184 Joralemon Street, SB, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Originally Galen Hall Office Building, now apartments and offices
Address: 184 Joralemon Street
Cross Streets: Court and Clinton Streets
Neighborhood: Brooklyn Heights
Year Built: 1909-1911
Architectural Style: Beaux-Arts with Colonial Revival details
Architect: George Keister
Other Buildings by Architect: Apollo Theater, Harlem. Also Belasco and Selwyn Theaters, Theater District. Row houses in the Bronx, tenement buildings, apartment buildings, hotels, churches.
Landmarked: Yes, part of Brooklyn Skyscraper District (2012)

The story: Claudius Galenus, or Galen of Pergamon, was a prominent Greek physician, surgeon and philosopher in the second century Roman Empire. He and the better-known Hippocrates are considered to be the most important contributors to modern Western medicine. (Yes, I had to look that one up.) The use of the name “Galen” was quite popular during Victorian times, especially to name sanatoria and other medical retreat centers. One of the most popular in the New York City area was the Galen Hall in Atlantic City. Their facilities would be considered a health spa today, and they advertised constantly in the Brooklyn Eagle for decades.

So when a twelve floor office tower exclusively for doctors and medical professionals was proposed for Downtown Brooklyn, it was fitting that it should be called Galen Hall, or the Galen Hall Office Building. The tall and narrow building was placed on a 25 foot wide Joralemon Street lot, right next door to the Packer Institute. The building ran tall and deep, with plenty of room for doctors, surgeons, and other medical professionals. (more…)

66 montague street brooklyn heights 102014

This two-bedroom co-op at 66 Montague hit the market last week. It’s a charming apartment in a prewar mansion a stone’s throw from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Lots of prewar detail, good windows and ceiling height, and a so-so kitchen. Monthly maintenance for the 1,000-square-foot pad is $1,400 and the asking price is $975,000.

66 Montague Street, #6 [Elliman] GMAP

61 Pierrepont combo

A large prewar apartment in Brooklyn Heights for not much more than $1,000 a square foot is worth a close look. This 2,840-square-foot five-bedroom pad, a result of combining two adjacent apartments, at 61 Pierrepont Street has lots of prewar charm and appears to be in good shape too.

And as a bonus, there’s a private parking spot that comes with the apartment and is included in the maintenance. The ask is $2,950,000 and the monthly maintenance is $3,536. Think this will go fast?

61 Pierrepont Street, #51/52 [Corcoran] GMAP

Henry C. Bowen mansion site, 88-96 Willow St. composite

There was a time in Brooklyn’s history when Mr. Henry C. Bowen was one of Brooklyn’s favorite sons. He was a wealthy man, owner of two newspapers, and his home on the corner of Willow and Clark Streets was described as the Heights’ most beautiful home. Henry C. Bowen was a very devout and religious man, whose strong moral beliefs led him to be involved in the founding of two churches, and made him one of the leaders in Brooklyn’s anti-slavery movement. Those strong moral beliefs also would lead to him being one of the most hated men in the city, vilified on the streets, in the pulpit and in newspapers across the country. When he died in 1896, all of that was forgotten, and he is now fondly remembered once again as one of Brooklyn’s leading men. He had an amazing life, and this house was at the center of it all. (more…)


With a lawsuit over the inclusion of affordable housing at a residential development site at Pier 6 still pending, another tempest (you decide if it’s in a teacup) is emerging at the northern end of Brooklyn Bridge Park where Toll Brothers’ condo and hotel project known as Pierhouse has recently topped out. At issue: the height of the new building and whether it violates either the spirit or the letter of a 2005 agreement that sought to preserve views of the Brooklyn Bridge from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. In the opinion of preservationist Otis Pratt Pearsall and the Brooklyn Heights Association, it does. Park management has another take. (more…)

60 pineapple street brooklyn heights 92014

Long-time readers of this blog may recall that we’re generally not fans of recessed lighting in a prewar setting. This co-op at 60 Pineapple Street in Brooklyn Heights is no exception to the rule. It’s a lovely corner apartment with 1,475 square feet and a very generous, almost loft-like, living area along with the three bedrooms and two bathrooms — but it’s got recessed lighting galore. No matter. If you’ve got the $1,775,000 to buy the place you can always tweak the lighting.

60 Pineapple Street, Apt. 4J  [Brown Harris Stevens] GMAP


Yesterday evening the board of the Brooklyn Public Library voted to go ahead with its plan to sell the Cadman Plaza branch to raise $40,000,000 for upkeep of other branches. Hudson Companies Inc. has been chosen as the developer of the new mixed-use building at 280 Cadman Plaza West. There will be space for a 21,000-square-foot library at its base and 132 market rate units, the library announced last night. Hudson will pay $52,000,000 to buy the site and construct 114 affordable units offsite, which will open at the same time as the building (about 2019 or 2020).

Marvel Architects will design the building. You can read more about it on the library’s website. (more…)

16 willow place brooklyn heights 92014

Built around 1850 or so, according to the listing, 16 Willow Place appears to be a Greek Revival brick row house with an interesting minimalist renovation from the ’80s. The single-family house has original wide plank floors and a black marble mantel, as well as some exposed beams and bricks. While some of the rooms are traditional, the parlor, kitchen and bath have been remade into sleek contemporary spaces and the staircase has been moved so it is perpendicular to the side walls. Normally we’re not enthusiastic about modern “interventions,” but we like this one. What do you think of it and the ask of $3,800,000?

16 Willow Place [Brown Harris Stevens] GMAP

42 remsen street brooklyn heights 92014

We’re pretty sure that this new listing at 42 Remsen Street in Brooklyn Heights has the highest asking price of any half-brownstone to date. Located in a 26-foot-wide house, it’s a good-sized pad and has a lovely garden to boot. The parlor floor has some striking original details (hello, coffered ceilings!) but we’re not wild about how the kitchen integrates with the main parlor. The maintenance is $3,475 a month and the asking price is, hold onto your hats, $4,500,000.

42 Remsen Street, #1 [Brown Harris Stevens] GMAP

squibb park bridge

The new $5 million pedestrian bridge that links Brooklyn Bridge Park with the Brooklyn Heights Promenade has been closed since August 11, but it’s expected to reopen by the end of the month. Gothamist and the Daily News reported that the bridge’s wooden walkway had started to warp, and engineers need to adjust the cable tensions. Structural engineer Ted Zoli designed Squibb Park Bridge, which is made out of 100,000 pounds of black locust timber, bronze and galvanized steel. It first opened in March 2013.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp. had originally claimed it closed the bridge because of excavation at the Pierhouse condos underneath. Until it reopens, pedestrians have to walk through the whole park to get to Brooklyn Heights. Squibb Park, which sits underneath the bridge, is closed as well.

$5 Million Brooklyn Pedestrian Bridge Closed, Now Under “Intensive Monitoring” [Gothamist]
Brooklyn Bridge Park Pedestrian Bridge Closed for Nearly a Month [NYDN]
Photo by Gothamist

27 schermerhorn street brooklyn heights 82014

We wrote about the fourth-floor apartment at 27 Schermerhorn Street back in 2011 when it was asking $695,000. Now the top floor unit, which has been redone in a much more modern fashion, is on the market for $915,000. The brownstone floor-through co-op is 25 feet wide and 1,000 square feet in total. Monthly maintenance is $1,218. We’re usually not big fans of going modern in a brownstone but this renovation looks pretty successful to us.

27 Schermerhorn Street, #5 [Real Direct] GMAP

Arthur D. Howden Smith, 1918, BEAfter spending a few months as a foreign correspondent in the mountains of Macedonia, Arthur D. Howden Smith would always seek a life of adventure and danger. He travelled to the Balkans to write the story of a lifetime; his adventures as a freedom fighter with a gritty band of Chetniks who were waging a bloody guerrilla war with the Turks. Young Howden Smith came from a family of world travelers, his forbearers were sea-faring men, and close relatives were famously trekking through the wilds of Africa, killing elephants and importing ivory.

Part One of our story introduced us to Arthur Douglas Howden Smith, who spent his youth and young adulthood living in what is now Crown Heights, at 907 Sterling Place. He was the descendant of New England shipping merchants, and in spite of his tony upper class British sounding name, was born in New York City, in 1887, lived as a small child in New Jersey, and grew up in this house in Brooklyn. He would live in Brooklyn for much of his life. He didn’t look like the adventuring type; he was a small man, about 5’7” tall and weighed 160 pounds, soaking wet. He wore round-lensed glasses and looked like someone who would be more at home in the stacks of a library than the mountains of Macedonia. But, he was a lot tougher and more determined than his appearance would warrant. (more…)