Flatbush

Brooklyn’s second-quirkiest landmark is in Victorian Flatbush

Eye on Real Estate: An old-fashioned cottage is now the Avenue H subway station

May 3, 2017 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
This landmarked wood-frame cottage is the MTA's Avenue H Station in Victorian Flatbush. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan
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Is this a mirage?

A squat but charming country cottage stands before us.

It has a chimney in the center of its pyramid-shaped roof. The columns on its wrap-around porch are logs with the bark peeled off them. There are rocking chairs on the porch.

It looks like an old-fashioned weekend-getaway home in the Adirondacks.

What’s it doing on Avenue H, with a subway sign attached to its wood-shingle exterior?

 

Welcome to the second-quirkiest city-designated individual landmark in all of Brooklyn.

If you need to take a ride on the Q train, step right in. Even if you don’t, go inside anyway so you can look at the former cottage’s ceiling, which is wood-paneled.

The address of the Avenue H Station is 802 E. 16th St. It is in Fiske Terrace, one of the 11 mini-neighborhoods that make up Victorian Flatbush.

As the city Landmarks Preservation Commission’s 2004 designation report about the property explains, it was built in 1906 by Thomas Benton Ackerson as a real-estate sales office for the planned suburban-style community he was constructing there.

The following year, Ackerson sold the wood-frame cottage to the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Co., whose tracks were thisclose to the building. The train line and the sweet-looking station ultimately became part of the New York City subway system.

It is the only Metropolitan Transportation Authority subway-station building that was originally constructed for some other use.

An informative Brownstoner.com story by architectural historian Suzanne Spellen says that in 2003, the MTA announced it was going to demolish the cottage-turned-subway station.

The community wanted it saved. The building was landmarked the following year — and we say Bravo! to everyone who worked to make that happen — then thoroughly renovated several years later.

By the way, since we’ve called it Brooklyn’s second-quirkiest city-designated individual landmark, surely you’re wondering what’s the very quirkiest one. We promise to tell you soon.


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