Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Row houses
Address: 1-7 Arlington Place
Cross Streets: Macon and Halsey streets
Neighborhood: Bedford Stuyvesant
Year Built: 1887
Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival
Architect: George Poole Chappell
Other buildings by architect: Houses on Jefferson Avenue, Hancock Street, Macon Street, and Stuyvesant Avenue in Bedford Stuyvesant; St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church on Pacific Street, houses on Dean Street, Prospect Place, New York Avenue and other streets in Crown Heights North; houses in Park Slope
Landmarked: No, but will be very, very soon
The story: Arlington Place in Bedford Stuyvesant is one of those streets that has weathered the last one hundred years and managed to look almost exactly the same as when it was completed. It’s a small one-block enclave cut between Macon and Halsey streets, and on this little block are fine examples of late 19th century row houses, designed by some of the best in the business at that time.
I talk about George Chappell all the time in this column because his large body of work consists of a lot of buildings that warrant a shout-out. This quiet family man, who never made a big deal about himself, worked consistently for at least thirty years designing quality buildings, most of which are vastly different from each other, and from what everyone else at the time was doing. He’s also one of my favorite Brooklyn architects.
Chappell easily moved from popular style to popular style, and was not married to only one way of expressing himself. The Renaissance Revival style was just beginning to emerge when he designed this group of speculative houses for developer and builder Horace Russell. He utilized that style’s simplified and elegant lines, but kept the exuberance of the Queen Anne style in the beautiful stained glass and interior details. They are in an ABBA pattern, with the end “A” houses enclosing the other two within their protective bays. His use of brownstone here complements the other houses on the block and in the neighborhood.
In 1993, Spike Lee chose this block as the setting for his movie, “Crooklyn.” The somewhat isolated location allowed him to build an entire streetscape set around the corner on Macon, a set that stayed up for at least six months. He used No. 7 Arlington Place as the setting for the family home, and you can see them sitting on the stoop of the house in all of the publicity and still photos, as well as in the movie. GMAP
(Above Photo: Christopher Bride for PropertyShark, 2012)