Brooklyn, one building at a time.
An elegant bank built for a growing Prospect Heights community will soon be razed to make way for new condos. Here’s its story.
So apparently simple and refined is this Prospect Heights brownstone that you might not suspect it recently underwent an extensive renovation: the removal of a bearing wall to open up the parlor floor, necessitating a new steel beam from front to rear; all-new kitchen and baths; stripping all original woodwork; restoration of the ceiling plaster and moldings; new rift-sawn oak floors throughout; all-new electrical and central air; and many things you don’t see (example: retractable screens to enclose the house’s original back porch and exclude mosquitos).
A look at Brooklyn, then and now.
Most of my Past and Present entries tell the story of what happened to buildings that are no longer — but this one is about a much-hyped building that never was.
Houses of Worship in Prospect Heights
With very few exceptions, Brooklyn’s brownstone neighborhoods live up to the 19th-century epithet “City of Churches.” Many of our neighborhoods can boast of a church seemingly on every other corner, and some have more than one on a corner.
Prospect Heights is therefore an anomaly. It’s a later-19th-century community, developed at the same time as parts of Park Slope, Crown Heights North and Bedford Stuyvesant, but unlike those neighborhoods, very much lacking in large houses of worship.
Talk about new money overtaking old money.
Change. It’s a fact of urban life. Businesses come and go. Neighborhoods rise and fall and rise again. But a new interdisciplinary project — popping up in businesses throughout Prospect Heights — explores the effects of the neighborhood’s recent dramatic changes in an effort to inform the future of Brooklyn development.
The roof of an under-construction building at 658 Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights collapsed around 9 a.m. this morning. No injuries have been reported.
DOB records confirm the collapse and building evacuation at the already long-vacant structure. The fire department called for the DOB to inspect the site “due to roof collapse of building under permitted alteration.” Above, the site in 2014.
Rendering by Greenland Forest City Partners via YIMBY
Right now, 615 Dean Street is an empty lot. But soon enough it’ll join the ranks of Pacific Park’s buildings-in-progress with a 245-unit condo tower designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox. A rendering of the future building — developed by Greenland Forest City Partners — was just released and spotted by YIMBY.
The building’s design features a series of boxy stacked forms with facade elements of precast concrete. Brownstone brick will highlight the the first five floors of the Dean street side, giving an impression of street-level scale before the bulk of the tower stair-steps to its full 278-foot height.
“Farfel Frishberg lives in a Park Slope brownstone. He likes chicken, tummy rubs, and lying on top of the couch cushions. Farfel is 10 years old.”
City Council will vote next week on whether or not to approve the proposed site for the location of an elementary and middle school as part of the Pacific Park/Atlantic Yards development. The current plan calls for it to be built on the northeast corner of Dean and 6th Avenue.
Meanwhile, local residents still hope the city will decide to drop the elementary school part and make it into a dedicated middle school. Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council Chair Gib Veconi emailed Brownstoner about the community campaign, which has been under way for some time:
It’s School Week here on Brownstoner. Stay tuned for more school-themed posts celebrating the start of the school year.
The old P.S. 9 Annex in Prospect Heights is one of those buildings that everyone stops in front of and wonders, “What exactly is it and how can I live there?” I did the same thing before I moved in, and I’m still learning about the genesis of the building.
Living in a converted schoolhouse with a mysterious history could not be a better fit for me. As the author of a series of historical novels, I draw a lot of writing inspiration from my apartment building. Rumor has it that silent-film star and original It Girl Clara Bow went to school here back in the day.
Just walking into the building, with its tall, imposing iron gates, wide stairwells and carpeted corridors makes me feel simultaneously like I’m stepping back in time and as though I’m reliving my middle school years.