Brooklyn, one building at a time.

The Brooklyn Paramount Theatre was one of Brooklyn’s famed movie palaces. Like most of the great movie palaces built in the 1920s and ’30s, the Paramount was ornate and over the top. It’s now on its way to being restored, but it was almost lost forever. Here’s a look at its early days.

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Built as a private home during the post–Civil War boom years, this building became famous as the home of the Chandler Piano Company.

Name: Originally a row house, then retail/apartments
Address: 222 Livingston Street
Cross Streets: Hoyt and Bond streets
Neighborhood: Downtown Brooklyn
Year Built: Probably late 1860s or early 1870s
Architectural Style: Italianate with mid-20th-century alterations
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

This four-story building was the middle house in a group of seven brownstone row houses, built for a growing population in the post–Civil War boom years. The earliest detailed map of 1880 shows the group here. It was one of many groups of similar homes built along Livingston Street.

All of downtown Brooklyn’s streets began as residential, including Fulton, Livingston and Schermerhorn. It seems hard to believe today, but traces of this early development can still be found on all three, although they are fast disappearing.


Downtown Brooklyn, a college town?

According to a study conducted by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the neighborhood’s economic flow has been significantly bolstered by activity from its nine higher education institutions.

The nine schools, which are densely packed into the neighborhood, include Pratt Institute, Brooklyn Law School, St. Francis College, and NYU, among others. Carnegie Mellon will bring that number to 10 once it has completed its expansion to the Navy Yard next fall. NYU is planning to further expand into the modernist building at 370 Jay Street.

In 2013 alone, the roughly 60,000 students in attendance at the colleges and graduate programs downtown generated nearly $3 billion in economic activity for the area. The largest portion of the sum came from a calculated $1 billion in labor compensation — a.k.a. jobs — according to the study’s findings.


They had to find more chairs. On Monday evening, a group of more than 70 people — architects, city representatives and Brooklyn residents — met at Fort Greene’s Willoughby Senior Center to talk about the future of the neighborhood’s public spaces.

Hosted by Community Board 2 and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the workshop was part of the Brooklyn Strand. The multi-year, multi-part effort is spearheaded by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and WXY Architecture, and seeks to improve public space around the Brooklyn Bridge and BQE from Borough Hall to Commodore Barry Park.

Developers Slate Property Group, Meadow partners, and an unidentified third party purchased a former foster-care nonprofit building at 570 Fulton Street in Fort Greene for $23,000,000, reported The Real Deal.

When Brownstoner wrote about 570 Fulton last year, the estimated asking price was $2,000,000 higher. The new owners are likely planning condos for the property. According to The Real Deal, the trio of developers will probably not combine 570 Fulton with One Flatbush — an adjacent condo building planned by the same team and slated for completion in 2017.

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

Many of the grand store buildings built during the height of Downtown Brooklyn’s days as a pre-eminent shopping mecca are still with us. The Offerman Building, the buildings of Abraham & Straus, Namm’s, Loeser’s, Woolworth’s and Oppenheim & Collins still stand, even though all are now inhabited by new stores and businesses.

But if you look at old maps and photographs of the Fulton Street corridor, between Court Street and Flatbush Avenue, there’s one category of businesses that is totally gone: the theaters.

The only remaining vestiges of Brooklyn’s large theater district are those around and including the Brooklyn Academy of Music — but in the hundred years between the end of the Civil War through the 1960s, they were scattered along Fulton Street and its nearby side streets.

Some were later movie theaters, like the Albee, the Duffield, the Fox and Loews, but a fair number were legitimate stage theaters. One of the finest of these long-gone theaters was the Grand Opera House.