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East Midwood and Nottingham

The history of East Midwood, which lies near the northeastern corner of today’s Midwood, began in the first decade of the twentieth century.  During this period, the area bounded by Ocean Avenue, Bedford Avenue, the Long Island Railroad recessed track (called “the cut”), and Avenue L was sold in 40-by-100-foot parcels, zoned for single-family detached houses.  Streets were planned, sidewalks laid out, roadways paved, and in 1923 a neighborhood organization was founded.

Nottingham remained largely undeveloped even after 1921, when its neighborhood organization was founded by Joe Dorman, a New York City fire commissioner.  The Nottingham area covered only nine square blocks then, from East 21st Street to East 29th Street, between Avenues L and M, but as houses were built in the 1920s, the neighborhood’s boundaries stretched to include areas north and south.  Both Nottingham and East Midwood have no large stores and few small ones.  Residents work to keep the areas noncommercial, and their efforts have kept property values rising.  There are no large apartment buildings within these small neighborhoods.

In the 1920s and 1930s, and even into the 1940s, most Midwood residents were Italian American and Jewish.  Since the 1980s, however, more Orthodox Jews have been moving into the neighborhoods; today they make up approximately half of Midwood’s population.  Many of the residents of Midwood are Hasidic Jews.  Both Ashkenazi Jews from northern Europe and Sephardic Jews from the Middle East and southern Europe live in Midwood.