Visit Bed-Stuy’s Fulton Art Fair, then take this stroll

Eye On Real Estate

June 20, 2018 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Fulton Art Fair showcases artists such as David G. Wilson. This is a detail of one of his paintings, which was photographed with his permission. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan
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Art and brownstones — an unbeatable combination.

You will find both in Bedford-Stuyvesant on June 23 and June 24.

Visual artists are taking part in an important annual event in the north-central Brooklyn neighborhood, the Fulton Art Fair, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary. As per tradition, they display their works by hanging them on the fence at Fulton Park.

This will be the fair’s final weekend. It began on June 9.

You should see the art show — and afterwards, take a stroll through the historic neighborhood.

There are many great routes for Bed-Stuy walks. Here’s what we suggest for fair-goers: Head up Stuyvesant Avenue, which is one of Fulton Park’s boundaries, turn at Jefferson Avenue and walk one block to Lewis Avenue, which is another park boundary. Then head down Lewis Avenue to the park. After that, weave through the side streets between the two avenues.

There’s terrific old-fashioned architectural eye candy on every block.     

Most of the area you’ll see is situated within the Stuyvesant Heights Historic District, which was designated in 1971, or the district’s extension, which was designated in 2013.

Thanks to these designations, property owners can’t alter the exteriors of the lovely brownstones and apartment buildings or tear them down without permission from the city Landmarks Preservation Commission.


William Debus and George Chappell are Stuyvesant Avenue stars

One of the most eye-catching sights on your stroll is the dazzling array of Classical-style limestone rowhouses on the west side of Stuyvesant Avenue between Chauncey and Bainbridge streets.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission’s 1971 designation report about the Stuyvesant Heights Historic District says their architect was William Debus.

His career designing Brooklyn residential buildings began in the mid-1890s and lasted a half-century.

A builder named Charles Tritschler constructed 404 through 410 Stuyvesant Ave. in 1910.

The houses at 402 and 404 Stuyvesant Ave. are paired so they look like a single mansion with their front doors standing side-by-side and rounded window bays at each end of the pairing. The houses at 408 and 410 Stuyvesant Ave. are also set up to look like a single mansion with side-by-side doors and rectangular window bays.

The houses at 412 to 420 Stuyvesant Ave., which also date back to 1910, were constructed for a real estate broker named George Beer.

Another fab Stuyvesant Avenue spot is on the corner of Bainbridge Street at 387-389 Stuyvesant Ave. The standalone red-brick house is a combination of Romanesque Revival and Queen Anne architectural styles. It was built in 1888.

It was designed by George Chappell, one of Brooklyn’s most notable late 19th-century architects.

He lived in Bed-Stuy and designed memorable residences and churches throughout north-central Brooklyn and Park Slope.

Suzanne Spellen says in a story that Thomas Prosser II built 387-389 Stuyvesant Ave. His family company, Thomas Prosser & Son, served as the U.S. agent for Krupp Steel and Gun Works, a German manufacturer.

The Miracle Temple Church of Apostolic Holiness is located there now.


A historic African-American church

Every corner of Stuyvesant Avenue has an eye-catching building. Among these, one of our favorites is 307 Stuyvesant Ave., aka 519 Halsey St.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission’s 2013 designation report about the Stuyvesant Heights Historic District’s extension says builder Walter Clayton constructed the Queen Anne-style apartment building with storefronts in 1889.

It has a distinctive oriel (meaning a bay window) that extends up the corner of the second, third and fourth floors of the four-story building and has a tiny pyramid-shaped roof on top of it.

This old-fashioned architectural eye candy can be found at 307 Stuyvesant Ave.

On the corner of Jefferson Avenue, at 279 Stuyvesant Ave., you find the Bridge Street African Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal Church.

This is the first African-American congregation that was established in Brooklyn, the 2013 designation report says.

Architecture firm Leeming & Kirk designed the building that houses it, which was constructed in 1907 as Grace Presbyterian Church. The Bridge Street congregation purchased the Gothic Revival-style, beige brick and limestone building in 1938.


A shout-out to Magnus Dahlander

Lewis Avenue is full of fine things to see.

On the corner of Halsey Street, there’s a handsome Neo-Grec tenement with storefronts whose address is 343-351 Lewis Ave.

The 2013 designation report notes that William Field & Son designed the brick and brownstone building, which was constructed in 1886.

This architecture firm also designed the Coignet Building — a small, ghostly-pale concrete landmark that’s flanked by the massive Whole Foods supermarket on Third Avenue and 3rd Street in Gowanus.

At 376 and 380 Lewis Ave., there’s a pair of magnificent buildings designed by much-admired architect Magnus Dahlander and built in 1892. They look like one big four-story apartment house.

The striped orange brick and brownstone complex is a blend of Romanesque Revival and French Renaissance architectural styles, according to the 1971 designation report about the Stuyvesant Heights Historic District.

This Lewis Avenue eye candy has towers topped by roofs that look like witches’ hats, fleur-de-lis decorations on its bay windows and decorative beasts holding shields over the arched front doorways.


Side-street sights

Dahlander accomplished so much in his lifetime.

He was a successful architect in his home country of Sweden before he moved to Brooklyn, where he worked for eight years at the end of the 19th century, writer Spellen says in a story about him. Then he returned to Sweden and continued his career for another four decades.  

Dahlander is one of the stars of the side streets included in this Bed-Stuy stroll.

On the north side of the Bainbridge Street block between Stuyvesant and Lewis avenues, he designed a stately row of 33 brownstone and limestone houses.

They were built in 1892.Their addresses run from 73 Bainbridge St. through 137 Bainbridge St.

The 1971 designation report calls the row, which is a mix of Romanesque Revival, Neo-Renaissance and Queen Anne architectural styles, “well-balanced and harmonious” and says the blockfront is “one of the most interesting in the Stuyvesant Heights Historic District.”

Other especially terrific side street sights include the front gardens on the landmarked MacDonough Street block between Stuyvesant and Lewis avenues.

The iconic Akwaaba Mansion, a bed-and-breakfast inn in an 1860s Italianate villa, is located on this block. Its address is 347 MacDonough St.

There’s a glorious row of brownstones on Halsey Street between Stuyvesant and Lewis avenues. And don’t leave the neighborhood without seeing the brownstone at 579 Jefferson Ave., which has a turret with a conical roof.     


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