Crown Heights

Trifecta! Crown Heights North gets a third historic district

March 24, 2015 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Welcome to the section of Crown Heights North that preservationists call Phase III. The city Landmarks Preservation Commission just designated it a historic district. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
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Trifecta for Crown Heights North preservationists!

The city Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to grant historic district status to a portion of  the neighborhood known as Phase III, following long years of effort by neighborhood activists.

It’s the third section of Crown Heights North to win landmark status in the past eight years.

“I’m very excited about this,” said Meenakshi Srinivasan, the agency’s chair, who applauded Phase III for its cohesive collection of handsome homes and its “very rich social and political history” during a public meeting at the LPC’s Lower Manhattan headquarters.

The illustrious Shirley Chisholm, who was the first black woman to serve in Congress, lived in the neighborhood when she ran for President in 1972.

“Oh, I think it’s wonderful,” Adelaide Miller, who attended the LPC meeting, said afterwards about having her neighborhood become a historic district. Miller has lived in the Phase III area for 67 years and was a friend of Chisholm’s.

Phase III, which has about 640 buildings, is an area mostly between Kingston and Albany Avenues from Pacific Street to Lincoln Place. There are also a few blocks between Kingston and Brooklyn Avenues. Many homes are Renaissance Revival-style buildings constructed in the first years of the 20th Century, according to the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s website. Some were built in the 1880s in neo-Grec or neo-Grec/Queen Anne style.

Especially stunning rows of houses can be found on Revere, Hampton and Virginia Places, which are quiet enclaves stuffed full of architectural eye candy.

On several blocks, so-called Kinko Duplex Houses can be found. Their name comes from their builder, the Kings and Westchester Land Company. Each unit in each duplex house has its own front door and its own house number, and its own stairway, porch and cellar — which was considered innovative in the early 20th Century when they were constructed.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission calendared Phase III for consideration as a historic district in 2011. Earlier this year, a neighborhood advocacy group, the Crown Heights North Association (CHNA), revved up its efforts to win historic district status for Phase III, as the Brooklyn Eagle previously reported.

Deborah Young, CHNA chairperson and president, said after the vote that the group will celebrate the historic district designation at a town hall meeting set for April 15, which will focus on sustaining healthy communities with a special emphasis on the elderly population.

CHNA plans to apply to have Phase III listed on the State Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places, which is a labor-intensive process.

These designations would make area residents eligible for 20% state tax credits and 20% federal tax credits on home renovations, said Ethel Tyus, a CHNA board member.  

Also, the organization plans to seek landmark protection for another section of Crown Heights North known as Phase IV.

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