Do you know the way to Homecrest by the Sea?

Eye On Real Estate

July 12, 2017 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The old-fashioned charm of 2167 East 12th St. harkens back to the days when this neighborhood was called Homecrest by the Sea. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan

By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea.

Can you hear this song from long ago wafting on the summer breeze?

It was written a century ago, back when Brooklyn’s Atlantic Ocean shoreline was a dreamy get-away from the rigors of workaday life in the big city.

It made perfect sense that back then, at the start of the 20th century, the builders of Homecrest by the Sea gave this poetic name to the neighborhood just east of Gravesend and north of Sheepshead Bay.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Though it’s close to the ocean compared with inland spots like, say for instance, Crown Heights, Homecrest by the Sea isn’t really right by the sea if you’re going to be annoyingly literal.
From there, it’s a 12-minute B68 bus ride plus a four-minute walk to the Brighton Beach shoreline.

These days, people use the shortened name Homecrest for the intriguing neighborhood. We’re kinda sorry the longer version fell out of favor.

The neighborhood is bounded by Ocean Parkway, Kings Highway, East 16th Street and Avenue V, says “The Neighborhoods of Brooklyn,” the indispensable book edited by Kenneth T. Jackson and John B. Manbeck.

A Victorian church for a Victorian neighborhood

The first properties to be built in Homecrest by the Sea were standalone Victorian houses.

One of the neighborhood’s great, outstanding Victorian buildings isn’t a house. It’s Homecrest Presbyterian Church at 1413 Avenue T, which dates back to 1900. The handsome, old-fashioned house of worship has a tower with a distinctive roof and is set on a huge landscaped lawn.

As an indication of Homecrest’s multicultural population, Homecrest Presbyterian Church has a multiethnic congregation.

Also, it shares its historic building with the Brooklyn Alliance Church, whose congregation is Chinese-American.

On other streets of the neighborhood, Sephardic Orthodox synagogues and a Sephardic community center can be found. Some houses have mezuzahs on their doorposts. Others have statues of the Madonna or various saints in their front gardens.

On commercial streets, businesses have signs in Russian.

Victorians in modern dress

As for Homecrest’s houses, to this day, Victorians can be found in the neighborhood. To borrow a phrase from classical theater directors, these are Victorians in modern dress.

Some of these superb old houses are covered with stucco, others with siding, some with both.

Some have brick additions on them.

Our hands-down favorite is 2042 East 14th St. Photos don’t do it justice.

The century-plus-old standalone house has a terrific wrap-around porch and a vast side yard hidden behind a picturesque, ivy-covered fence. According to city Finance Department records, the parcel of land on which the house stands is 80 feet wide and 100 feet deep.

Out front, there’s one of the tallest trees we’ve ever seen in Brooklyn.

The handsome home has belonged to various members of the Mook family over the past several decades, Finance Department records indicate.

The name of an early inhabitant of the house, Peter J. Monaghan, appears in a 1908 annual report of the New York City Department of Docks and Ferries. He was a watchman.

Another one of our favorite Victorians can be found at 2167 East 12th St. It, too has a wrap-around porch. The front of the house has a modified octagon shape. The lawn is large.

Over the past several decades, various members of the Trani family have owned the East 12th Street house, Finance Department records indicate.

New mansions and the Lighthouse

Homecrest also has its share of recently built mansions and distinctive new houses.

For instance, in 1998, Morris Dweck and Sophia Dweck paid $400,000 for a house at 1888 East 8th St., Finance Department records show.

Several years ago, Morris Dweck had it demolished, city Finance Department filings indicate. He replaced it with a handsome standalone red-brick house with a green tile roof.

The neighborhood is also full of smaller semi-attached homes and rowhouses built in various decades of the 20th century. There are roses blooming all over the place. When we visited recently, we heard cardinals singing in the trees.

There are mid-rise apartment buildings sprinkled here and there throughout Homecrest. Their exteriors aren’t eye-catching — except for the glass facade of the Lighthouse, Rychik Development’s newly constructed condo project at 1769 East 13th St.


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