Dyker Heights

Majestic menageries on Dyker Heights lawns

Eye On Real Estate: Winged wild rams watch over Michael Pantelis' place

June 25, 2014 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Dyker Heights' Michael Pantelis has the coolest lawn statues around. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese
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Whence came the winged goats that guard the stairs at the stone manse on 11th Avenue?

No, wait — those are wild rams, mythological figures from ancient Greece.

Homeowner Michael Pantelis had the extraordinary lawn statues made two decades ago in China or Vietnam — he doesn’t remember which one. He chose the forbidding beasts because they’re symbols of strength.

All the animal statues he ordered up for the lawn of his house at 1101 84th St. are about strength — including fierce-fanged tigers by the doors and a stone lion that’s his favorite.

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“The statues make the house more aggressive — like a Chevy muscle car,” said the Greek-born contractor, who came to Brooklyn 30 years ago and lived in Sunset Park before buying the Dyker Heights house in 1993 with his wife Elizabeth.

The sellers were Eleanor and Matilda Couri, city Finance Department records indicate.

There’s nothing meek in Pantelis’ stone menagerie, nothing like the sweet statue herd of Bambi’s brethren populating the front yard of nearby 1134 83rd St., which by the way is as pretty as a house in a fairy tale.

On Pantelis’ lawn, even the lampposts are fierce. What are those cruel-looking creatures bearing the light bulbs — are they bats or something?

“Those actually are gargoyles,” he said with a laugh.

Over the garage, he built a “miniature Acropolis” with columns and granite floors, a shady shelter for spending time outdoors. “It’s almost to scale,” he said.

As for the house itself, he did a gut renovation, adding wood veneers, molding and columns, and extended the second floor. It took until 1997 to finish the construction.

Would he call this his dream house?

“I call it something I love that I built myself,” he said.

He raised two sons there. Now grown men, they continue to live in the family home. There’s lots of room.

Pantelis, 62, is building a second house in East Marion, L.I., which will serve as a summer home. He has no intention of moving there full-time and leaving Dyker Heights.

“Are you kidding me? It’s the best neighborhood,” he said.

Pantelis’ house is situated on an avenue which is full of houses that are easy to  love.

Curbside waterfalls with lovely statues grace two corners of 11th Avenue and 83rd Street — at 8220 11th Ave. and 8302 11th Ave.

Other houses we’ve fallen hard for include a stately brick villa at 8124 11th Ave., with classical statues by the front steps and climbing roses.

We’ve got a crush on 8220 12th Ave., a white house that’s straight out of the antebellum South, with a porch and a gazebo. The Queen Anne/Tudor/medieval house at 1135 84th St., which is on the National Register of Historic Places, won us over as well.

What’s your favorite? Let us know in the comment section below.



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