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Photo from archive of the CUNY Neighborhood Projects

At 123 Remsen Street in Brooklyn Heights sits the former residence of Charles Condon. Widely considered one of the finest examples of French Second Empire architecture, the four-story building (which now houses the Brooklyn Bar Association) has a brownstone basement, topped by three floors of red brick and capped off with a lovely mansard roof. There is some discrepancy about when the house was built–with some accounts suggesting as early as 1856 and others as late as the 1870s. Writing in “An Architectural Guidebook to Brooklyn,” Francis Morrone notes some of his favorite elements:

Several lovely touches make this house a delight, for example the shell forms in round frames in the center of the first-floor lintels, the motif repeated in the round form that rises from the center of the cornice overhanging the central bay of the mansard, and the heavy, carved-stone newel posts.

Morrone’s Books [Francis Morrone]

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Photo from archive of the NYC-Architecture.com

Completed in 1890 by local architect Montrose W. Morris, the Romanesque Revival design of the Alhambra Apartments is a strong reminder of the former grandeur of Bedford Stuyvesant. Occupying a 70’x200′ lot on the corner of Macon and Halsey, the original layout included six apartments to a floor. According to historian Francis Morrone, the standard of living there was quite high: each apartment had eight or nine rooms and the common courtyard included a croquet lawn and tennis court. The roofline is particularly notable for its conical corner towers, gabled dormers and high chimneys. (Be sure to check out the many photographs of architectural details at NYC-Architecture.com.) After a fire in 1994, the property sat vacant until it was restored by Andersen Associates in 1998. We’d be curious to know whether it is currently a rental building or a condo.
Morrone’s Books [Francis Morrone]

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Photo from archive of the Bridge and Tunnel Club

Designed in 1869 by architect Russell Sturgis (who also designed Farnham Hall at Yale University), the Dean Sage House at 839 St. Mark’s Avenue is an excellent example of the kind of “solid, comfortable villas” built in the Northern section of Crown Heights in the post-Civil War years, writes Francis Morrone in “An Architectural Guidebook to Brooklyn”. The house is constructed with rough brownstone and sports a polygonal tower with pointed-arch windows on the rear of the house. The highlight of the house for Morrone is the “art Nouveau-seeming” ironwork of the transom. We just wonder whether some lucky folks still have the place to themselves. Anyone know?
Morrone’s Books [Francis Morrone]

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Photo by Tim McCormick
Once consisting of nine buildings and now only five, the Riverside Apartments at Columbia Place and Joralemon were considered the model of tenemant living when they were built in 1890 by developer Alfred Treadway White using William Field & Son architects. The 280 original apartments were notable for being well-lit and well-ventilated as well for having running toilets, notes Francis Morrone in his Architectural Guidebook to Brooklyn. Like many people, we’ve always admired the perforated metal balconies that grace the facade. Morrone observes that there is also “some lovely patterned brickwork up top,” particularly praising the “fine stepped corbeling above the top-floor arcaded loggias.” How is the building run now? Is it market-rate rentals? Are there many old-timers still living there or have they gotten priced out?
Morrone’s Books [Francis Morrone]