Editor’s note: An updated version of this post can be viewed here.

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Apartment building
Address: 99 Ocean Avenue
Cross Streets: Corner Lincoln Road
Neighborhood: Prospect Lefferts Gardens
Year Built: 1927
Architectural Style: Deco influenced Mediterranean style
Architect: Boris W. Dorfman
Other works by architect: 145 Lincoln Rd apartments, 818 Flatbush, buildings on Maimonides Hospital Complex, 420 Clinton Avenue apartments
Landmarked: No

The story: While the second half of the 19th century was the age of the urban house in Brooklyn, the 1920s and ‘30s were the age of the six-story apartment building.

As more and more people moved out of the crowded areas of Lower Manhattan and Williamsburg, they flocked to the hundreds of six-story apartment buildings going up across upper Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn and parts of Queens.

The architecture of these buildings can typically be classified under one of three stylistic themes. The first was a WASP-y classy Colonial Revival, the second was Art Deco modern swank, and the third was a Mediterranean-exotic-historical-theme-park kind of refined kitsch.

While all three have their beauty and charm, I’m especially fascinated by the creative style of third, the style of 99 Ocean Avenue.

This listing for a Prospect Lefferts limestone leaves a lot to the imagination. But it’s got our attention.

Twenty feet wide and three stories high, the house — at 233 Lincoln Road, between Bedford and Rogers avenues — is obviously not in peak condition. But it’s loaded with original detail — check out the wainscoting, parquet flooring, decorative moldings, elaborate screen, mantel, and pier mirror.

This small two-bedroom condo at 41 Clarkson Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens isn’t going to set anyone’s heart aflutter, but it looks solid enough and is — for Brooklyn these days — relatively affordable.

It’s located in the Parkside Condominiums, a 40-unit complex made up of two adjoining prewar buildings, the Helen Court and the Jason Arms, that went condo a couple years ago. The buildings have been rehabbed on the inside, as has this apartment, which has been scrubbed of any prewar detail.


Before photo by VisuaLingual; after photo by Jeff Scherer

On this gorgeous Monday morning, we headed to the corner of Ocean and Flatbush Avenues to take a picture of a fading Brooklyn landmark that is finally enjoying its own spring blossoms.

The Flatbush Trees signs were originally erected in the early 70s, to welcome people to the section of Flatbush Avenue south of Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. But as there was no money set aside for their maintenance, they had become faded, dirty and rusty. Thanks to the tireless efforts of an installation artist, a local blogger and 100 middle school students from the Jackie Robinson School, the Flatbush Trees are now exploding with color.

If it’s a turnkey you’re after you can skip this one, but for anyone with a will to take on a heavy-duty renovation project, this single-family at 143 Fenimore Street in Prospect Lefferts Gardens is worth a serious look.

It has potential to be a stunner, with stained glass windows, an entry bench, some original plaster moldings, parquet floors, a winding staircase and a pair of grand fireplace mantels.

About 600 people attended this year’s Prospect Lefferts Gardens House and Garden Tour, now in its 45th year. Photographer, Brownstoner commenter, and longtime PLG resident Bob Marvin took these photos and shared with us his impressions of the tour.

Brooklyn house tours do not typically allow the public to take photos, but as a 32-year board member of tour organizer Lefferts Manor Association, Bob had special permission. This year’s tour took place Sunday, May 31.

Highlights included an art-filled house, a garden party, and a recently installed solar system on a roof. Bob said:


After more than a year of controversy and drama, the full board of Community Board 9 voted yes on asking City Planning to conduct a study of zoning in the area, which covers Prospect Lefferts Gardens as well as some blocks in the southern part of Crown Heights and a bit of East Flatbush.

The supporters of the study want City Planning to downzone the area so tall towers such as 626 Flatbush, pictured under construction above, are not allowed, while also allowing for the construction of mixed-income subsidized housing of a modest height in some areas. The neighborhood has been roiled by rising rents and a building boom, as we have detailed in countless stories.

The light-colored brick that will make up the facade is climbing the steel and concrete skeleton at Hudson Companies’ high-rise on Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. The shape and look of the 23-story tower is now visible over the neo-Tudor facades of the recently landmarked Chester Court.

The brick at 626 Flatbush Avenue is up to about the 13th story. The building topped out in January. The architect is Marvel Architects and it should be ready for occupancy early next year.

Click through for more photos. What do you think of the height and look so far?

626 Flatbush Avenue Coverage [Brownstoner]


Spring house tour season is here again and a number of neighborhoods across Brooklyn will be opening up some of their most stunning houses for anyone to see. Here’s a roundup of the tours coming up over the next month.

The 31st annual Brooklyn Heights house tour will take place on Saturday, May 9 from 1 pm to 5 pm. The self-guided tour, put on by the Brooklyn Heights Association, will showcase five homes. Children under 13 will not be allowed in the houses, except for infants in front packs, and photographs are prohibited. Tickets are $80 and can be purchased here.

The 2015 Park Slope House Tour takes place on Sunday, May 17 from noon to 5:30 pm. Shuttle buses will pick up and drop off at various sites throughout the neighborhood to help people reach all of the homes.

Houses on the tour include two homes designed by architect Charles Pierrepont Henry Gilbert, and an 1875 Neo Grec and many more. (The photo above and the first photo after the jump show two houses on the tour.) After the tour, at 6 pm, local architect-historian Francis Morrone will give a talk titled, “Brooklyn Landscapes: From Green-Wood Cemetery to Brooklyn Bridge Park.”

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

Finding this great photograph of a long-gone mansion in Flatbush was the easy part. Finding out where it was and who the “Brown” mentioned was would turn out to be a bit more difficult. The only name that could possibly be harder to track would be someone named “Smith.” There were a lot of Browns in Brooklyn, and since there was no date or address, it took some doing, and a bit of luck. But in the end, the mystery was solved.

The location: The Brown mansion was at 694 Flatbush Avenue, near the corner of Parkside Avenue. Although this neighborhood is now called Prospect Lefferts Gardens, in the 19th century it was just plain old Flatbush.

The Lefferts family homestead was nearby, as were the homes of many of Flatbush’s older families. This was a wealthy area, and also a very desirable one. It was close to public transportation, with Flatbush Avenue the major roadway between the harbor at Fulton Landing and the oceanfront at what is now Floyd Bennett Field.

Flatbush remained an independent town and not part of the City of Brooklyn until 1894. It had its own town government, raised its own money for roads and infrastructure and collected its own taxes. Because much of it remained farmland until the 20th century, Flatbush life was very different that the more urban life on the other side of the park.

But that was changing.