Why this Blog Exists

To make the case for expanding the Park Slope Historic District

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Louis Bonert: 6th Avenue and 3rd Street, Northwest Corner, 1895

The unfolding story of Park Slope builder Louis Bonert next resumes in late 1894, when the following notice appeared in the New York Times, documenting the sale (by John Pullman, broker) of a large parcel of lots from Edward H. Litchfield to Louis Bonert at the northwest corner of 6th Avenue and 3rd Street. The article notes that the parcel was over 254 feet long. Since the combined distance from 3rd Street to 2nd Street is only 200 feet (a typical lot in brownstone Brooklyn is 100' deep), we can assume that the parcel ran westerly from the corner. And indeed, when we view the 3rd Street buildings in our comprehensive Park Slope photo archive, we can immediately detect the work of Louis Bonert.

New York Times, December 1, 1894, p. 15 ("Brooklyn Realty Matters")

Bonert's original plans for ten "detached" buildings seem not to have been realized. The buildings we see today form a continuous row of twelve apartment houses in several styles. We shall walk through the row from west to east.

The first two buildings are in his classic "Green Man"-style with which we have become quite familiar from recent posts, here executed in very light brick:

407-409 3rd Street - unprotected

A slight innovation here is the use of a rounded window bay at #409, instead of the more usual 3-sided or "octagonal" bay at #407. But otherwise these are classic Bonerts, similar to many others he erected in Park Slope around 1894. Next to these is a matching pair at #411-413, in darker brick and stone trim but otherwise identical to the first pair:

411-413-415 3rd Street - unprotected

Next come four buildings in a stylistic departure for Bonert. The first one, #415 (on the right in the picture above), is followed by three more shown below.

417-419-421 3rd Street - unprotected

The fully stone-faced facades would most likely have been considered more fashionable than a mixed brick and stone front. Bonert here retains the arched windows at the top floor, and decorative spandrel panels below the windows. There is no projecting window bay.

417-419 3rd Street - detail

Next come three more of the more traditional "Green Man"-style apartments, like so many that we have seen before:

423-425-427 3rd Street - unprotected

The final building in the row, at the corner of 6th Avenue and 3rd Street, represents a complete break from everything Bonert had done up to this time:

429 3rd Street, at 6th Avenue, northwest corner - unprotected

It is a very handsome apartment house, with a full-height, rounded window bay. The facade is clad entirely in limestone while the 6th Avenue side is in "fancy brick" with limestone detailing. It presents a striking contrast to its brick neighbors to the west, especially considering that they must have been built at the same time:

423-425-427-429 3rd Street - unprotected

Perhaps Bonert was testing the market for this new style of apartment house. The innovative style was apparently a success; the Brooklyn Eagle reports the sale (again with Pullman as broker) of 429 Third Street, the corner building, almost exactly one year later:

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 4, 1895, p. 12 ("Real Estate Market")

The "fancy brick" side elevation retains the familiar arched top-floor Bonert windows and other highly pleasing architectural details:

429 3rd Street - detail

Don't forget to notice the original iron fence in the front, incorporating both cast- and wrought-iron elements:

429 3rd Street - detail

1 comment:

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