Why this Blog Exists

To make the case for expanding the Park Slope Historic District

Sunday, March 21, 2010

2010 House Tour: 614 2nd Street

This house will be featured on the 2010 Park Slope House Tour, which will be held Sunday, May 16. Tickets will be available at 7th Avenue merchants, and through the Park Slope Civic Council's website. All proceeds from the House Tour are returned to the community through the Council's Grants Program.

614 2nd Street, Park Slope Historic District
Benjamin Driesler, architect - 1903

Our next tour home, 614 2nd Street, is part of a longer row of 26 houses (#590-648) built as a single development. The row occupies most of the south side of the "park block" of 2nd Street. Regarding this row, the Park Slope Historic District's Designation Report tells us:

This long row of twenty-six houses was begun in 1903 for William H. Reynolds, representing the First Construction Company of Brooklyn, and was designed by Benjamin Driesler, a Brooklyn architect. It is an interesting example of the quest for variety, while at the same time utilizing certain standards of form, materials and architectural detail. Although at first the row has the appearance of a series of individually designed townhouses, a second glance reveals certain underlying similarities, with minor variations of detail intended to differentiate the houses. First, with regard to form, there is an alternating sequence of curved and three-sided bays; in addition, the end houses terminate the row with projecting square bays. Second, with regard to materials, there are three basic house types, all built upon brownstone basements: an all brownstone house, a brick above brownstone house, and an all limestone house. Third, there is the consideration of architectural style and details and how they are used relative to the houses of varying materials. The basic similarities of these houses are found in the uniform use of brownstone basements, Romanesque Revival L-shaped stoops, and neo-Classical sheetmetal cornices with small round bosses evenly spaced throughout. The houses are all slightly stepped down, as is noticeable at the cornices, to follow the slope of the street. ...The materials are used at random, and the limestone houses stand out quite boldly against their more sombre-hued neighbors. ...Architecturally, these houses all belong to the Eclectic period, when a wide range of styles was in use.

614 2nd Street, center

The architect, Benjamin Driesler, was born in Bavaria in 1869, and immigrated in 1881. He built a very successful architectural practice in Brooklyn, designing hundreds of houses in Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Ditmas Park, Midwood, and Kensington:

From Flatbush of Today, by Herbert Foster Gunnison, 1908

The developer, William H. Reynolds, served briefly as a New York state senator. He was a shrewd businessman whose ability to profit from public investments sometimes raised eyebrows:


Eric McClure said...

"He was a shrewd businessman whose ability to profit from public investments sometimes raised eyebrows."

William H. Reynolds of 1916 sounds remarkably like Bruce C. Ratner of 2010.

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