view looking south towards Jamaica.
Rapelje House, 1925
This is a 'better' image, which was actually rescued from the YMCA trash back in the 1970's by my cousin. The house is being torn down to make way for the YMCA.
26th Ward Branch YMCA
Maker: Souvenir Post Card Co. Dated: 1907 Status: Own(RG)
A repeat shot from Pennsylvania Avenue., the original YMCA for the area. Opened Nov 6, 1893. It became the Polish Facon's Nest, a social club and can be seen on the Pennsylvania Avenue page. Damaged by fire in the mid-1950s, it was demolished and replaced by a diner.
Some real YMCA trivia- East New York had another official YMCA branch at the turn of the century, housed in the BRT (Brooklyn Rapid Transit) Railroad Men's building. Pictured here in 1903, it was organized July 7, 1903 and I'm not sure when the chapter closed. The building was removed in 1948 for the ENY bus depot.
Here's a cool artifact owned by my cousin John Cornell. It's a telegraph from 1928, addressed to the YMCA from the Graf Zeppelin.
The tax photos circa 1940 are nothing special but show the change in the block after the YMCA was built.
Peter Stango sent in this color slide shot, taken from Highland Park. Note the huge advertising sign on the roof and the pumping station chimney in the distance.
Championship team, 1941
Peter Stango also sent in this shot of his Uncle Ray DeStefano's championship plaque. His uncle recalls that the Prospect Park YMCA did not consider them a worthy enough opponent to face only to meet and get beaten by them in the finals.
Y Teams 1960s
That not so imposing looking basketball team was a Y squad in the late 60s. I recognize Bobby Russo on the far left and Kenny Shaeffer wearing number 6. Philip Pecorella ID'd himself wearing#7. On the right John Cornell supplied the shot celebrating one of the Y's hockey squads in the early 1970s.
This shot is from Ken Morville's collection, it is Kenny in the gym in the 1970's. At the top of the photo you can see the edge of the running track.
Peter Stango sends in these shots of the Y in the 1970s; the first shows the sign in front as we remember it; the shows the running track above the gym in the 1970s.
Peter also sent in this shot of the game room from the 1970s. Linda Feiling Weiss IDs the ping pong player as Jo Ann Inch from Shepherd Ave. On the right, circa 1974, another gym shot from Peter during summer camp with the punching bag visible in the background.
I matched up my cousin's "Minnow Club" YMCA swim ID with a shot of the pool.
Thanks to Bob Alvarez for sending over a 1974 summer program (with a lot of familiar names) - the program offered gymnastics, and Bob even supplied a photo of that from Ken Morville's collection.
The inside of that 1974 program.
In the early 1970s the Y acquires the adjacent lot and creates an outdoor facility. This shot from my cousin John Cornell is circa 1975.John also sent over some early 70s patches and IDs.
YMCA and lot views, 2006