On Christmas Day 2005, a car crashed into our old fashioned Victorian street clock on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Sterling Place.
Flatbush Avenue and Sterling Place Victorian Replica Clock
Within a few weeks, the Victorian style timepiece and its cast-iron pole had been removed, arousing the concern of some of the neighborhood residents.
One resident, Mr. Mark Rykoff, who fittingly enough, edits photographs for Time magazine, said that his earliest memory of New York happens to involve a street clock, the elegant 1927 timepiece outside the Sherry-Netherland Hotel on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, where he stayed as a child in 1973.
After he moved to Sterling Place in 2002, Mr. Rykoff said, the Sterling Place clock on his corner with its Roman numerals and decorative scroll work trim, became equally important to him. “It added an exclamation point to his neighborhoods feeling of historicity”. As long as the clock’s wires continued to poke out of the sidewalk, residents held out hope for its return. But for a long time, when the hole was cemented over, some have feared that the clock was going to be gone for good.
Maybe not, Regina Cahill, President of the North Flatbush Avenue District Management Association, said that her group, which oversees the local business improvement district, had removed the clock for safekeeping and was storing it on property belonging to the Pintchik hardware store on Bergen Street.
“Right now we are trying to see where we can get funding to put it back”, said Regina.”we are a little in limbo”.
The fiberglass replica of a Victorian design was installed around 1982 along with an identical twin a few block down Flatbush Avenue near Sixth Avenue. Even before it’s accident, the Sterling Place clock had led a hard knock life. In 1989, a truck backed into the clock, snapping it in half. After being repaired, the clock ran for years without incident until its electrical line was inadvertently cut , paralyzing its hands. Just when the local effort to restore its power was nearly complete, the clock was felled again when it was suddenly run down.
The total cost to replace and install a new clock was estimated at $20,000. The North Flatbush Avenue BID received $10,000 from the driver’s insurance company, and an addtional $5,000 from the generous support of the Office of Council Member Letitia James. With generous contributions form local merchants and residents, the North Flatbush Avenue BID was able to fund the remaining balance. Three months later, the replacement clock was installed and in August 2008 power was supplied to it.
Surrounded by members of the North Flatbush Avenue Business Improvement District, local merchants and neighbors, the Victorian Clock stands tall once more.
Everyone came out to see the new repaired clock on the corner. At its inauguration, Council-Member Letitia James was awarded with a dedication plaque for her effort. Board of Directors of the North Flatbush Avenue Business Improvement District, the BID’s Executive Director and neighborhood merchants and residents came out to show support for the Victorian Clock. One local merchant, Murat Uyaroglu, owner of Prospect Perk coffee shop, was very happy. “It’s going to be a good landmark for any business”, said Uyaroglu. “If you want to know directions to my coffee shop, just look for the beatiful old Victorian Clock on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Sterling Place”.