Sunset Park is Ready For Its Closeup, Part One
Eye On Real Estate
Walk This Way.
We’re humming that old Aerosmith song because there’s promising news for preservation-minded Brooklynites from the Sunset Park Landmarks Committee, a neighborhood group that has been working to win landmark protection for blocks lined with handsome homes that are a century-plus old.
The group’s Facebook page says the city Landmarks Preservation Commission has scheduled a walk around the neighborhood for late this month. And this isn’t just any old walk the commissioners will be taking.
It’s a site visit during which they will survey the streets as a prelude to deciding whether to undertake the task of creating a historic district in Sunset Park.
The commissioners had originally planned to make their tour in late January but had to reschedule, the posting notes.
So hey! Commissioners! Some unsolicited advice: Wear your most comfortable Keds.
There’s sooo much to see. Architectural eye candy abounds in the form of fine-looking housing built for the most part from 1890 to 1910.
We just did our own neighborhood walk in honor of your upcoming visit — and took it upon ourselves to snap a fresh batch of photos showing off the beauty of the blocks that the Sunset Park Landmarks Committee are proposing for inclusion in a historic district.
Part of the photos are in this posting.
We first started writing a decade ago for Another Publication about “Fedders buildings” — tall, bulky new edifices with façades studded with the aforementioned air conditioners — that were popping up in Sunset Park and residents’ efforts to challenge their proliferation.
The construction continues in Sunset Park, though downzoning has been done.
The new zoning allows rowhouses on side streets to be built about 10 feet taller than the existing homes, and much taller buildings to go up on Fourth Avenue.
Even with the new construction, the Sunset Park Landmarks Committee identified 22 blocks as “a group of blocks that are architecturally meritorious and visually worthy of landmark designation because most of the houses are close to their original appearance,” according to a notation on its website.
These blocks can be found between 43rd Street and 59th Streets and are mostly between Fourth and Fifth Avenues. Several are between Fifth and Sixth Avenues or Sixth and Seventh Avenues. One block is on Sixth Avenue, between 47th and 48th Streets.
The group discovered by door-to-door canvassing that there’s serious support for landmark designation among homeowners on 15 of the blocks.
Additional blocks in the neighborhood are “meritorious” but the level of homeowner support for landmarking them is unknown.
Our Brooklyn Eagle colleague Paula Katinas, who has been covering the group’s long-running preservationist efforts, reported last year on the canvassing crusade.
As a fresh contribution on the subject of landmarking, we just took photos on all 15 blocks where homeowners said Yes, Please to the prospect of city landmarking protection.
Even with winter skies the color of pewter and frozen mounds of old snow clogging the curbs, the beauty of the homes we eyeballed during our visit shone brightly.
Residents we met during our walk told us they’d be glad to see their blocks receive landmark designation.
“We don’t want things to be torn down,” said one resident whose family has lived on 44th Street since the 1950s.
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