Desmond Atkins is 59 years-old and has lived in Crown Heights for most of his life. He knew a lot about the history of the neighborhood and enthusiastically shared his knowledge with us at LaunchPad.
Desmond told us about the live music scene at Kingston Lounge, a now abandoned bar and grill on Kingston and Bergen. Desmond remembers listening to musicians play the songs of Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Lloyd Kitchener. Jazz, rock n' roll, blues and calypso music played to large audiences from 1944 until the establishment was closed down in the 1980s after being cited for health code violations. "If you go by there you can still see some of its original splendor," said Desmond. He talked about the fluorescent lighting with great nostalgia. "But now," he said, "the place is pretty much a shell of its original self."
Photograph taken by Richard Nickel, Jr. at kingstonlounge.blogspot.com
"A dance [at Kingston Lounge] was typically a family affair," Desmond told us. "You'd have everyone from Grandma and Grandpa to a baby in the stroller. People would typically bring their food and they would sit there and eat together. That had a lot to do with keeping the family together - through socializing."