Brooklyn Man Uncovers Mozart Garden Mystery (sort of)

Brooklyn theatre expert Cezar Del Valle (center, holding papers) frequently teaches about Brooklyn theatrical history

Brooklyn theatre expert Cezar Del Valle (center, holding papers) frequently teaches about Brooklyn theatrical history

In 2010, seven years into my pedestriennes’ journey, I needed more info than I could get at home, so I flew to Brooklyn to find out more about Mozart Garden and the city’s rich entertainment history.   Specifically, I wanted a picture of Brooklyn’s Mozart Garden, which stood at the corner of Fulton and Smith Streets, in the heart of the city’s thriving entertainment district.   On my first day, I walked into the Brooklyn Public Library and explained my situation to librarian Joy Holland.   “You need to talk with Cezar Del Valle,” she said.   “Who’s he?”   “He knows everything about the history of the Brooklyn theatrical district. He even leads walking tours of the entertainment areas.”

Meeting Del Valle

She scheduled a meeting for the next day.  We met in the library’s foyer. I asked questions; Cezar didn’t disappoint.    Joy had not over sold.   Since 2010, Cezar has written three books on the subject, The Brooklyn Theatre Index Volume 1 and Volume 2. Each won an “Outstanding Book of the Year” by the Theatre Historical Society of America.   Volume 3 was published last September.      He told stories, many about the frequent fires that decimated many venues.   He obscure references to the theatrical district, much of that about the frequency of fires, and some articles about Madame Anderson’s walk.   But he had no picture of Mozart Garden.  Through the years, we kept in touch, and I would occasionally e-mail him just as a follow-up.

                                                                                                 Finally, Good News

19th Century Card showing AJ Nutting Clothiers, formerly Mozart Garden

19th Century Card showing AJ Nutting Clothiers, formerly Mozart Garden

Drawn from memory, Mozart Garden seen in lower right

Drawn from memory, Mozart Garden seen in lower right

Nothing.   Until this week.   Days ago, he sent me two images of Mozart Garden. They weren’t classic photos, onewas “a trade card from the 19th century.” By this time, the garden had become AJ Nutting & Co. Fine Clothiers. The other was from a 1954 issue of the Brooklyn Eagle where HC Roth had, from memory, drawn parts of Fulton St. In the lower right hand corner you can see a building marked, Mozart Garden.’ While not priceless images, they are the first visuals of this important venue, and they represent the filling of more puzzle pieces and solving the mysteries of the pedestriennes.

 

 

Volumes 1 and 2 of Cezaer Del Valle's "Brooklyn Theatre Index."

Volumes 1 and 2 of Cezaer Del Valle’s “Brooklyn Theatre Index.”

For more on Cezar Del Valle’s tours: www.theatretalks.com books: www.brooklyntheatreindex.com

 

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