A rare and alluring Gothic Revival brick townhouse in the Columbia Street Waterfront District area has the goods inside, as it were, and is said to have been built for a “business merchant that worked closely with the Red Hook docks.” The goods include an original staircase, wood mantel around a wood-burning fireplace, and wide-plank wood floors–along with a sharply updated little kitchen in the upper duplex.
Located at 74 Union Street, it’s one of a pair built in 1846, says the listing, and historical maps generally confirm that this side of the block was filled in by 1850. Between the pointed Gothic arch window, sharply pointed gable with bargeboard trim, drip cap molding around the windows, and butter yellow and navy accent colors, the street presence is nothing to sneeze at either (coronavirus-related pun intended), though the noisy dock-adjacent location may be a headache.
It is configured as a two-family, with a duplex over a floor-through apartment, although legally it’s a three-family. With the first floor given over to a rental unit and not pictured, the second floor serves as the duplex’s living and dining room, with a set of closets and a bathroom between and a kitchen tucked beyond the stairwell.
The layout looks well thought out, and built-in bookshelves and a window seat flank the front windows in the living room. The room has a wood-burning fireplace with what may be an original wood mantel, whose simple styling and Tudor arch are typical of the 1840s.
The dining room, painted a bright cerulean blue, has a nearly wall-to-wall window seat with storage below and steps up to an outside deck that has stairs down into the rear garden, which is landscaped and has a paved patio.
The kitchen likewise has smartly updated cabinets that match the dining room storage, and they are topped with wood counters and a subway tile backsplash. The kitchen, separated from the dining room by a peninsula, has a red Viking stove. There’s even enough room in the layout for a little office overlooking the street.
Meanwhile, tucked beneath the peaked and sharply canted rooftop, the front bedroom on the third floor takes advantage of the home’s attractive pointed window and an almost-hidden dormer. The floors on this level appear to be original wide planks. A skylight in the hallway illuminates white-painted exposed brick in the stairwell. The bathroom is shared among all three bedrooms on this floor. Two of the rooms have walk-in closets.
The floor plan indicates a laundry room, workshop, mechanical room, and additional bathroom on garden level, which appears to be mostly subterranean. No bathrooms are pictured.
Brooklyn doesn’t have many Gothic Revival townhouses left, though some crop up in Boerum Hill and Wallabout. We found ads for empty lots on this street in the mid 1840s. An ad from 1852 offers two brick cottages with Gothic fronts on this block for sale, describing them as well-built with marble mantels, sliding doors and pantries.
A construction date in the late 1840s also makes sense when you consider that service to Manhattan on the Hamilton Avenue Ferry launched in 1846. The ferry landing was at the waterfront just a couple of blocks from the house. Ferry service has returned at Atlantic Basin, though it may be easier to walk seven blocks to the nearest subway, the F and G trains at the corner of Smith and President streets, crossing the sunken BQE via the Union Street overpass.
Listed by Catherine A. Zito at Brown Harris Stevens, it is priced at $2.895 million. How would you judge this one?
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