Eviction Coming for Broken Angel’s Arthur Wood


We may be nearing the end of the long, sad history of the Broken Angel building in Clinton Hill. Today The Local reports that building lender Madison Realty Capital now owns Broken Angel, once envisioned as an artist community, and the vacant side lot. Owner Arthur Wood first filed a lawsuit against Madison Realty in 2009 after Wood and his development partner defaulted on a $4 million mortgage and Madison Realty initiated foreclosure proceedings. There were no other bidders at the auction, which was briefly delayed after efforts by Wood. The bank has not yet moved to evict Wood but he believes it’s imminent. He’s also tried to appeal to the US Supreme Court and his case was denied. Wood owned the building since the early 70s, but his wife’s death, a fire, the subsequent costly building repairs, and a failed development plan led to this endpoint.
Arthur Wood Awaits Sheriff to Evict Him from Broken Angel [The Local]
Broken Angel Foreclosure Case Delayed [Brownstoner]
Broken Angel is Officially Broke [Brownstoner]

43 Comment

  • minard

    can we stop looking at this building?
    The lower part is cute, it looks like National Geographic’s photos of Yemen, but please. we’ve been there, seen that.

  • minard

    can we stop looking at this building?
    The lower part is cute, it looks like National Geographic’s photos of Yemen, but please. we’ve been there, seen that.

  • Blayze11

    It’s still a sad story. I wish they could preserve the structure in the front but knowing realty corps, the whole damn thing including the original brick tenement will probably come smashing down.

  • OK, for once, I’m doing the opposite correction – this is in Clinton Hill, not Bed Stuy, Dave Chappel and street cred aside. It’s on Downing just before it elbows around to Quincy, between Grand and Classon.

  • bryanx

    what happened to the $4 million?

  • bryanx

    what happened to the $4 million?

  • bryanx

    I remember seeing Arthur on the B52 bus about 3 years ago.
    He didn’t spend $4M on bus fare.

  • daveinbedstuy

    LOL at being given a $4MM mortgage on this!!!!!!! So who’s to blame here? That said, if he has defaulted the lawsuits were frivolous and he should have further judgements against him for court costs.

  • callalily

    Maybe they never got the $4 million. Sad. Can’t anyone save this piece of outsider art?

  • minard

    it really is monstrously ugly Isn’t it? I guess that’s the appeal.

  • minard

    it really is monstrously ugly Isn’t it? I guess that’s the appeal.

  • minard

    bird houses made of recycled popsicle sticks is outsider art, this is more in the realm of monstrous carbuncle.

  • minard

    bird houses made of recycled popsicle sticks is outsider art, this is more in the realm of monstrous carbuncle.

  • East New York

    “Can’t anyone save this piece of outsider art?”

    Doesnt look like it. This is a bit sad, but he won’t be the first or the last guy to get evicted in Brooklyn this year. Only one of the more well-known.

  • It’s slightly pathetic how concerned people are about neighborhood division lines on this site.The CH/Bed Stuy borderline conversation is getting very stale…yawn.

  • Oh, and it’s in Bedford Hill, btw!

  • This was awesomely eccentric when it had all the craziness up top. Now, sadly, no longer inspires. I still love looking at the old pix like the ones at http://laughingsquid.com/help-save-brooklyns-broken-angel/

  • noladarling

    Like the 100,000s of Brooklyn bohemians / artists pushed out before Mr. Wood, sad to see him go. Let me guess, Broken Angel will be replaced by “luxury” condos…

  • noladarling

    Like the 100,000s of Brooklyn bohemians / artists pushed out before Mr. Wood, sad to see him go. Let me guess, Broken Angel will be replaced by “luxury” condos…

  • It might have been “zany” to get to see this building once every few years when you happened to walk down the block. I bet all of the other residents of the block will be glad to see a dangerous eyesore fixed up.

  • It might have been “zany” to get to see this building once every few years when you happened to walk down the block. I bet all of the other residents of the block will be glad to see a dangerous eyesore fixed up.

  • It seems like just yesterday when Shahn and Wood partnered up. It’s too bad they couldn’t pull it off.

  • It seems like just yesterday when Shahn and Wood partnered up. It’s too bad they couldn’t pull it off.

  • no-permits

    i think we’ve heard the last of this guy. or at least i hope we have.

  • I don’t understand the hate for the guy, or the building. It really was a piece of outsider art by a man who is an eccentric and creative artist. He was creating his art. HIS art. I don’t see why that’s so hard to understand. We nod sagely at someone who displays cow innards, or has his assistants splash paint on a canvas, or makes giant copies of balloon animals, give them tons of money, and call them creative geniuses, but a guy who takes a long abandoned building in a part of town no one cared about until 15 years ago, and creates something meaningful to him is a dangerous nut.

    Broken Angel was the tallest structure around for YEARS, and no one reported him, no one was whining about dangerous buildings, and neither the DOB or any other city agency did anything about it, for decades. It was there before I moved here, in 1983, my Pratt friend and I used to go to the Salvation Army Store across the street, and it was a wonderful, mysterious construct, even then. Woods poured his heart, his money, his love for his wife and son, and his artistic vision into it. And he lost everything. Everything.

    Now we just wish “we’ve heard the last of the guy.” Nice. Really nice.

    • minard

      MM I can only speak for myself but for years I’ve been politely nodding, as you say at cow innards, or in this case a hideous pile of junk. And I have finally had it. I want to finally express what I really think of this “oeuvre”.
      It is not hate towards the fellow who built it, I don’t have any idea who he is but I understand he may have been hoodwinked by a con artist. That is sad, I have sympathy for that.
      But I have had it with this broken angel crap. It’s not outsider art.
      Enough already!

    • dash

      Montrose, do you know what happened to the 4 million? (I’ve seen other figures cited) I remember a thread in which you defended the development partner. If the project never got off the ground, why does Arthur owe money? It seems like it must have been the partner who took the cash. I think they’re equally responsible, right?

    • no-permits

      oh mm, you have such a bleeding heart.

  • Brilliantly said, Montrose Morris. I’ve had a similar experience with Broken Angel through the years, and it saddens me to see all the hate.

  • Minard, we have to agree to disagree on this.

    Dashey, aside from what’s been reported here, and around, I know nothing about Shahn Anderson, Arthur Wood, or anyone else. I don’t know anyone involved in this personally, and my opinions are just that, my opinions.

    I defended both of them because I admired Mr. Wood’s vision and audacity, and I thought Mr. Anderson was himself an angel, coming to help at the 11th hour, and it sounded good. I’m not the D.A. or an investigator. I don’t know if it was a rip off of immense proportions, bad timing, bad business practices, or bad luck that messed it up. I just feel sorry for Mr. Wood. I like underdogs, and I like the idea of dreams becoming reality. I am very sorry that did not happen here.

  • I had never noticed it looks this cool from the front. It looks completely ramshackle when you glance down Downing.

    I think the repeat assertions over the Clinton Hill/Bed-Stuy border may come from a certain blogger/Clinton Hill homeowner seeking to preserve the neighborhood cache.

    • Probably true, housenut! And ironic, as Downing St. was always known as THE block to go to for illegal purchases of every variety. If you were brave enough to go there.
      All good though. We like that Bedford Hill hasn’t been “discovered” yet.

  • I feel sorry the the guy. He bought this amazing building in the 70′s and now he will be homeless. This can happen to any of us. It’s bad luck. He should have been able to keep this place for his whole life. Part of me wonders if all the attention from Block Party brought more scrutinizing from the City. The guy’s wife died, and he had to deal with the possibility of losing his house. At least he had some cool things in there, most of which none of us could create. Living like this as an older-ish guy is not fair. Everyone can comment when it’s not them going through it. Be humble.