Lenny Kravitz’ Bed Stuy Boyhood Home to Become Six-Family Apartment Building

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Next on the chopping block, as a tipster put it, is the boyhood home of Lenny Kravitz, a small wood frame house on a large lot at 368 Throop Avenue in Bed Stuy. Technically, the house will not be demolished but just altered. But plans, which call for a third story addition, extensions to the front and rear of the building, and six units rather than two, will probably render it unrecognizable inside and out. An application for an Alt-1 permit was disapproved in February.

The two-family frame house looks Italianate, which means it was likely built sometime between 1850 and 1880. It belonged to Al and Bessie Roker, the parents of Roxie Roker, a journalist and actress best known for playing Helen Willis on the sitcom The Jeffersons. She was the mother of musician Lenny Kravitz, who was born in New York City and lived at the house on weekends until his family moved to Los Angeles in 1974 when he was 10, according to The New York Times and IMDB. The senior Rokers sold the house in 1987, according to public records.

“This is so sad. We are losing our neighborhood building by building,” said another reader. Click through to the jump to see the side of the house.

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3 Comment

  • Slowing losing this neighborhood. I will not be able to recognize this place in 10 years.

  • If you’re the owner and already have made the decision to turn this into 6 units (rather than restore as a 2-family), wouldn’t it be far easier just to knock it down and build new? Adding onto an old frame house in a way that satisfies the current building code can be an elaborate operation…the owner must be doing a real hack job to have any chance at coming out cheaper than demolition/new build. These days you usually only see wood-frame enlargements in landmark districts where demolition isn’t an option (or someone doing a nice restoration)…can’t build up more than 3 stories without steel anyway (and sometimes not even more than 2 stories).

  • The real shame is someone letting it get into this shape to begin with. If we don’t want to lose our old houses then we need to take care of them. How many years has this been sealed up and left to rot away I wonder? I can only imagine the rot, mold, and rodents this must have inside. What’s the story of why it was sealed and left to rot I wonder?