Building of the Day: 173 Pacific Street

1980s tax photo: Municipal Archives City of NY.

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Former stable
Address: 173 Pacific Street
Cross Streets: Clinton and Court Streets
Neighborhood: Cobble Hill
Year Built: 1860s
Architectural Style: Romanesque Revival
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: Yes, part of Cobble Hill HD (1969)

The story: Of the many people who love old houses, I don’t know too many who don’t like carriage houses and stable buildings. These old service buildings have their own special charm, now gifted with a perfect scale for compact, yet elegant city living. Older neighborhoods like Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights and Boerum Hill still have a lot of these utilitarian structures, often on side streets or gathered together in mews. Unlike some of the mega-stables of nouveau-riche neighborhoods like Clinton Hill, the stables in Cobble Hill were mostly built by anonymous builders, probably the same anonymous builders who built many of the houses here, in the days before an architect was called upon for the design of a house. Working from plan books and experience, these builders gave us solid buildings that have been repurposed successfully for many years.

173 Pacific Street is a survivor, located on a part of Pacific that was home to mixed residential, service and industrial buildings, beginning in the mid-1800s. The buildings just down the street include former factories and another larger stable building. But this one is a little gem, conveniently set back far enough from the street to afford driveway parking. As far back as 1969, when the area was landmarked, this stable had already been converted to residential use; the hayloft door had even then been replaced by the large window, allowing plenty of light into the second floor.

The building is quite large: 25 by 100 feet, wider and larger than many brownstones. In its heyday, pardon the pun, it would have easily been able to provide for the keep of more than one horse, as well as storage for a carriage, hay and feed, a tack room, and living quarters for a groom or coachman. It’s an elegant design, with Romanesque arches everywhere, and a fine cornice with brick detailing.

The present owners of this now two-unit building have been there since 1969, the same year the area was landmarked. No doubt they have seen it all, in the redevelopment of the Heights and Cobble Hill, and all the new plans for the area. They certainly have a nice viewing perch from which to watch their area of Brooklyn. I really like this one. GMAP

Above photo: Nicholas Strini for Property Shark, 2012.

1980s tax photo: Municipal Archives City of NY.

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