Windsor Terrace

Ten things we love about Windsor Terrace

May 4, 2016 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Engine Company 240/Battalion 48's firehouse is a Windsor Terrace landmark. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan

Eye On Real Estate

It started with a firehouse. And what a firehouse.

The distinguished Romanesque Revival-style building was constructed in 1895 when Brooklyn was an independent city and fire engines were horse-drawn.

The firehouse, which is at 1307-1309 Prospect Ave. in Windsor Terrace, is the home of Engine Company 240/Battalion 48.

We decided to go see it the other day after reading about Peter J. Lauritzen, the Danish immigrant architect who designed the Offerman Building, a Downtown Brooklyn landmark.

Engine Company 240/Battalion 48’s building is one of eight Brooklyn firehouses Lauritzen designed in a three-year period from 1894 to 1897. It is such a standout, architecturally speaking, that it was designated as an individual city landmark in 2013.

On our visit to the fine firehouse, we realized that Windsor Terrace is an excellent place to look at architectural eye candy.

We haven’t given the neighborhood the attention it deserves because it’s sandwiched between Green-Wood Cemetery and Prospect Park. When we’re in Windsor Terrace’s vicinity, invariably we’re focused on snapping photos at one or the other of these overwhelmingly scenic spots.

For readers who, like us, have given Windsor Terrace short shrift, we hereby offer a list of 10 intriguing things to see in the neighborhood.

This list is just a sampler. We could have made it much longer. For instance, the beautiful World War I monument at Greenwood Playground should be on it.

P.S. A few fast facts about the neighborhood’s history:

According to the city Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation report for the Prospect Avenue firehouse, the area that is now Windsor Terrace was inhabited by the Gowanus and Werpos tribes of the Lenape People.

It was farmland in the Colonial era and through the first half of the 19th Century. The village of Windsor Terrace came into being in the 1850s.

#1. Engine Company 240/Battalion 48’s firehouse

The limestone and brick landmark with a round turret on one corner was originally occupied by Engine Company 40/Hook & Ladder Company 21.

Plaques on the outside of the building at 1307-1309 Prospect Ave. honor Battalion Chief Joseph Grzelak and Firefighter Michael Bocchino, both of Battalion 48. They perished while in the performance of duty during the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

#2. A house that belongs in Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’

Yellow is one of the signature colors in Beyoncé’s phenomenal visual album “Lemonade.”

Social media’s still buzzing about the yellow Roberto Cavalli dress the star wears in the video version of the new album as she walks around swinging a baseball bat named Hot Sauce.

Windsor Terrace has a wonderful house that would have looked perfect in the video. The frame house at 612 20th St. is so yellow, the taste of lemonade hits your palate when you walk past it.

#3. Spider-Man’s street

Do you know the way to Fuller Place?

Moviemakers certainly do.

This single-block street was used in the filming of  “The Amazing Spider-Man,” starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. It served as the setting for the home where Peter Parker lived with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben.

Everybody knows that Aunt May, Uncle Ben and Peter Parker live in Forest Hills in Spidey’s fictional world. The Windsor Terrace block was used as a stand-in for that Queens neighborhood.

Fuller Place certainly is picturesque enough to belong in the movies. The exteriors of the charming brick houses on both sides of the street are all very similar. They have big front porches with columns. The decorative trim on the houses is painted in different colors, which subtly spices up the look of this fine, old-fashioned block.

To save you the trouble of consulting Google Maps, Fuller Place runs between Prospect Avenue and Windsor Place and is parallel to Prospect Park West.

By the way, don’t be confused by the street name “Prospect Park West.” In Windsor Terrace, it does not run alongside the park. Prospect Park Southwest does.

#4. Temple Court

We were walking along Terrace Place during a rain shower, and the sun suddenly came out and lit up a row of two-story white frame houses nearby. They glowed like the Pearly Gates of Heaven.

The single-block dead-end street with the luminous homes turned out to be Temple Court.

This cul-de-sac has been around since the 19th Century, according to the Untapped Cities website. It is a private street that belongs to its residents. They’re the only ones who get to park their cars on it.

#5. Best. Porches. Ever.

Windsor Place is a great street to look at from start to finish, but the part that really grabbed our attention was the odd-numbered side of the block between 10th and 11th avenues.

The houses have enclosed porches with elaborately decorated walls and big windows. Several homes, side by side, all fly American flags, which calls to mind a Childe Hassam painting.

One house on the block had a mass of beautiful purple tulips blooming in the front yard the day of our visit to the neighborhood.  

#6. A covered walkway with the sky showing through

There’s a picturesque pedestrian pathway hanging over the Prospect Expressway where 10th Avenue would be if the highway hadn’t been built.

A couple romantics have attached padlocks to the metal structure covering the walkway — like the Love Locks on the Brooklyn Bridge and the Pont des Arts in Paris. Vive l’amour.

#7. A buzzed-about bungalow

A red single-story bungalow at 658 Vanderbilt St. that’s tucked into a block of taller buildings generated Internet buzz when it was put up for sale last summer for a $1.25 million asking price.

But the sellers have taken the 17-foot-wide, 60-foot-deep house off the market.

“They couldn’t part with the house or bear to leave the neighborhood,” real estate broker Barbara Puccia, who had the exclusive listing, told the Brooklyn Eagle.
“But the sellers feel that Florida still awaits them sometime in the future,” Puccia added.

#8. Brooklyn Heights-caliber rowhouses

There are beautiful 19th-Century brick rowhouses on Prospect Park Southwest from Vanderbilt Street to Reeve Place. As an added plus, one of Prospect Park’s pedestrian entrances is located conveniently close to these lovely homes.

There are many other Windsor Terrace blocks with superb old brick rowhouses. Another eye-catching spot is the odd-numbered side of 17th Street between 10th Avenue and Prospect Park West.

#9. Best. Shrubbery. Ever.

The house at 722 Greenwood Ave. on the corner of Sherman Street has tall shrubbery trimmed to look like a fence. The greenery is cut into the shape of fence posts with globes on top of them and fencing that swoops in curves between the posts.

#10. The neighborhood’s most charming house

If ever there’s a Neighborhood’s Most Charming House competition in Windsor Terrace and we can cast only one vote, we will mark our ballot with the address 211 Vanderbilt St.

The stand-alone house is clad with weathered clapboard and has a big, inviting front porch. Our photo doesn’t do it justice.

By the way, Vanderbilt Street is the divider between the street-numbering systems in the western part of Brooklyn — which uses the numbers 1st Street to 101st Street — and the eastern part of the borough, where East 1st Street to East 108th Street are located.

#11. Bonus listing: East Wind Snack Shop

We were going to focus strictly on architectural eye candy and make no mention of real food. But then we ate lunch at East Wind Snack Shop at 471 16th St.

Its chef and part-owner Chris Cheung worked at high-profile restaurants Vong, Nobu and Jean-Georges. He has appeared on TV on “Food Network Challenge” and “The Martha Stewart Show” as well as Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations.”

The crave-worthy food in Cheung’s shop was inspired by the fare at working-class tea houses that proliferated in Manhattan’s Chinatown when he grew up there.

While we’re on the subject of food and drink, we can’t write about Windsor Terrace without mentioning Farrell’s at 215 Prospect Park West, a bar that has been in business since 1933.

We also want to give a shout-out to Krupa Grocery, a restaurant at 231 Prospect Park West, for its lunch cocktail called “Corpse Reviver #2.” That’s an apt name for a drink served a few blocks away from Green-Wood Cemetery.