Why this Blog Exists

To make the case for expanding the Park Slope Historic District

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Louis Bonert: 6th Avenue & 3rd Street, southeast corner, 1898

For the next chapter in our ever-unfolding tale of prolific Park Slope builder Louis Bonert, we return once more to the corner of 6th Avenue and 3rd Street. Two Brooklyn Eagle notices, published one day apart in 1898, announced Bonert's plans for a row of five four-story, four-family flats extending up 3rd Street from the southeast corner of 6th Avenue:

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 14, 1898, p. 14 ("Real Estate Market")

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 15, 1898, p. 14 ("Real Estate Market")

The reference to the corner building as a "frame" structure is clearly erroneous. By 1898, this corner was well within the "fire limits", the boundaries within which wood-frame construction was forbidden; only a stone structure could have been built here in 1898.

These are some of the more austere, yet elegant, apartment buildings constructed by Louis Bonert. He once again sets aside "fancy brick" in favor of smooth stone for the facade. He retains a protruding rounded window bay, but the bay is now extremely shallow and understated. The upper-story windows lack any kind of framing:

446-444-442-440 3rd Street - unprotected

What little ornamental flourish Bonert allows himself is confined to the first floor. His doorways are surrounded by a minimally decorative framing, with dentils above. Smooth-faced voussoirs contrast with rusticated stone at the basements.

But the framing around the first-floor bay windows is truly distinctive. We're not even sure how to describe the look... it appears somewhat as if every other stone has been removed from around the window!

446 3rd Street - detail

The corner building is much the same in the upper stories, although Bonert reverts here to a somewhat retrograde brownstone facing. The basement is consistent with the adjacent row, but the classical doorway with columns and entablature hearken back to Bonert's earlier work.

442-440-438 3rd Street - unprotected

With the completion of this row, Bonert could view his own buildings on all four corners of this intersection. He started building on the southwest corner in 1894; continued construction on the northwest corner in 1895 and on the northeast corner in 1896; and concluded here on the southeast corner in 1898. Truly the intersection of 6th Avenue and 3rd Street must be considered the "Louis Bonert epicenter" of Park Slope!

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