It’s hard for us to believe, but Brownstoner is 10 years old this month. As best we can figure it, the first Brownstoner post went up just around now in mid-October, 2004. Unfortunately, the first three months of posts, at the now-defunct brownstoner.blogspot.com, have been lost. (No they haven’t!)
We had closed on our Clinton Hill brownstone one month earlier, and were in the process of finalizing our bare-bones renovation. We wrote our first posts furtively, from the desk at the company where we were working at the time.
To our great surprise, in the first couple of days, both Curbed and Apartment Therapy served up links, and readers began to find us. Soon we became a place where people could gather and anonymously discuss the rapidly changing brownstone belt and trade tips on renovation. This community would become the lifeblood of the site.
For us, it was a pretty magical time of discovery and creativity. After many years of working for other people doing things that actually felt like work, it was exhilarating to finally have a calling, something we wanted be doing virtually every waking moment.
The first real inkling that Brownstoner might be sustainable was when we wrote a discussion post before taking a week off between Christmas and New Year’s. The topic was which neighborhoods would do the best and worst in the upcoming year. We came back to a hundred or so comments. It turned out to be the first of many triple-digit-comment threads, especially in those first couple of years, when passions ran high and real estate prices were running even higher.
In 2007, we hired our first writer. Not long after, Montrose Morris began chipping in with her expert and much-loved columns on the architecture and history of Brooklyn (a role that expanded greatly over the years). In 2010, fresh out of journalism undergrad, Emily joined the team (later taking the helm at Brownstoner Queens). In 2012, a longtime commenter named Cate responded to our announcement that we were looking for a new managing editor, bringing a true passion for the subject and a firsthand understanding of the site’s readers to the table. The current lineup was rounded out last year when Rebecca, also fresh from J-school, joined up to cover Brooklyn.
Like they say, you never forget your first love. So thanks to everyone — writers and readers, critics and fans — who’s been a part of making Brownstoner a unique community both on and offline for the past 10 years. We feel very lucky to have been a part of it and look forward to many more.
To celebrate, we’ll be running some old favorites over the next few days along with some special anniversary posts. There will also be some kind of shindig in a few months.