East New York

Architectural eye candy in East New York

Eye On Real Estate

January 20, 2016 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
This wide-eyed beast adorns the former 75th Police Precinct Station House. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan
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Some historic properties in the area are just a mess. Some are just terrific.

In honor of the Historic Districts Council’s recent selection of East New York as one of its 2016 “Six to Celebrate” neighborhoods— see related story — Eye on Real Estate headed over to the area and snapped pictures.

Armed with suggestions from Zulmilena Then, the founder of Preserving East New York, we found admirable architectural eye candy all over the place.

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Many of the properties we checked out were located within a swath of East New York and Cypress Hills that is slated for rezoning for mandatory affordable housing. A few were further afield.

Here is a sampling of what we saw.  

* Though it’s in a dreadful state of decay and partly obscured by a sidewalk shed, the former 75th Police Precinct Station House at 484 Liberty Ave. is riveting to look at. It resembles a red-brick castle with a turret.

In 1975, the People’s First Baptist Church bought it at auction from the City of New York for $19,100, city Finance Department records indicate.

If you read our recent story about the landmarked former 68th Police Precinct Station House on Fourth Avenue in Sunset Park, right about now you should feel like it’s déjà vu all over again, as Yogi Berra would say.

Architect Emile Gruwe designed the two Romanesque Revival-style police stations in the 1880s. They are nearly identical.

* The former Magistrate’s Court at 135 Pennsylvania Ave. is a majestic Neoclassical, column-covered building constructed in 1929. It is now the Arnold & Marie Schwartz Community Center.

Its impeccably maintained exterior is a visual antidote to the garbage-strewn, broken-windowed former 75th Precinct headquarters.

The court building was designed by Mortimer Metcalfe — just like the erstwhile court building on Fourth Avenue in Sunset Park, which we also recently wrote about.

* Intact rows of historic houses can be found at every turn. One of our favorites, at 235-245 Vermont St., has matching ornamental lion’s heads above each front door.

* There’s a nifty golden-hued apartment house with eye-catching green trim at 2222 Pitkin Ave., on the corner of Van Siclen Avenue.

* Our mind is swarmed by nostalgic thoughts of advertising icon Elsie the Cow when we see the yellow-brick factory at 2840 Atlantic Ave. It is now occupied by Royal Plastics Corp.-Allied Manufacturing Corp.

But back in the day, it was Borden’s Dairy Factory. Excuse us while we head to the kitchen for a big glass of chocolate milk.

* One of the area’s several stunning church and synagogue buildings is the Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity at 400 Glenmore Ave. It was constructed in 1935. It is topped by picturesque green domes.

* A splendid house of worship at 233 New Jersey Ave. that currently houses Grace Baptist Church of Christ was originally St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church.

The latter name — in German — is inlaid in the façade of the English Gothic-style building, which was built in 1897-1898.

* Another standout among the ecclesiastical buildings is St. Michael-St. Malachy Roman Catholic Church at 225 Jerome St. The cornerstone on the church says 1920.

Actually, there’s a whole compound, including a convent, a friary and a school.


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