Editor’s note: An updated version of this post can be viewed here.
The BOTD is a no-frills look at interesting structures of all types and from all neighborhoods. There will be old, new, important, forgotten, public, private, good and bad. Whatever strikes our fancy. We hope you enjoy.
Address: 308-310 Livingston Street, between Bond and Nevins
Name: Commercial buildings
Neighborhood: Downtown Brooklyn
Year Built: 1910
Architectural Style: Flemish
Architects: Kirby and Petit
Landmarked: No, but should be.
Why chosen: Why these twin buildings have been forgotten and ignored in the architectural history of Brooklyn amazes me. I’ve wondered about them since the first time I ever went downtown, way back in the late 1970’s. I remember there used to be a bookstore in one of them, long ago. They are a fabulous Flemish inspired set of buildings, that would be right at home in Amsterdam or Brussels. Look at those detailed ornate polychrome terra-cotta figures, and the other trimmings on the gables! They were designed by the firm of Kirby and Petit, who later also later designed as Kirby, Petit and Green. Together, or separately, they are responsible for some great buildings in the NY area, and as far away as San Francisco. They were very eclectic and versatile, designing many different styles for many different kinds of buildings, ranging from the landmarked American Bank Note buildings in Manhattan and the Bronx, to row houses in Stuyvesant Heights, to mansions on Long Island, to the buildings of William Reynolds’ Dreamland Amusement Park in Coney Island. John Petit, especially, was very talented, and is best known in Brooklyn as the architect of many of the large and eclectic homes of Prospect Park South, in Victorian Flatbush. His most famous home there, one of many, is probably the Japanese and Arts and Crafts inspired home at 131 Buckingham Rd. He was the official architect appointed by the developers of PPS. These twin buildings are currently for sale for $3,450,000. Think of the possibilities!
Photo: Municipal Arts Society