The place name "Flatbush" is an Anglicization of one of the early Dutch names for the area. I've seen the Dutch variously given as vlacke bos, vladbos, and flakkebos. I've seen this translated as "wooded plain", "wooded land" and "flat woods". In other words, the name describes the landscape prior to Dutch colonization of the area in the 1600s.

Much of the area remained farmland and relatively undeveloped through the 19th Century. The last vestiges of these original woods were lost with Victorian-era development in the 1890s.

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Generations of Dynamism in Flatbush, Francis Morrone, NY Sun, October 13, 2006

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