My neighbor, Bernie

March 30, 2016

In News

Bernie Sanders’ Brooklyn: Where the presidential candidate lived, went to school and more


By Nicole Brown March 29, 2016

It’s no secret that Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders hails from Brooklyn: You can tell the minute he starts talking.
But his accent isn’t the only thing he got from Brooklyn. His brother, Larry Sanders, who now lives in Oxford, England, said their childhood in Brooklyn has had clear influences on Bernie’s character and political beliefs.
Bernie opened a campaign headquarters in Gowanus, Brooklyn, with a block party on March 26, attracting many New York supporters. The senator is expected to campaign strongly in his home state before the primary on April 19. One Hillary Clinton aide said he expects him “to campaign like a Brooklynite.”
While there’s some question as to whether that was a compliment or not, it’s true Bernie is a Brooklynite. Here are some of the places the Vermont senator frequented while he lived in Brooklyn between 1941 and 1960.

East 26th Street in Midwood


Bernie, born in 1941, his brother Larry, who is seven years older, and their parents lived in an apartment building on East 26th Street between Kings Highway and Avenue P. Today, the neighborhood is known as Midwood, but Larry said it wasn’t called that when the Sanders family lived there.
“We were sort of undefined,” he said. “Sometimes we were part of Flatbush.”

P.S. 197 in Midwood


Bernie attended elementary school at P.S. 197 on East 22nd Street between Kings Highway and Avenue O. He played basketball at the school, and Larry said his brother always loved the sport, but that he wasn’t tall enough in high school to make the “first team.”

Kingsway Jewish Center in Midwood


The Sanders brothers attended Hebrew school on the weekends at the Kingsway Jewish Center on Kings Highway and Nostrand Avenue. Larry said both he and Bernie had their bar mitzvah celebrations at the center.
“We had a mainstream, traditional Jewish upbringing,” Larry said. While they grew up relatively secular, they had a “cultural attachment” to the religion, he said.

James Madison High School in Midwood
Bernie attended James Madison High School on Bedford Avenue between Quentin Road and Avenue P. During his four years at the school, Bernie ran on the track and field and cross-country teams and became captain his junior year. He was known as being one of the star runners, coming in first place multiple times in the Flatbush championships and third in the city in the indoor 1-mile race.
“The incredible stamina he’s got now comes from that time,” Larry said of his brother. “He never gave up.”

Kings Highway in Midwood

Larry said he and Bernie often ate at eateries along Kings Highway, including a Jewish deli and a Chinese restaurant, though he couldn’t remember their names.
“We were out for hours and hours after school,” Larry said. “We were very independent.”