Why this Blog Exists

To make the case for expanding the Park Slope Historic District

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Brownstone-front Italianate

Later in the 19th century, houses faced with brownstone emerged as the latest fashion. These were basically the same structures as the brick-front Italianate houses that preceded them, but with a thin veneer of chocolate-colored brownstone. Many examples can be found in Park Slope, both within and outside the current Historic District. Most of them date from the early to mid-1870s. The facades are flat (i.e. no projecting bays), are 3 windows wide, and have either fully-enframed windows or slightly-rounded hoods over the windows. Doorways feature rounded or peaked pediment hoods.

The following brownstone-front Italianate houses stand in Park Place, between 6th and 7th Avenues, within the current Park Slope Historic District. #113 has fully-enframed windows and was begun in 1872 by neighborhood builder John Gordon. #115 has rounded hoods over the windows and was built in 1870-72 by John Magilligan.

111-113-115 Park Place (Park Slope Historic Distric)

Below are nearly identical brownstone-faced Italianate houses elsewhere in Park Slope. However none of the following examples is included in the current Historic District:

30-28-26 Sterling Place - unprotected

3rd Street between 6th & 5th Avenues - unprotected

6th Street between 6th & 5th Avenues - unprotected

One wonders whether there is any neighborhood in the city where block after block of Italianate houses stand unprotected, excluded from any historic district. These blocks are the heart of Park Slope.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Brick-front Italianate

Some of the oldest houses in Park Slope can be found in the blocks adjacent to Flatbush Avenue. The simple, flat-front Italianate houses below are in 7th Ave. just off Flatbush, and are within the boundaries of the current Park Slope Historic District, which was designated in 1973. According to the Designation Report, these houses were built in 1860 by Charles S. Scribner of 300 Dean St. in Boerum Hill.

8-16 Seventh Avenue, Park Slope Historic District

Looking more closely at one of these houses, one notes how the parlor windows drop gracefully all the way to the floor, maximizing the interior light:

12 Seventh Avenue, Park Slope Historic District

Meanwhile, one block downhill in Sixth Avenue, just off Flatbush, stands a row of very similar houses that are not included in the current Historic District. This row is also Italianate and was undoubtedly built within a few years of the row above.

96-88 Sixth Avenue - unprotected

These houses in Sixth Avenue boast gracefully rounded door hoods lacking in the Seventh Avenue row, but are otherwise nearly identical:

92 Sixth Avenue - unprotected

There are many similar houses nearby in the North Slope, off Flatbush. Below is part of a row in Prospect Place between 5th & 6th Avenues, simple brick-front Italianate from the mid 19th century:

53-55-57 Prospect Place - unprotected

Why were the houses in Seventh Avenue included in the current Park Slope Historic District, while the ones in Sixth Avenue and Prospect Place were not? It makes no sense.

Update: Two of the houses in the 6th Ave. row have small, modern plaques embedded in the facade between the parlor floor windows. The plaques read "1867".

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

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