Lefferts Manor is a landmark neighborhood located in the borough of Brooklyn, New York. It occupies an eight-block rectangle within Prospect Lefferts Gardens which is described by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission as “one of the finest enclaves of late 19th- and early 20th-century housing in New York City.”
The Prospect-Lefferts Gardens is surrounded by Empire Boulevard (formerly Malbone Street) to the north, Clarkson Avenue to the south, New York Avenue to the east, and Ocean Avenue/Prospect Park to the west. It is part of Brooklyn Community Board 9. The Brooklyn Museum and Brooklyn Botanic Garden are just a short distance away. Midtown and downtown Manhattan are not too far off and just a half-hour subway ride away.
In 1893, James Lefferts, a descendant of early Dutch settlers, decided that the portion of his large farm in northern Flatbush Village would be subdivided for development. He divided it into 600 plots but was hesitant to sell them off to just anybody. Hence he put in perpetual warning covenants to each lot. In order to ensure that the neighborhood would contain homes of a substantial nature, Lefferts attached land-use deed restrictions, dictating that each lot contain a single family residence built of brick or stone at least two stories in height plus a cellar and set back at least 14 feet from the street. The land-use covenant still exists in Lefferts Manor.
In the late 19th century, several houses in Lefferts Manor were built and the last of which were constructed in the late 1950s. Lefferts Manor and parts of Lefferts Avenue and Sterling Street, not in the single-family covenant, were granted landmark status by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1979. The completions of Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Bridge and the development of the mass transit systems in Kings County saw a major shift of population into the neighboring northern communities such as Park Slope.
Lefferts Manor was a middle-class community until the 1950s. Most of its first (male) residents were either professional or white-collar workers namely businessmen, doctors, lawyers, builders, stockbrokers, real estate brokers, clerks, and artists. Some residents have lived here all their lives; others have relocated from apartments in Manhattan and Park Slope.
There are still residents are involved in different neighborhood associations and work with local officials to make Lefferts Manor a strong, pleasing community in which to live and raise families. Local transportation is so expedient that one does not really need to use a car. The beautiful single family homes and tree lined streets have the ambiance of a small town but withal the conveniences of a big city. The neighborhood is defined by the limits created by Lincoln Road, Flatbush Avenue, Fenimore Street, and Rogers Avenue.