Brown-stone? Not Exactly

buildings
A reader sends us this picture with the succinct text, “WTF is up with this violet brownstone on Garfield between Polhemus and 8th Avenue?” Our thoughts exactly. How long has this place had its distinctive color? GMAP

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  • This is new. I have walked this block many times without seeing this violet mess. Someone call Landmarks…and the firing squad.

  • What’s the address? It may not be a landmark (the district boundary runs between 7th and Polhemus).

  • Well I can say it’s been there at least 25-30 years. I was raised up the block and used to walk by it on the way to the bus every day. If memory serves me it was owned by a Jamaican guy who was in some sort of feud with his neighbor (probably over the color), but this may be the stuff of neighborhood legend. The building to the right of it used to also be covered in this horribly tacky vinyl tile junk, and had a really gross green gate, but it seems like it has been restored to it’s original condition. So anyone know the real story?

  • aw, they must have a copy of Mr Pine’s Purple House

  • This house has been this color for years. as a matter of fact I know he just REpainted it an even brighter shade! Sad…very sad! This house is on Garfield between 7th and 8th Ave. It is an eyesore.

  • we just walked by it this weekend and noticed the new refresher coat of pink as well. This is my 5-year-old daughter’s favorite house in the neighborhood, for obvious reasons. I’m happy with plain old brown myself, but I’m glad someone in the ‘hood is still flying their freak flag high.

  • what i love about this house is that it just goes to show you how truly different and subjective people’s tastes and desires really are.

  • This house is beautiful. It reminds me of San Francisco. What narrow-minded person would say WTF is up with this house? What is TF is that the owner decided to paint it a color that the mainstream doesn’t approve of (obviously.) I applaud him/her 25 years in retrospect.

    DT: “the firing squad”? I know it’s a joke, but come on…

  • There are quite a few tropically colored houses in Bed Stuy and Crown Heights, as well as other neighborhoods with large Caribbean populations. These colors are classic island style, and I guess people just try to bring a piece of the home island to their new homes. I’ve seen the same thing in Caribbean parts of London, too.

    Personally, I think the colors work in the islands, but not here, and I like the traditional original colors of the homes, ie: brownstone, brick, limestone.

    It’s funny, every child I know also likes the brignt colors, and those are always their favorite houses, to the horror of their parents.

  • There are quite a few tropically colored houses in Bed Stuy and Crown Heights, as well as other neighborhoods with large Caribbean populations. These colors are classic island style, and I guess people just try to bring a piece of the home island to their new homes. I’ve seen the same thing in Caribbean parts of London, too.

    Personally, I think the colors work in the islands, but not here, and I like the traditional original colors of the homes, ie: brownstone, brick, limestone.

    It’s funny, every child I know also likes the brignt colors, and those are always their favorite houses, to the horror of their parents.

  • As mentioned above, this house has been pink forever. Certainly well before this block was landmarked. Ironically, the underlying brownstone is much better preserved than the other houses on the block that have been exposed to the elements all these years.

    This house has always rocked. If you don’t see that, you don’t.

  • i’m not 5, but I kind of like it…character.

  • Gotta say, we kinda like it too…

  • I don’t like the color, but I like the statement.

  • Same here Hal- especially with Brooklyn being turned into Pete Seeger’s “little boxes made of ticky-tacky.” Kids love it because it’s a happy color- I prefer a different shade (love violets) but it’s more important to me that the owner was expressing himself and his individuality.

  • The color is fantastic and puts me in a good mood. I don’t understand why we are supposed to strive for sameness. From the clothes we wear, to what happens at a wedding, I’m constantly struck by how f-ing boring tradition is.

  • I love bright and strong colors in interior spaces, I’m having a good time using color in my home, but I don’t think I want to bring that to my exterior. However, I would have no problem with a whole row of brightly colored houses livening up an otherwise dull and nondescript block. Why not? I understand not in a landmarked area, of course, but a little variety is good, here and there.

  • If this house were a victorian painted lady I would love it, but this is brownstone- and stone should NEVER be painted. It doesn’t repect the style of the house, and it’s very bad for the stone underneath.

  • I agree with dt: a Victorian painted lady, in a neighborhood with similar homes, would be great. But painting a brownstone, in central Park Slope, violet? Sorry, but I think WTF is a completely appropriate response!

  • looks like Pepto Bismol!

  • Yes it has been pink for as long as i have been on Garfield Place which is about 12 years. They just repainted it in the last week or so. The color is a more umm enhanced version… Different strokes for different folks i guess. Me no likie though….

  • wow never remember it to be this bright!!! lol i actually like the house. everytime i pass by.

  • I love it! There’s a purple house in Fort Greene too, I believe on Vanderbilt btwn Dekalb and Willoughby.

  • This house appears to be within the Historic District. I beleive the rules for painting the facade require an application only if the color is going to change. So as long as they keep painting it the same color, they are playing by the rules.

    If this house was this color before July 17, 1973, it’s ‘grandfathered’. One could argue that being violet for 30+ years is a significant part of the house’s history.

    It’s interesting to note that apparently, according to Property Shark, this house was sold on 12/12/05 to someone named Viola.

  • I have to laugh about this. I agree that this would look lovely if it were a Victorian, in the carribean or on a candy cottage like on Martha’s Vineyard…NOT on a brownstone in Brooklyn. It looks like Bazooka gum!

  • VIOLA!! As in VIOLET?? Hmmm..
    I think that propertyshark date may reflect a second mortgage or a passing on of the property.. Paint on Brownstone very bad for the stone, traps moisture underneath and erodes the stone quicker.

  • via gothamist:
    Like a seasonal allergy, the pink brownstone of Park Slope seems to pop up in conversations, blogs, or newspapers every couple months. The Daily News spoke to the owner, Bernie Henry, a 90 year old man who said he first painted the Garfield Place house in 1968 (the district was deemed a historic district in 1973) upon his wife’s wishes. Henry said, “When I went to get the paint, I thought it was the same [shade], but it came out a little different. But what could I do? I bought $4,000 worth of paint.” There’s also a very cute quote from neighbor David Alquist, who doesn’t mind the unusual color: “One mom told her kid, ‘No, you can’t eat it.’ I think the kid thought it was frosting.”

    And because the Gap has used footage from Funny Face in their new skinny pant commercials and basically bastardizes Audrey Hepburn’s hepcat dance, we urge you to see the movie yourself, especially Kay Thompson’s showstopping “Think Pink” sequence.

  • Ditto what CrownHeightsproud said. Brick and stone walls should not be painted because it traps moisture and leads to deterioration. But even if this was a woodsided structure, I would question the monochromatic paint job. I live in Park Slope and the detailing of the residential properties in this neighborhood rivals any other I’ve seen. It’s a waste to treat a beautiful property like that and disrespectful to the artisans that created it.

  • This is a very good example of one of the problems with the landmarks department;if anybody did want to try to “do the right thing” they would get so caught up in red tape, delay and frustration, that it is much less stress, money & WTF to keep it purple.

  • I’D LIKE TO SEE THE HOUSES OF THOSE WHO SAY THEY LOVE THE COLOR PINK. DO THEY DECORATE WITH IT? I DOUBT IT. NOT ONLY DOES THIS CASUAL PAINTING INDICATE HOW OUT OF TOUCH, VISUALLY, MR. BERNIE IS WITH HIS NEIGHBORHOOD BUT INDICATES HOW STUPID THE LANDMARKS COMMISSION IS. THEY SHOULD HAVE ARRIVED AT A COMPROMISE COLOR YEARS AGO AND SHOULD INSIST HE TONE DOWN THE PINK NOW. GARFIELD PLACE IS BEING ASSAULTED BY CANDLE SMELLS, AND MEXICAN RESTAURANT ORANGE AWNING(NEAR 7TH AVE.)THIS IS A CITY AFTER ALL…

  • In New Hampshire when we saw a house painted a color like this, we would smile knowingly at each other and mutter “darned Frenchies!”

  • Why can’t he just paint his house whatever he wants? How does it hurt anyone?

  • Not candle smells and an orange awning! Somebody should call the police! This is outrageous! OH MY GOD!!! Yes, this is a city, and it used to be an interesting city, where people did different and interesting things, burned the metaphorical flags of the establishment, and marched to their own drummers. But not anymore… Now it’s all about money and property values and “luxury condos,” and the only flag-burning going on is of the last remaining freak flags, being reduced to cinders by torch wielding villagers in $300 jeans and $500 haircuts. Would I paint my house bright pink? Probably not. To be honest, I’ve never been that bold or that interesting. But I’m proud as hell that *somebody* is still holding out against the tide of mind-numbing, bourgeois conformity that has blanketed this city.

  • It doesn’t hurt anyone to have thier house painted a certain color, but in a historic neighborhood like Park Slope which is so noted for it’s brownstones, to have one painted pink is so out of place.

    In my opinion, which is probably worthless, I think the house is totally disgusting. It shows absolutely no taste whatsoever. It ruins the whole entire block. It is an eyesore, I feel bad for the neighbors across the street that have to see this horror everyday. This is not the Carribean, it is Brooklyn.