Places that Matter

Transit Club (former)

Martha Cooper
Martha Cooper
Hall for hire run by the Surface Line Operators Fraternal Organization
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Note: As of our inquiry in 2008, the Transit Club is no longer at this location, and may have closed permanently.

Started in 1956 by a group of transit workers, the Surface Line Operators Fraternal Organization (SLOFO) has from the start focused on providing both tangible member benefits such as insurance policies, and a social gathering place in the form of the Transit Hall. Housed in two different sites in Bedford-Stuyvesant over the years, the Transit Hall has not only served SLOFO members, but has also been a community resource as a rental hall and gathering place.

SLOFO was originally housed in a little storefront on Fulton Street, two blocks west of Sumner Avenue. It was essentially a clubhouse, a place where members could meet, hang out, and play pool. This space soon became too small to hold the growing membership, so in 1961 the organization moved to its present location in a spacious three-story corner commercial building. Members primarily use the basement recreation area and the first floor bar and clubhouse. A second-floor dance hall is rented out to community groups, and the third floor contains rental offices. Henry Bramwell, a lawyer and the first African American appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, aided the group's move to the Willoughby building and helped its membership grew to over 1000 (full members are all transit workers, but municipal and postal workers can be associate members).