Fort Greene Tour Highlights Michael Jordan, Walt Whitman and Tootsie Rolls

By Janet Upadhye on June 24, 2014 8:43am 

 The Wallabout Tour begins in Fort Greene Park and ends at Walt Whitman's former home at 99 Ryerson St.
The Wallabout Tour begins in Fort Greene Park and ends at Walt Whitman's former home at 99 Ryerson St.
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Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership

FORT GREENE — It's a stroll into the neighborhood's past.

A new tour will take participants past the hospital where Michael Jordan was born, the home where Walt Whitman grew up and the place where Tootsie Rolls were once mass-produced.

The Wallabout Tour, led by historian Chad Purkey, is a free historic walking tour of the Wallabout section of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill — an area bounded by Myrtle Avenue and Flushing avenues on the north and south and Classon and Flatbush avenues on the east and west.

The area, most of which is designated as a historic district by The Landmarks Preservation Commission, is a unique mix of pre-Civil War homes and late 19th century industrial buildings, according to the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, which is sponsoring the tours with the Fort Greene Park Conservancy and the Walt Whitman Project.

The tour takes place every third Saturday of the month through September and starts in Fort Greene Park. It then then ventures up St. Edwards Place to The Auburn Family Shelter, which was once Cumberland Hospital where basketball star Michael Jordan was born in 1963.

Purkey will then pass the home of Lipman Emanuel "Lip" Pike, the first professional Jewish baseball player, and Rockwood Chocolate Factory where Tootsie Rolls were made from the 1950s to 1967.

The factory is now loft condos.

The tour ends at Walt Whitman's former home at 99 Ryerson St.

Purkey, who has a degree in historic preservation, will also discuss the neighborhood's founding in the early 1600’s by the Dutch and comment on the architecture, culture and history of the district.

The tour begins in Fort Greene Park at 11 a.m. and includes a 1.5 mile walk. The event is free, but space is limited and registration is required.

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