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: 363 Grand Avenue, corner of Gates Ave.
Name: The Vendome Apartments
Neighborhood: Clinton Hill
Year Built: 1887
Architectural Style: Romanesque Revival/Queen Anne
Architects: Halstead P. Fowler
Why chosen: The Vendome is Clinton Hill’s first apartment buildings, and was one of its finest. It was built at a time when upper middle class apartment buildings were were being marketed as an upscale alternative to a private home. These new apartments were large, and the buildings had many amenities. The Vendome originally had 17, seven room plus a bathroom apartments. As marketed in ads in the Brooklyn Eagle, starting in 1888, the building offered an elevator, a private billiard room, a smoking room, steam heat, boot black, telephones, telegraph and messenger service, and an available caterer. By 1901, the apartments also had gas ranges. As the 20th century passed, the building suffered the fate of many large urban buildings, and by the 1970’s had been taken by the city for non-payment of taxes, and stood empty. In 1980, a devastating fire coursed through the building leaving it a shell. It was still abandoned in 1981 when it was landmarked, as part of the Clinton Hill Historic District. In spite of it’s designation, the city planned to tear the building down, as it was deemed too expensive to rebuild. However, the community rallied, under the leadership of a neighbor, Ralph A. Walter, and in 1988, the building was granted a New York State grant for $255K, which was matched by a $200K challenge grant from the city, and was rebuilt. The building now has 24 units, and is once again is a commanding presence in the neighborhood. You can fight city hall.
Photo: Georgia Kral on Flickr