Building of the Day: 82 Sixth Avenue

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Commercial/residential row house
Address: 82 Sixth Avenue
Cross Streets: Corner of St. Marks Avenue
Neighborhood: Park Slope
Year Built: 1868
Architectural Style: Italianate/Neo-Grec
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No, outside of PS HD (1973)

The story: I’ve always been intrigued by this building. Of course, these intriguing buildings always come with their own mysteries, and frustratingly enough, are always the ones for which the records have been lost in the black hole that is the age old tradition of record keeping in our fair town. The glassed in addition to the house is obviously later, but when? Was it built for commercial purposes, or was it an urban conservatory room added to the front, since there was no room in the back? Who built it? Who lived here?

According to the fine research done by David Alquist and Darrin VonStein of the Park Slope Civic Council, no building records exist for this building. So we need to look elsewhere. A look in the Brooklyn Eagle tells us that 82 Sixth Avenue was home to Paul Weise, according to the paper, one of the original residents of 6th Avenue. He built his house in 1868, on property owned by his wife, purchased in 1857. It’s a large house, at 24’ wide. When it was built, it had a surrounding garden, and was “considered quite suburban.”

Weise was a German immigrant who came to Brooklyn in 1844. He went into the wholesale grocery business, under the name Heissenbottel & Weise, on lower Atlantic Avenue, in 1860. That business dissolved in 1879, and he joined Valentine & Bergen, also wholesale grocers, who worked on lower Fulton Street. He retired from there in 1901. He was one of the original members of the influential Germania Club, and was a member in good standing for twenty years. Paul Weise died in 1902, at the age of 79, leaving behind his wife, Johanna and three daughters.

David and Darrin’s research reveals that the surrounding brownstones on that section of 6th Avenue were built by 1880, when they appear on Bromley’s Maps of Brooklyn. Perhaps the Weise’s sold their garden plots, and had the conservatory built instead. It certainly is stylistically in the range of years between 1868 and 1902. The delicate stained glass in the transoms, the classical detailing in the pressed metal frame date it to the late 1880’s, early 1890’s, so I’m going to hazard an educated guess and say the Weise’s commissioned it.

Over the years, the conservatory room has been used for commercial purposes. In the recent past, it was home to a beauty parlor catering to African-American hair needs, this, for many years. Now it is a salon and day spa yoga studio, and the floor below, a coffee shop restaurant specializing in chicken dishes. The rest of the building is now condos. The uniqueness of the conservatory, or commercial addition, still makes this one of the most interesting and charming buildings on this part of 6th Avenue. GMAP

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