Why this Blog Exists

To make the case for expanding the Park Slope Historic District

Friday, June 12, 2009

Louis Bonert's $750,000 deal in Park Slope

In 1905 Louis Bonert put together a deal to sell a great many of the apartment houses he had recently built in Park Slope. The deal's value was estimated to be $750,000, a tremendous amount in those days. The deal was reported in both the New York Times and the Brooklyn Eagle:

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 18, 1905, p.1 ("$750,000 deal in flats")

New York Times, November 19, 1905, p. 18 ("In the Real Estate Field")

It is worth working through the list of addresses in the articles, both to confirm attributions we have already made, and to look for new buildings that we have not yet confirmed to be from Bonert.

The first set of addresses includes several of the buildings in the row extending from the northwest corner of 6th Avenue and 3rd Street. We discussed these buildings earlier on the blog and attributed them to Bonert, circa 1895:

407-415 3rd Street - unprotected

417-421 3rd Street - unprotected

423-427 3rd Street - unprotected

The articles indicate that several of the eight-family apartments on the north side of 3rd Street between 6th & 7th Avenues were included in the deal. Bonert built eight of these "double flat" apartments on the north side of the street, devoting a very generous 46' in lot frontage to each building. We now immediately recognize Bonert's signature enframements over the central (stair hall) windows. The buildings closer to 7th Avenue boast a doorway with full pediment and flanking columns. These buildings were constructed circa 1902-1903:

3rd Street between 6th & 7th Avenues, north side - unprotected

461 3rd Street - unprotected

461 3rd Street - detail

The deal also included some 4-story, 4-family flat houses in the south side of 3rd Street between 5th & 6th Avenues. These buildings are similar to others across the street, constructed by Louis Bonert circa 1895:

414-408 3rd Street - unprotected

The deal also included a few buildings from the 1894 row Bonert constructed at the southwest corner of 6th Avenue and 3rd Street:

6th Avenue & 3rd Street, southwest corner - unprotected

The deal also included the row of eight-family apartment houses on the south side of 3rd Street between 6th & 7th Avenues, matching the row across the street, and constructed by Louis Bonert circa 1902-1903:

466-450 3rd Street - unprotected

The apartments further from 7th Avenue lack the pedimented entablature, boasting instead Bonert's characteristic "florid classical" detailing around the doorway. Again we see his distinctive hoods over the central stairway windows:

458 3rd Street - unprotected

458 3rd Street - detail

458 3rd Street - detail

The huge deal also included a row of Bonert's earlier (circa 1894) "Green Man"-style, Romanesque-infected 4-family flat houses in 4th Street between 5th & 6th Avenues:

357-363 4th Street - unprotected

There's our friend, the Green Man himself, symbolizing our unity with Nature, peeking out from the spandrel panels:

359 4th Street - detail

The deal also included Bonert's row from the north side of 4th Street east of 6th Avenue:

389-393 4th Street - unprotected

Finally, Bonert threw into the deal the apartment building at the northeast corner of 6th Avenue and 3rd Street:

319 6th Avenue - unprotected

It was a huge deal for Louis Bonert, most likely one of the largest in his career, and one of the largest in Park Slope up to that time. Interestingly, the buyers were a couple of local guys, David Marks of 107 6th Avenue and A. E. Goldstein of 121 St. Johns Place.

Bonert went on to construct luxurious single-family limestone row houses on the entire south side of 1st Street and the north side of 2nd Street, in the park blocks, within the current Park Slope Historic District, financed perhaps by the proceeds from this colossal sale of his earlier apartment houses.

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