Today’s news:

Newkirk Plaza merchants celebrate remarkable 100-year history

They’ve come to hold a fond place in the hearts of locals.

The nation’s “oldest outdoor pedestrian mall” and the train station overlooking it are now officially a pair of centenarians, and the local merchant’s association wasn’t going to let the milestone anniversary slide without a party.

Members of the Newkirk Plaza Merchants Association and other local residents assembled by the commercial corridor, beginning at Newkirk Avenue, off East 16th Street, to hail the 100th birthday of the two community stalwarts, which opened to the public in the early 1900s.

The two-track surface station was named South Midwood in reference to its location at the southern end of the former Town of Flatbush, which was then also known as Midwood.

In 1907, following the elimination of grade crossings – a crossing on one level without recourse to a tunnel or bridge – the station became a through stop for all services, and was renamed, Newkirk Avenue.

Today, the railing overlooking the train station, bears a poignant memorial plaque, honoring late 70th Police Officer Francis Hennessey, who patrolled the mall.

The 35-year-old law enforcer died from an aneurism after collapsing while responding to an unfounded report of a man with a gun in January 2006.

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