coney island whip postcard

Green-Wood Cemetery will host an exhibit next month celebrating the life of William F. Mangels, the master mechanic and designer of several turn-of-the-century Coney Island rides, including The Whip, The Tickler, The Wave Pool, and The Human Roulette Wheel.

“William F. Mangels: Amusing the Masses on Coney Island and Beyond” will feature plenty of historical Coney Island artifacts, such as a Marcus Illions carousel horse, original sketches and vintage photos,  a 22-foot-long shooting gallery, a Whip car, a Pony Cart, a Speed Boat, and fire engines. The exhibit will open September 7 in Green-Wood’s chapel and run through October 26.

Image via Green-Wood Cemetery

07/30/14 10:00am

1 woodrow court greenwood heights 72014

This interesting addition is rising on top of a townhouse at 1 Woodrow Court in Greenwood Heights, at the corner of 5th Avenue and 30th Street. The little two-story brick townhouse is being enlarged with a third floor and 836 more square feet, according to alteration permits. The architect of record is Eric Safyan, and his website includes more construction photos and a schematic, which we’ve included after the jump. (more…)

07/28/14 10:45am

236 17th street south slope

A seven-story apartment building is planned for the corner of 17th Street and 5th Avenue in Greenwood Heights, in the parking lot of the former Aaron’s Fine Ladies Apparel. The project at 236 17th Street will have 17 units spread across 19,993 square feet, according to a new building application filed last week. It will also include seven enclosed parking spaces.


07/21/14 9:30am

233 34th street greenwood 72014

We stumbled across some interior renderings for these nearly complete condos across the street from Green-Wood Cemetery. The five-story development at 233 34th Street will have 18 units spread across 15,021 square feet, according to new building permits. Amenities include nine off-street parking spaces, nine bike storage spots and a roof deck. A sign on the door calls them the “233 Greenwood Condominiums” and says they’ll be finished this summer. (more…)

niblo's garden

Theater owner William Niblo was known for throwing parties at his Green-Wood mausoleum, and this Saturday, the cemetery is re-creating one with outdoor performances and a picnic. Guests can bring blankets and snacks and  enjoy watching fire jugglers, singers and a knife thrower. “A Night at Niblo’s Garden” will take place this Saturday from 7 to 10 pm, and tickets are $30 for members of Green-Wood or Brooklyn Historical Society and $35 for the general public.

Photo via Green-Wood Cemetery

04/22/14 1:30pm

OK, it’s really narrow and there are a lot of down lights but this Greenwood Heights house at 396A 19th Street looks pretty cute to us. Goes to show what some great rugs and Timorous Beasties wallpaper can do, right? That bath looks pretty slick, and we also like the new unpainted clapboard exterior.

We’re not so sure about the location, though — it faces the Prospect Expressway. What do you think of it and the ask of $1,669,000?

396A 19th Street [Betancourt & Associates] GMAP

04/17/14 3:00pm

207A-209 18th St. KL, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row houses
Address: 207A-209 18th Street
Cross Streets: 4th and 5th Avenues
Neighborhood: Greenwood Heights
Year Built: Before 1888
Architectural Style: Queen Anne
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No, but these blocks should be

The story: In 1844, the city of Brooklyn voted to extend open up 18th Street from 9th Avenue, now Prospect Park West, and the Gowanus Bay. For the next 40 years, the neighborhood remained undeveloped and was a dumping ground for all kinds of things, including bodies. The body of a baby was found here in 1846, seen abandoned by a couple who drove away in a wagon. But it would not be an undeveloped scrub land for long. Industry was growing at the waterway, and after the Civil War, the blocks began to be with row houses, most of them wood framed. The blocks were relatively close to Green-Wood Cemetery, a popular tourist attraction as well as burial place; so traffic here on 18th and on the other Green-Wood Heights blocks was busier than one might think.

These two buildings were built sometime after the Civil War, but before 1888. Stylistically, I’d put them in the mid-1880s. They, and the rest of the row going towards 5th Avenue, are in place when the maps for 1888 were published. There was a wood framed house or building on the large lot to the left of 207A that is now the buff colored Renaissance Revival flats building. There was also a greenhouse complex on this side of the street, closer to 5th. Wood framed row houses dominated both sides of the block, at this point, and a large Methodist Church was in place across the street from here, up a bit towards 5th. That church is now gone Today it’s a Greek Orthodox Church.

On first glance, one might think these two buildings are an odd pair. 207A is a four story house and 209 is only three. The windows are not even lined up with each other. But they do share many similar features, and were obviously built at the same time, by the same builder. I hope to find the architect and builder one of these days. This neighborhood is not well documented. Stylistically, the house shares elements of the Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, and Neo-Grec styles, with a bit of terra cotta thrown in, making it a Queen Anne catch-all confection. (more…)

03/25/14 2:00pm

The Associated Supermarket that was burned out in a fire four years ago will be returning to the corner of 5th Avenue and 17th Street in Greenwood Heights. We found this rendering on the fence at 617 5th Avenue, beneath a big green banner announcing “Marketplace ‘Coming Soon’” (though we’re unsure why there are quotes around “coming soon”).

Construction will finish this spring, according to the sign on the fence. Owner Clarista Realty Group is also repairing the building’s 10 apartments, according to permits.

South Slope News was the first to report that Associated would return. Click through the jump to see a picture of the building.

Demolition Under Way at 5th Avenue Fire Site [Brownstoner] GMAP


A baseball expert and Green-Wood’s resident historian will lead fans around the sprawling cemetery to the graves of baseball greats next Saturday.

Tom Gilbert of the Society for Baseball Research, along with historian Jeff Richman, will discuss the lives and monuments of Henry Chadwick, who invented the game’s scoring system; Charles Ebbets, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers; and Charlie Smith, a well-known hitter who played for the Mets and the Yankees.

The tour will last from 1 to 3 pm on Saturday, March 29. Tickets are available on Green-Wood’s website.

Image via Ballparks of Baseball

If you’d like to learn more about some of New York’s most famous black figures, take the Black History Tour at Green-Wood Cemetery, where a historian will explain the backstory behind each grave on the tour. Highlights on the trolley tour will include artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, pictured above; Susan Smith McKinney, New York State’s first black doctor (also pictured); Jeremiah Hamilton, the city’s first black millionaire; and some of the city’s black Civil War heroes.

Cemetery historian Jeff Richman will discuss their lives and the contributions they made to New York City’s cultural heritage. Tickets cost $15 for Green-Wood members and $20 for non-members. The tour will take place this Saturday between 1 and 3:30 pm at Green-Wood Cemetery at 500 25th Street in Brooklyn.

Image via Green-Wood Cemetery

01/29/14 3:15pm

283 Prospect Ave,St Johns Lutheran NS, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Built as The Evangelical Lutheran St. John’s Congregation of Brooklyn, now St. John – St. Matthew– Emanuel Lutheran Church
Address: 283 Prospect Avenue
Cross Streets: Fifth and Sixth Avenues
Neighborhood: Greenwood Heights
Year Built: 1898-1899
Architectural Style: Rundbogenstil Gothic Revival
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story: I’ve been observing and reading about architecture for a while now, and have learned a great deal about style and period. Church architecture is a fascinating subject to me, and I’ve seen enough churches and styles to be pretty good at telling you the denomination of a church without seeing the name on the sideboard out front. Catholic architecture is very different from Methodist, which is different from Episcopalian or Lutheran. Each denomination, each ethnic group that made up the denomination had its own unique style. This particular church couldn’t be more German Lutheran if Martin Luther himself were standing outside.

Many of Brooklyn’s German American architects were trained in the old country, or were trained by architects and builders from Germany who had immigrated to the United States. They brought with them specific Germanic building and stylistic traditions, one of which we know as Rundbogenstil architecture. The word means “round arch” and is a specifically Germanic version of Romanesque Revival architecture established in the late 1830s. The German architects of the day, specifically Heinrich Hübsch, who is regarded as the father of Rundbogenstil, were seeking to find a national German style, and looked to a simple and elegant architecture based on Roman design principals.

What resulted was an elegant style with arched windows and doors, usually with “eyebrow” lintel windows, and inverted arched crenellation under the eaves. In churches and synagogues, the style also resulted in very angular towers, and the arched windows and entryways are often pointed in a more Gothic style. The inverted arched cornices, the most noticeable feature in the style, is well articulated in brick, and can be found in breweries, factories, churches and homes designed by Theobald Englehardt and many of the other German American architects of the late 1800s. He may have designed this church, but I could not find any record of the architect at all. (more…)